Competition Committee seeking players’ input on low block rules


The NFL’s Competition Committee is asking for players’ input as it considers revising the rules about low blocks.

Falcons President and NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith and retired former Falcons and Seahawks defensive end Patrick Kerney have spoken to the Competition Committee this week to give their thoughts on rules that should be changed.

“Today we went through a lot of low block rules — what our rules are, how they compare to college, how we might change them,” McKay said. “We meet with the Players Association on Wednesday afternoon. That gives us a couple days to get some ideas together and we present them to them and get their feedback. . . . Players, especially defensive players, understand low blocks real well, and they do a good job of explaining where they’re at risk.”

That all three of the players who addressed the Competition Committee were defensive linemen strongly suggests that the committee heard an earful about the dangers of offensive linemen going after their opponents’ knees. Defensive players have grown increasingly outspoken about what seems to be an imbalance in the NFL’s safety measures, with defenders getting fined and flagged for hits on quarterbacks and defenseless receivers far more often than offensive players get fined and flagged for cheap shots on defensive players.

The importance of protecting the knees of defensive players became a particularly hot topic when Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was lost for the season with a torn ACL suffered on a play when Jets guard Matt Slauson took him out at the knee. McKay noted that the Slauson block was already against the rules as an illegal peel-back block, but he suggested that the league might broaden the rules about when such blocks are banned. That’s a change that would be welcomed by most defensive players.

21 responses to “Competition Committee seeking players’ input on low block rules

  1. When has the “competition committee” ever gave a damn on what the players think? The owners are adamant about about an 18 game schedule and the “competition committee” doesn’t truly care about the players opinion because it will eventually happen at some point.

  2. Don’t forget that some offensive line coaches have been teaching the currently legal “cut blocks” for years…that needs to be addressed.

  3. Cut blocks should be allowed inside the tackle box. Anywhere else it is dangerous and a cop out. If a LB is going to blitz he needs to understand the consequences.

    Anywhere else on the field a low block is not neccessary and a cop out.

  4. Blocks below the waist should be banned for ALL players, regardless of position played or location on the field. They’re dangerous, unnecessary, cheap, and pathetic. If you’re not talented enough or strong enough to make a clean, legal block, then you need to re-evaluate your chosen profession. And before anyone tries to criticize my point of view, you should know I’m speaking from experience…I strapped the pads on for 9 years, I know what I’m talking about.

  5. Cut blocks are not illegal, nor should they be. At all levels of football there will be bigger, stronger d-lineman that the only way to block is to go low on. It’s a fact of life. As long as you’re not high-lowing somebody or getting them from behind in the knees, it should be legal.

    My suggestion – go to the high school rule of the free blocking zone. Within one yard of the line of scrimmage cut blocking is legal (so long as it’s not high-lowing somebody). Make an exception for players in the backfield picking up a blitz – a player is allowed to go low on a blitzing player, so long as the players are coming head on and not the side. Something along those lines. For the most part, the dangerous low blocks are not the head on ones – it’s when a player is going at the side of or from behind another player, or when a player gets high-lowed, that the block becomes dangerous.

    I just don’t see how you can eliminate the cut block altogether and expect lineman at any level – high school through the pros – to handle bigger players.

  6. Weirdly enough, the owners might be on board with this. If there are fewer ACL/knee injuries to star players, the quality of play could go up near the end of the season. Thus more people will watch, buy jerseys etc. and stay invested in their favorite players.

    Thus more cash money in the owners pockets.

  7. There is such a huge imbalance right now. A defensive lineman will get fined around $15k for brushing his hand against a QB’s helmet, but the season-ending cheapshots like what happened to Cushing and the Packers’ DJ Smith (one week later against Houston) aren’t even penalized.

    When you’re talking about a scheme (zone blocking) that can’t even be practiced because of the high-injury risk, you know this needs to be addressed.

  8. This may affect the league more than people think. The backside cut-block is a key component of the ever popular zone blocking scheme.

    Not having the ability to create that cutback lane could fundamentaly change the effectiveness of the scheme.

    Not saying it’s a good or bad idea. Just saying that outlawing the cut-block could diminish running games.

    It may seem like a no-brainer but don’t be surprised if they don’t.

  9. Well If you can’t hit anybody above the waist without it being a penalty, where else are you going to hit someone? Especially on defense. Of course they are going to be going for the knees more. This is what the league wants now.

  10. If they ban cut blocks you are going to see QBs and RBs get injured more frequently.

    Seriously, do you think a running back is going to take on a blitzing linebacker without blocking low?

  11. The Packers lost two linebackers from The Texan’s Cutblocks … DJ Smith got his knee tore up from a cheap hit from Duane Brown …. Nick Perry had a guy go low on him….

    Can’t imagine how frustrating it is for defensive players – you hit a QB clean one week, get fined – the next week a 300 pound offensive lineman intentionally bends your knee the wrong way and no fine cause it’s considered a “clean” play.

  12. Can’t block from behind, can’t hit the head, now some people want to ban blocking below the waist. Pretty soon the rules will be so complicated that ANY block could be construed as illegal in some way, just as just about any tackle already can be considered illegal.

    The way things are going, NFL games are going to consist of teams of lawyers, whoever shouts the loudest wins.

  13. If they throw out low blocks how in the hell are the Texans going to block anyone?

  14. Why give these incompetent refs even more things they can screw up or decide when they want to call it or not?

  15. I dont care about brian cushing or tom brady. but specifically the injuries they endured need to be avoided. cut blocks at the point of attack (LOS) should be ok as long as they are not already engaged (chop block) or from the blind side. anywhere else on the field they should be banned.

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