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 CSNBayArea.com. “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.