While the issue of the NFL creating harsher penalties for the existing helmet-to-helmet and unnecessary hits rule got started yesterday (when Adrian Wilson and others talked about it), the topic certainly hadn’t gone away Wednesday. And not surprisingly, veteran linebacker Joey Porter — who has never shied away from unfiltered opinion — gave his.
“Now you can’t hit anybody hard,” Porter said. “Don’t hit hard anymore. Just tackle. There is no more hitting hard. (But) that’s what this game is about. It’s a gladiator sport, guys getting hit hard, big plays, but you are taking it to, just tackle. You can’t have the hard, impact hits anymore. Just watch. The game is going to change. Some of these guys don’t even get $50,000 in their game checks and you have to pay a $50,000 fine.
“You’ll see more points, more guys scared to pull the trigger to make the big play. Lot of guys will start to lose their jobs because you’re not making the tackles you’re supposed to make and the coaches look at you because you’re turning down the hit … it’s just going to get crazy. It’s going to get real crazy.”
Porter predicted more missed tackles and “a lot more knee injuries.”
“Guys will start hitting low,” he said. “You went away from concussions to more torn ACLs because guys are not going to give away money for the big hit.
“Now a lot of the third downs will be caught, because some of those plays, you go to hit a guy to break up the play, and now, you can’t hit around the head or chest area because that’s what receivers do when they catch the ball, they cringe like that (Porter pretended to cradle a ball and duck his head here) and the defender has to go lower.”
Porter had more to say.
“It was already bad for the defense when they made all the rules, like the quarterbacks and you couldn’t touch them, so we should just go out and play flag football and make it like that because $75,000 or $50,000 for hits,” he said.
There was no place in the game for “super dirty” plays, Porter said, but the plays in which an offensive player ducked his head right before impact does concern him. “How is that the defender’s fault?”
“This game is about hitting people. if this isn’t what you want us to do, why do you have us training since March? We are out working, OTAs, so on game day, we are ready to play, and now you are telling us how to play and we can’t tackle like we used to tackle. How does that make sense?”
Coach Ken Whisenhunt also talked about it (although not nearly as much). Whisenhunt said there has been discussion with the players in “doing it right,” like not launching into an opposing player.
“I certainly agree with the NFL in trying to protect players,” Whisenhunt said. “Player safety needs to be addressed. But this game is about collisions. They will happen sometimes. If the ones that can be helped, that can be physically controlled, if they can be eliminated, I think the game will be better for it.”
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Joey Porter, Ken Whisenhunt
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