League will look at further restrictions on cut blocks

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The hit by Jets guard Matt Slauson on Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is expected to spark a debate in the offseason regarding further restrictions on the use of cut blocks in the NFL.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Slauson’s hit on Cushing, coupled with last year’s low block by Bills receiver Stevie Johnson on Chiefs safety Eric Berry, will result in the NFL taking a closer look at placing further limits on offensive players blocking defensive players below the waist.

The cut block has been part of football for as long as football has been around.  It started as a matter of basic physics; little players had no effective way to block big players other than to hit the big players in the legs, knocking them down.

Roughly 40 years ago, the NFL applied the first restriction on cut blocks to special teams, preventing blockers on return units from hitting coverage players low.  Since then, further refinements have been made from chop blocks to the “peel back” block for which Slauson was fined, but not penalized.

The prohibition on “peel back” blocks came, we’re told, in response to offensive linemen running down the field on a screen pass and then “peeling back” to hit an unsuspecting defender low.  While it appears that Slauson hit Cushing on the front of his leg, which would make the cut block not a “peel back” block, the fact that the NFL pounced on the situation confirms the league’s interest in expanding protections for defensive players against possible knee-imploding hits.

College football already has taken steps to make additional cut blocks illegal, via a confusing distinction that applies to players moving toward the sideline (legal) and players moving toward the middle of the field (illegal).  Look for the NFL to seriously consider doing something more clear, especially as it relates to cut blocks applied in the open field.

16 responses to “League will look at further restrictions on cut blocks

  1. Don’t be fooled by the oblong ball, they stopped playing football a long time ago.

  2. Injuries, while horrible, are going to happen in every sport. The NFL or any other sports league CAN NOT legislate injuries out of the sport. All athletes run the risk of getting hurt in whatever sport they choose to participate in, and injuries – no matter what the rules – will continue to happen. Is baseball going to eliminate “ground balls up the middle” since Jeter got hurt and won’t be able to play anymore this year? When you play a sport – any sport but especially contact sports like football, basketball, soccer, etc – you assume the risk of getting injured.

  3. All you whiners with the Goodell blah blah blah, and flag football blah blah blah should Stop watching, stop reading, and stop posting. Same to all the Taints (geaux) fans that can’t accept reality. Just stop following the sport and you’ll be much happier.

  4. Eric Berry is a fraction of the player he was before the injury. He’s only one year removed but I watch the sorry azz Chiefs regularly and haven’t seen him show up all year.

  5. The peole who agree with this are girls and drink coors light.

    That wasn’t an intentional hit to Cushings. It’s called blocking…Cushing’s was out of reach that Slauson dove to block, not intentionally trying to cripple the guy.

  6. It’s kind of interesting to hear people complain about some of the things that the NFL wants to take out of the sport to make it safer for the players. They focus on the so called toughness of the game and think if you take away anything that they interpret as toughness then you’re making the game a sissy sport. However, if you really think about it, the things the NFL is taking out of the game are things that the weak and unskilled do to portray toughness that isn’t really there. The cut block may be fun to watch and it takes a tough man to endure it. But the person that is using it to is advantage is doing so because he is not strong enough to take on a stronger more skilled opponent. Same with the kill shot. It takes a tough player to withstand that type of blow. But the player giving the blow is taking advantage of an opponent that has no ability to fight back. How many of those guys that deliver those types of hits on defenseless receivers are willing to do so on a RB coming full steam at them. And the player that delivers the kill shot does so without fear of retailiation and because quite honestly he is not in position to make a play on the ball. So people that don’t like the new rules are crying about toughness of the game being lost on one hand while favoring the weak who take advantage of the way the rules were on the other hand. So the only toughness being eliminated is the ability to withstand the hit. But it really doesn’t matter how tough you are, those types of hits can very easily lead to serious injuries. Injuries that weren’t caused by being inferior to your opponent but because an inferior opponent was able to get you at your most vulnerable and defenseless state.

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