Discussion about the new helmet rule instituted by the league this season doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears was the first time to see how the penalty would be officiated and it resulted in two flags being thrown for hits deemed to now be illegal under the rule changes.
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Talib told Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com that the rules changes are a good move for the sport.
“They’re just trying to keep the game safe,” Talib said. “Trying to keep guys healthy.”
Swearinger said he believes it will force defenders to aim for an opponent’s knees even more than before. Sherman told Jarrett Bell of USA Today that the changes are “ridiculous” and believed everyone would see just how much so when officials actually had to begin legislating such hits.
“It’s going to be worse than holding, worse than the catch rule,” Sherman said. “On a good form tackle, guys will lead with their shoulder pads, but you bring your head.
“It’s going to be a disaster.”
Talib was more open to the changes. Defenders have already had to make adjustments in recent years upon the implementation of the defenseless player rules. These changes just take the matter a step farther and also bring more potential offensive penalties to the table as well as ball carriers lower their heads into oncoming opponents.
“”They put an emphasis on something every year, so we’ve just go to adjust,” Talib said. “That’s why we’re pros. We adjust on the fly, we adapt to all kinds of situations.”
Of course, the previous versions of the catch rule attempted to simplify matters by creating an objective measure for what a catch is. That process required securing the ball through contact with the ground and if that didn’t happen, it wasn’t a catch. It was a clear line in the sand and was supposed to be an improvement.
It backfired tremendously because it bucked common sense in many situations. It led to the catch rules being amended this offseason.
It’s possible the same process could occur here with a good idea having unintended consequences. With ejections being a greater possibility under this mandate, it could create some sticky situations as well moving forward.
Opinions are going to vary on the changes for now. Once they start being put on display on national television, those opinions might skew one way or the other a whole lot faster.