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Jeff Fisher: Defensive linemen must protect themselves


San Francisco nose tackle Ian Williams suffered a broken ankle when he was blocked low, so it’s no surprise that when Rams coach and longtime NFL Competition Committee member Jeff Fisher spoke with Bay Area reporters this week, cut blocks were part of the discussion.

And since the Competition Committee has repeatedly declined to outlaw cut blocks, it’s no surprise that Fisher said it’s up to defensive linemen to protect themselves.

“But we’re dealing with a situation where a defensive lineman has an opportunity to protect himself and knows there’s a potential for a low block,” Fisher said, via “And the general feeling is, if you take that block — the cut block in the run game — out of the game, then you’re going to significantly impact the run game. That’s been the committee’s feeling, and coaches’ feeling and the players association’s feeling. It’s unfortunate there are going to be injuries that take place in the game, and the committee’s No. 1 focus is on player safety, and the committee has done a really good job from that standpoint.”

Ultimately, Fisher said, “defensive players know it’s coming and they anticipate it and they have the obligation to protect themselves.”

A lot of defensive linemen would respond to Fisher by asking, “Why don’t quarterbacks have the obligation to protect themselves?” But at this point, it seems clear that when it comes to low blocks on defensive players in the middle of the line, protecting themselves is the only option for defensive players because the NFL isn’t going to protect them.

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27 Responses to “Jeff Fisher: Defensive linemen must protect themselves”
  1. paythevig says: Sep 25, 2013 4:01 PM

    Hog Wash!

  2. 87hollywoodhorn says: Sep 25, 2013 4:03 PM

    all teams must protect/prepare themselves for their inevitable doom against the superbowl bound new orleans saints. if you are winning games now you’re just prolonging the unescapable defeat at the hands of the saints. we got the best coach and the best players, how you love DAT!

  3. isphet71 says: Sep 25, 2013 4:05 PM

    So… Suh’s block wasn’t really illegal or dirty since the guy he blocked was considered a defender at the time?

    The NFL’s logic is crayzeeeee. Talk about a clown show that just makes stuff up as it goes.

  4. savocabol1 says: Sep 25, 2013 4:09 PM

    If player safety was priority #1 then why would they leave cut blocks in the game??

    Clearly, the game is priority #1, not safety.

  5. hanklee1989 says: Sep 25, 2013 4:09 PM

    So it’s the defense’s job to protect itself, while an offensive player can come into the defense’s backfield and be protected because he’s “defenseless?” C’mon man, this is a joke.

  6. hanklee1989 says: Sep 25, 2013 4:10 PM

    Oh, and his “they know it’s coming” theory is garbage. A receiver going across the middle should know the defender is coming..but guess what? He knows a flag and fine are coming too when he gets drilled

  7. Patriot42 says: Sep 25, 2013 4:10 PM

    What are they suppose to do to protect themselves carrying a gun?

  8. 2bemoore43 says: Sep 25, 2013 4:11 PM

    so ummm, defensive players are obligated to protect themselves while the rules are obligated to protect the offense? hypocrisy much?

  9. sonoco says: Sep 25, 2013 4:11 PM

    Only QB’s and “defenseless” receivers are protected in this league.

  10. jjb0811 says: Sep 25, 2013 4:12 PM

    Fisher is famous for running dirty teams & coaches, why is he on the comp committee?

  11. ahs2 says: Sep 25, 2013 4:14 PM

    Based on the article I just read, the Competition Committee’s #1 focus is actually preserving the run game….safety must be a close second, hey Jeff?

  12. dennisatunity says: Sep 25, 2013 4:16 PM

    The NFL’s “logic” seems all over the map, but there is a consistent thread: create more offense. Offense brings in more fans and more viewers. So if you’re a QB you’re going to get protected. If you’re on defense, you, of course, have to protect yourself. They just have to stop saying their number one focus is on safety. It’s not. They want certain positions to be safe. But the overriding concern is “What will bring in more money?”

  13. wearethesteelers says: Sep 25, 2013 4:19 PM

    How many rings does Jeff Fisher have again?

  14. coolzog says: Sep 25, 2013 4:24 PM

    How do you protect against a 325lbs person diving at your legs when you’re busy going after the ball carrier?

  15. nflhof says: Sep 25, 2013 4:26 PM

    Jeff Fisher sent a hit on Shawne Merriman knee in 2006 to intentionally hurt which was successful. May he rot in hell for that and now he vomits this crap. Please!!!

  16. ratsfoiledagain says: Sep 25, 2013 4:31 PM

    While I think the cut block should be removed from the game, defensive players can’t have their cake and eat it to. D players would like nothing more than to launch themselves into a receiver, at or above the shoulder, for that ball jarring, knockout, repeated highlight on ESPN for three days, tackle/defensive play. They’ll strut around and get mobbed by teammates while the receiver is completely motionless. Has happened many times….

  17. dumplingsrbrown says: Sep 25, 2013 4:32 PM

    It’s kind of offensive really…

  18. baddegg says: Sep 25, 2013 4:32 PM

    But it’s not a QBs responsibility to protect himself from a head shot.

    Or it’s not a WRs responsibility to protect himself from an approaching defender aiming high.

    Whatever Fisher. My respect for him is dropping.

  19. lionmike says: Sep 25, 2013 4:35 PM

    So Jeff Saturday really is full of it! Can’t believe he gave all that tough guy talk behind a microphone when Suh blocked Sullivan. He said if offensive players did that there would be anarchy. Yet since then there have been multiple players seasons actually ended and careers actually shortened by offensive linemen taking them out with cut blocks. One guy gets a $100k fine for an act that “could” hurt someone while other players actually “do” hurt someone and we turn our heads. Makes sense…

  20. annapterp says: Sep 25, 2013 4:37 PM

    Did anyone really think safety was a concern of the morons at the NFL offices? Protecting their assets($$$$$$$$$$) is the major concern. Players are not assets(maybe QB’s), they are commodities and there is a new crop coming in every year from college football. The downfall of the NFL has begun, but its such a cash cow it will take a while before it is dead.

  21. eezyxyz says: Sep 25, 2013 4:42 PM

    There’s no double standard here at all. QBs don’t have a responsibility to protect themselves because you CAN’T protect yourself when you’re busy throwing the ball.

    D-linemen get exactly the same treatment. If they’re already being blocked and somebody else goes low, it’s a penalty. If a blocker comes from behind the defender and goes low – so the defender can’t see it coming – it’s a penalty.

    It’s only not a penalty when the defender is not already being blocked and the block comes in from in front of him. Just like there is no penalty for hitting a QB when he’s not in the act of throwing and therefore is in a position to protect himself from a hit.

  22. facetious0ne says: Sep 25, 2013 5:25 PM

    The NFL knows that offense is what sells tickets.. They do everything they can to protect the players on that side of the ball and completely ignore the defense. Telling these Refs to err on the side of caution is making things worse with all these flags and then fine these guys triple digit checks. I wish there was a organization who had the money to actually fund another league.. Until then the NFL knows we fans have no other option but to watch.

  23. albinorhino49 says: Sep 25, 2013 6:55 PM

    Ohh. He don’t matter. He only plays defense. What a double standard, defenders are going to protect themselves alright. And when the dust clears you’d wish you made it fair to begin with.

  24. hawkforlife says: Sep 25, 2013 8:50 PM

    protecting themselves is the only option for defensive players because the NFL isn’t going to protect them.

    For crying out loud, enough with the protection issue. How many players actually get hurt from thousands of cut blocks a year? Damn few. This is a physical game, players get hurt.

    If you take cut blocks out you might as well release all running backs, get more receivers and play pass only football.

    If you don’t believe in football don’t report on it. The NFL cannot survive outlawing all contact.

  25. hess97 says: Sep 25, 2013 11:43 PM

    Only pocket passers and recievers of teams the refs like get protection.

  26. bubba9er says: Sep 26, 2013 2:00 PM

    If anyone actually saw when Ian Williams got hurt, he was engaged with another O-lineman when Sleazy launched into his lower leg. This is not a cut block (which is legal), but a chop block which has been illegal for decades.

  27. realitycheckbaby says: Sep 26, 2013 3:19 PM

    Cut blocks should be banned – period.

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