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NFL considering additional protection for defensive players’ knees

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Getty Images

When the NFL institutes new rules designed to protect quarterbacks and receivers, defensive players often ask, “What about us?” This year, the NFL isn’t considering any new rules designed to protect quarterbacks or receivers — but is considering a rule to protect defensive players.

That rule is a simple two-word addition to the rulebook that will likely save the knees of some defensive linemen and linebackers. The words “or side” would be added to the rule that says players can’t block an opponent in the back of the legs.

This rule is long overdue. A defensive player shouldn’t have to worry about his knee getting blown out by a block he can’t see coming. Just as defensive players have been taught to lower their targets and not hit offensive players in the head, offensive players can be told to raise their targets when blocking from the side and hit the midsection, not the knees.

The owners will vote on the proposal at next week’s league meeting. It would be a major surprise if the proposal doesn’t pass.

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22 Responses to “NFL considering additional protection for defensive players’ knees”
  1. anonymous135 says: Mar 22, 2014 7:13 PM

    It’s about time.. those have been some quite gruesome injuries.. unnecessary. Got to feel for the guys like Cushing

  2. packerfan4life1 says: Mar 22, 2014 7:17 PM

    I hate how the NFL now is all about the offensive players. The days of great defensive players are awful. They designed the game now to allow offenses to score a million points, so to allow that your not allowed to touch any offensive player. So yes, this rule should be in tact. The defense need protection too. I know the saying is “keep your head on a swivel” but come on now.

  3. tampabaybucsman says: Mar 22, 2014 7:19 PM

    These are the kind of NFL considerations that should be implemented.
    It’s not about changing the game, it’s about improving the health of the game.

  4. Patskrieg dot com says: Mar 22, 2014 7:21 PM

    Nah. Why put a stop to pointless preventable injuries? It would deprive us all of reading PFT comments about how soft a player is for letting his ACL explode after a helmet to the knee.

  5. skinsrock says: Mar 22, 2014 7:27 PM

    Why don’t they just have a rule… No blocking below the waste… Done.

  6. salscobrakai says: Mar 22, 2014 7:28 PM

    So this means no more cut blocking on the O-line right?

  7. seaeagle707 says: Mar 22, 2014 7:33 PM

    With all of the ACL and related injuries that have been occurring in recent years, taking the knees out of the allowable contact zones is a really good idea. It won’t stop defensive players from putting themselves into risky situations (officials should educate themselves now on that difference), but it will improve the safety of the game without taking away from a player’s abilities to perform. Good move.

  8. realnflmaster says: Mar 22, 2014 7:36 PM

    Why don’t you just stick them in a bubble, tape flags to their hips, put 27 officials in the game and surround the field with cameras.

  9. nflfollower says: Mar 22, 2014 7:36 PM

    Cit blocks on the line will stay. They are generally speaking performed while a defender is facing the blocker. This will make a difference on screens and will effect offensive linemans effectiveness at the second level and downfield.

  10. gadgetking2010 says: Mar 22, 2014 7:47 PM

    just ask Maurkice Pouncey if blocking above the knees is a good idea…

  11. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 22, 2014 7:55 PM

    It is about improving the health of the game, but why haven’t they done it yet, and why has it taken so long to make changes that help reduce concussions? Some could argue the motivation is financial related. If they made steps earlier then they could have possibly reduced their liability today towards that big settlement figure. The NFL has found a link between money and injuries and that has played a part in influencing the timing of these concerns being addressed.

  12. hess97 says: Mar 22, 2014 9:20 PM

    There should be rule saying a blocker can’t dive head first at a Defender’ slower leg while he is engaged in a block ( Sweezy to Ian Williams). Oh my bad. That is a rule. Just another rule that is ignored to favor the Microsoft/NFL Seahawks.

  13. jimthebuilder27 says: Mar 22, 2014 9:33 PM

    Good idea, give some rules to help the defense. Not everyone wants to see 40 point games all the time!

  14. abninf says: Mar 22, 2014 9:49 PM

    Kind of scary to think what the NFL will look like in 20 years.

  15. thebigwhitecat says: Mar 22, 2014 10:05 PM

    more pink.

  16. doggeatdogg says: Mar 22, 2014 10:35 PM

    These guys knew the first few weeks after start of the season that they had a huge problem as defensive players were dropping like flies.

    No one is saying the game needs to be watered down, but something is up when we have a sudden rise in player injuries on that side of the ball. Hopefully it will be address before the start of the season.

  17. gerwinke1985 says: Mar 22, 2014 11:20 PM

    Good. Get tired of seeing OLinemen calling defensive players dirty for low hits. Then hitting a DLinemen in the knees on the very next play.

  18. rmavs says: Mar 23, 2014 1:21 AM

    The NFL should consider not considering anything for at least a decade.

  19. mclovin07 says: Mar 23, 2014 3:37 AM

    Ridiculous. Soon Goodell will stop beer sales, tailgating, and the National Anthem…just give him time. This dude is ruining the NFL…

  20. houstonsimpleton says: Mar 23, 2014 1:26 PM

    You mean they’re going to put them in pads, again? What a concept.
    What’s the nature of most of the football injuries? Body parts moving too far in the wrong direction.
    What do tough plastic pads inside tough, cotton garments do, that players complain so much about? Restrict their movement.
    Duh.
    Injuries WEREN’T just part of the business, in old school pads, and we all enjoyed the same starting (ie., top) 22 every week.

  21. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Mar 23, 2014 3:32 PM

    Players will have to become better skilled at actual.. dare I say it.. BLOCKING.. God Forbid..

  22. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Mar 23, 2014 3:37 PM

    So is most of the zone blocking scheme illegal now?

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