NFL considering additional protection for defensive players’ knees

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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.

22 responses to “NFL considering additional protection for defensive players’ knees

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.
    Injuries WEREN’T just part of the business, in old school pads, and we all enjoyed the same starting (ie., top) 22 every week.

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