Doug Pederson explains the challenges of teaching the new helmet rules


There are two new helmet rules for 2018 (even if one of them doesn’t get mentioned or applied very much), and it’s still not quite clear how the rule against lowering the helmet to initiate contact will apply, especially when the games count.

The Eagles took three more flags on Thursday night at New England for violating the rule (in all, 32 have been thrown through 20 preseason contests). After the game, coach Doug Pederson was asked whether the situation gives him concern.

“Well, obviously, I think it is a concern league wide,” Pederson told reporters. “You know, with exactly how this is going to get called. You know, it’s great to see because it’s all teaching and teachable moments, especially the defensive side. And, you know, we just have to keep educating our players on the proper technique. Again, it’s something that we will evaluate the film in the morning and see exactly what’s going on. These are great teachable moments.”

Still, it’s easier said than done when it comes to actually teaching.

“It’s hard because you don’t go live in practice either, so you are just going off of game film,” Pederson said, “and try to coach off of that and show these guys these plays and continue to educate them. Because you’re not putting your team in live situations anymore in camp; it’s hard to really work on it. And you can work all the drills you want, but until you are in the game when things happen a lot faster, that’s when you really find out how your team is progressing in that area.”

Exacerbating the challenge is the fact that every single drill or video that aims to teach proper form tackling entails the person to be tackled facing the tackler. During games, plays are happening in three dimensions, with movement and angles and the ever-present effort to get lower than the opponent. And it’s all unfolding while players are wearing large, hard-shell helmets that routinely end up hitting the thing that the player is trying not to hit with his helmet.

The overriding goal is honorable, and overdue: The helmet should not be used as a weapon. But the NFL has taken a rake not a scalpel to the problem, banning even the most unavoidable and incidental helmet contact from the sport, throwing the entire exercise of tackling into a stew of random chance.

10 responses to “Doug Pederson explains the challenges of teaching the new helmet rules

  1. That was before we had the current Moron in Chief.

    logicalvoicesays says:
    When we won our Suoerbowls, we were warmly welcomed by the White House. The Eagles are #FakeChampions.

  2. I_JUST_WORK_HERE says:
    August 17, 2018 at 10:52 am

    All 32 teams have to adapt. The team that adapts the fastest has a huge advantage.


    Agreed, wholeheartedly. I feel like I know who that team is, but we will see.

  3. I didn’t see the 3rd one but as a Pats fan I though the first 2 were a total crock. There was nothing either of those guys did that should have been a penalty.

    If this is the future of “tackling” in the NFL the league is finished. This will destroy the game as we have known it.

  4. .
    they werent teachable as they were valid tackles.
    the defender falling on the pats qb legs and getting a flag for tackling low was just pathetic.
    what was learned from the pats eagles game was that the Offense has a new weapon, ball carrier aim for the defenders helmet and u get yellow confetti

  5. Instead of using common sense when it comes to the use of the helmet, the NFL has to complicate it. Instead of using common sense when it comes to a catch, the NFL has to complicate it. This season will be a disaster with “random calls” for lowering the helmet.
    No consistency, just a mess.

  6. Logicman, the fact that we have new shiny beautiful WORLD CHAMPS rings, belie your moronic comment….

  7. You are so funny. I don’t think I have seen one bad call of the new rule so far. Haven’t heard very many complaints, either. Great rule.

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