Robert Saleh expresses concern about Guardian Caps

USA TODAY Sports

Some players have complained about the new Guardian Caps, foam helmet coverings that are mandatory at practice through the first two preseason games. On Saturday, Robert Saleh of the Jets became the first head coach to express a public concern.

“I think the spirit of it all is really good, it’s got great benefits,” Saleh said after practice, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, “but I do think there’s a balance in everything, right? Too much of anything is a bad thing.”

He’s concerned that players will get in the habit of using their heads more than they otherwise would, given that the Guardian Cap eases the impact.

“I do think because of the soft blow, it’s kind of lending the players to use their heads a little bit more,” Saleh said. “I do think the first time when they take it off — anybody who has played football knows the first time you take your helmet off or you hit with the helmet or you have a collision, there’s a shock. I do think that if you’re waiting until the first game for that shock to happen. . . .  I don’t know, time will tell. It’s just interesting with those Guardian Caps and what exactly are we trying to accomplish.”

Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s Chief Medical Officer, responded in a statement provided to Cimini.

“The brain does not acclimate to head impacts,” Sills said. “The Guardian Cap helps mitigate those forces at a time of the season when we see the greatest concentration of them.”

That’s the purpose of the equipment change. To minimize brain injuries that otherwise would happen during early-preseason practices. Saleh’s question is whether it will induce bad habits that will set the stage for more brain injuries once the Guardian Caps are removed.

It’s a fair question, but it’s probably not the type of thing the powers-that-be will appreciate. The league made the change, and the league believes in the approach. If the data eventually supports Saleh’s theory, that’s a different issue. For now, though, the league surely prefers that coaches buy in to the Guardian Caps, so that players will, too.

And Saleh’s comments likely will be enough to result in some sort of memo being sent by the league office to all teams instructing coaches, executives, and owners to not say anything publicly that undermines the Guardian Cap project.

18 responses to “Robert Saleh expresses concern about Guardian Caps

  1. the league is not interested in players health, they are only interested in giving theimpression that they do care– if you disagree with that, you have not been paying attention

  2. Then isn’t it up to the coach to instruct his players to not lead with the helmet. Afterall it will be a penalty in a game.

  3. If they are actually using their helmets with caps to torpedo ball carriers, then they won’t have a long career, let alone life.

  4. The answer to Robert Salehs concern is obvious – wear the funny looking hats during actual games.

    This isnt a test of the helmets effectiveness – its a test to see if making everyone look like “Toad” will make the game less popular.

  5. If the brain doesn’t adjust then why are their more concussions in the early parts of camp?

  6. Perhaps you should trust the science and not some coach. If his players learn to use their heads as a weapon, then that’s bad coaching.

    Judging by the commentary here, maybe this device is needed by some of the readers at this site.

  7. This is what happens after the league was sued over concussions. You are gonna get changes you don’t like. Like defensive penalties for hitting too hard. Can’t really blame the league when you already paid a large sum of money. The NFL loves money and they don’t intend to repeat.

  8. Saleh needs to show concerns about his talentless team again this year.

    His #2 overall pick at qb was dead last in almost every qb category except for running.

    His top Tackle was moved to RT and is apparently a threat to eat himself into a coma at any minute.

    Saleh should have a lot more concerns than the caps.

  9. The caps are fine I guess, the problem is more terminal, as the Guardians overall rebrand seemed rushed and cheap by the Cleveland management.

  10. I wouldn’t expect a beantown troll to know that G Fant is the Jets best OT and ranked #7 overall in the NFL last year. There’s not a Pat lineman in the top 30. And you think Jets fans are worried? LOL

  11. Oh boy, now you did it. You had an opinion about science and were trying to be forward thinking, Robert. We all know you’re not allowed to do that. Oh man… here they come….

  12. L scroll through the article looking for a picture of whatever the h___ is a Guardian cap and all I see is a video with Patrick Mahomes?!?!

  13. ladyjet says:
    July 31, 2022 at 2:07 pm
    I wouldn’t expect a beantown troll to know that G Fant is the Jets best OT and ranked #7 overall in the NFL last year. There’s not a Pat lineman in the top 30. And you think Jets fans are worried? LOL

    You are so right. The “beantown troll”, great name btw, is here because the Jets live in his head free of charge. And with your permission, I would like to also use the name beantown troll.

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