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Redskins react to NFL's crackdown on illegal hits

Several Washington Redskins players and coaches expressed frustration Wednesday over the NFL's renewed emphasis on cracking down on helmet-to-helmet hits, wondering - among other things - how the league would distinguish between hits that deserved fines or suspensions and those that didn't.

Coach Mike Shanahan said the coaching staff went over various types of hits -- using video -- prior to the season, making sure the Redskins were clear on what's legal and what's not. But he did not review the issue in the wake of several fines issued earlier this week and the NFL's stated willingness to suspend players who it feels cross the line.

"There's a lot of different opinions in this area," Shanahan said following Wednesday's practice. "They showed some of the hits, and some are flagrant. Other ones, at least from my perspective, you can question them, exactly what is legal, what's not legal."

The fines -- some for $50,000, and one of $75,000 to Pittsburgh's James Harrison -- certainly got the attention of players.

"Suspending guys and throwing out $50,000 fines and $75,000 fines, that's ridiculous," cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "I don't know where they're trying to go with this or where the league is trying to go, but just fine them 75 or 50,000 out of their check, they'll see the difference. They're giving us money. We make a lot of money, but just to throw 50,000 on a guy like it ain't nothing?

"Some guys it wasn't even head-to-head. It was just a tough collision. That happens in football. We're playing football. It's not Pop Warner. It's not flag. We're taught to tackle with our head up, make contact on that ball, trying to get it out. ... After playing for 20-some -- some guys 30-some years -- playing football, I don't know if they can change right now. It's probably a lose-lose situation."

That, too, was a central theme: Players said they would find it difficult to alter a lifetime of habits because there are new rules.

"I can't" change, said fullback Mike Sellers, a devastating tackler on special teams. "I just try to concentrate and just go a little bit lower. I don't know. But there's a point in time where you got to play and you just got to hope that you don't get a head-on-head collision. It's football. It's a contact sport. We're already limited so much in what we can do as it is. I mean, now everybody is kind of thinking about the fines in the back of their head. Should I make this hit or should I not?"

By Barry Svrluga  | October 20, 2010; 3:51 PM ET
 
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Next: Clinton Portis is the only player to miss Redskins practice

Comments

I'm probably putting a killer jinx on us this weekend, but if we have everyone healthy on Sunday, for some reason... I see us just rolling the Bears.

I don't know why, I never have confidence for Skins games, its just a feeling for some reason.

Might be because we're dropping from Schaub, Bradford, Rodgers and Peyton to Cutler... might be the Bears weak O-line... might be their one-dimensional offense...might be the frustration of our defense.

But I think if AH, Rocky and Cooley play, our defense is gonna have its best game of the year and we're looking at a 27-10 domination.

That being said, I'm sure I just ruined the whole season.

Posted by: Rypien11 | October 20, 2010 3:52 PM

As long as you didn't say that we were going to roll over the Rams, it's alright Ryp...unless you meant that we would roll over for the Rams....damn forgot what I was thinking about....

Posted by: PlayAction | October 20, 2010 3:58 PM

No, I didn't jinx us against the Rams.. haven't made a prediction all season.. and if we lose Sunday, I never will again.

Posted by: Rypien11 | October 20, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Trent Williams v. Julius Peppers?

Read how Russell Okung made out from Footballoutsiders.com:

"...After a performance by Okung that netted Peppers one tackle and one quarterback hit, head coach Pete Carroll gave a passing grade for his new franchise protector. "He did really well. He played a very good game," Carroll said on Monday. "He got tossed around a little bit early, but then he settled in and was very consistent in pass protection. He did a nice job in the run game. So, he's really back now. He still so young -- it's still so early in his playing time -- but he came through in a big way."

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 20, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

FIRST ?? SECOND ?? I know its getting old, just think it's fun. Brings a smile after along day

Posted by: skinsinsider | October 20, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse


Jerry Jones: Bad luck has hurt Cowboys; we are playing better each week


having some fun reading cowboy fan comments on one of their blogs. the thread is at the dallas morning news and it's about jerry saying bad luck has hurt the cowboy's. here's a cut and paste of some cowboy fans spewing and a link is at the bottom:


BLEEDINBLUEANDSILVER
11:59 AM on October 20, 2010

Yes, Jerry this is a 1 and 4 team. You need to take a real look and admit your way has not worked since you and Jimmy decided that the 2 giant egos couldn't coexist. Come on and admit it 1 Super Bowl win since Jimmy left. We all know that Barry Switzer's Super Bowl win was with a team that Jimmy had buiilt. It was just good enough to hang on for two years, inspite of an inept coach and an owner that will not leave well enough alone.

well now, does that sound like tampon to you guy's ?


Cowboysfan1985
8:25 AM on October 20, 2010

I'm going to go against the grain and agree with Jerry for once. I think the team has played dumb football, but in all their losses, they are a play away from winning. The ball just doesn't fall their way, and they received some bad calls from refs. Good teams don't make these dumb mistakes though.

now that sounds more like tampon


SRW
9:40 AM on October 20, 2010

The headline should replace the word luck with GM.

sound familiar ? what a difference a year makes peeps. the cowboy's suck and we are competitive, with 2 division wins. and regardless of what any peep says, shanahan and allen have restored sanity to the Washington Redskins.


http://cowboysblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/10/jerry-jones-bad-luck-has-hurt.html


Posted by: hessone | October 20, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to note that James Harrison is now contemplating retirement. Insists that his heavily fined hits were legal and says if he can't play football the way he was taught, he may not want to play at all.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10293/1096626-66.stm

Posted by: Vic1 | October 20, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Not to be a jerk. But no one in the NFL has been playing fro 30 years. No one in the HISTORY of the NFL has made it to that mark yet far as I can tell, longest career was 26 seasons.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 20, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Not to be a jerk, Alex, but I think he's talking about the duration of one's entire fubbal-playing life, from earliest kid leagues through the NF of L.

20 or even 30 years total doesn't sound as unlikely when you bear in mind that some kids start at really young ages.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 20, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse


Not to be a jerk. But no one in the NFL has been playing fro 30 years. No one in the HISTORY of the NFL has made it to that mark yet far as I can tell, longest career was 26 seasons.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 20, 2010 4:10 PM |

was that george blanda that played 26 years ? dude just passed away.

Posted by: hessone | October 20, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Not to be a jerk. But no one in the NFL has been playing fro 30 years. No one in the HISTORY of the NFL has made it to that mark yet far as I can tell, longest career was 26 seasons.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 20, 2010 4:10 PM

I'm pretty sure he's counting experience outside the pros. I'm willing to bet Joey Galloway has been playing football for over 30 years.

Evander Holyfield likes to say he's been boxing since he was 8, and we know he's not talking just professionally.

Posted by: Alan4 | October 20, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

never has there been a more empty threat than Harrison saying he's gonna retire.......what a load of crap...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | October 20, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Take away the helmets then if you don't want head-to-head collisions. This goes both ways (offense as well). Pull up that amazing run by Earl Campbell where he put his helmet directly in the chest of some would-be tackler and got straight blasted onto his butt.

Would that be a penalty today?

It's sad that people like Mike Greenberg (ESPN) have any influence at all on the matter when the only athletic maneuvers he has likely ever made that can be applied to the game of professional football involve the high-speed dodging of raindrops (so not to muss the 'do) or the accurate tossing of a used nail file into the trash can in his cubicle.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | October 20, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse


Not to be a jerk. But no one in the NFL has been playing fro 30 years. No one in the HISTORY of the NFL has made it to that mark yet far as I can tell, longest career was 26 seasons.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 20, 2010 4:10 PM |

was that george blanda that played 26 years ? dude just passed away.

Posted by: hessone | October 20, 2010 4:14 PM
------------------------------------------
Damn. And he was supposed to start on Sunday, too. Now I guess the Raiders will have to put Campbell in...

Posted by: RedSkinHead | October 20, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Take away the helmets then if you don't want head-to-head collisions.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | October 20, 2010 4:19 PM

Dude, there would be melon juice all over the field!

You think a missing helmet will stop some of these psychos?

Posted by: Alan4 | October 20, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Take away the helmets then if you don't want head-to-head collisions.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | October 20, 2010 4:19 PM

Dude, there would be melon juice all over the field!

You think a missing helmet will stop some of these psychos?

Posted by: Alan4 | October 20, 2010 4:23 PM
------------------------------------------
Yes, but if you take away the helmets AND make them wear nothing but panty hose...

Posted by: RedSkinHead | October 20, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Interesting to note that James Harrison is now contemplating retirement. Insists that his heavily fined hits were legal and says if he can't play football the way he was taught, he may not want to play at all."

Call me crazy, but somehow, I can't see Harrison walking away from potentially tens of millions of dollars just because he got popped for 75 large for hitting Massaquoi in the head with his helmet. If I'm Mike Tomlin, I'm not losing too much sleep over this.

Posted by: rufus_t_firefly | October 20, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Anybody who does not agree with me is an idiot!

That goes for ALL of you!

Posted by: Thinker_ | October 20, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but if you take away the helmets AND make them wear nothing but panty hose...

Posted by: RedSkinHead | October 20, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse


Thats what we will dude, go all greek sport and have em play in the nude. Wouldn't see many QB's getting down under center for the snap after that.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 20, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

alex,

It has probablly been mentioned by now but guys like London Fletcher have been playing football for close to 30 years. That is from pop-warner, high school, college and now professionally.

Posted by: bangkokben | October 20, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

alex,

It has probablly been mentioned by now but guys like London Fletcher have been playing football for close to 30 years. That is from pop-warner, high school, college and now professionally.

Posted by: bangkokben | October 20, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

tough spot all around. I wince at the helmet to helmet stuff and would like to see it stopped. Too much has come out about concussions, both short and long term consequences.

But I'm not sure how easy it is to prevent in many cases.

When Jarmon hit Rodgers, there was no intent and not even much contact. But it drew a fine.

I'm guessing there will be a lot of effort in helmet design in the very near future.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | October 20, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Take away the helmets then if you don't want head-to-head collisions.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | October 20, 2010 4:19 PM

Dude, there would be melon juice all over the field!

You think a missing helmet will stop some of these psychos?

Posted by: Alan4 | October 20, 2010 4:23 PM |

It was more of a sarcastic statement but, yes. As long as there are helmets, there are going to be players using that gear as a weapon. I don't see players going azz-first, or feet-first or inner-thigh first when making tackles. I doubt anyone would go head-first if there were no helmets. Like I said, it was more meant to be sarcastic but then, it's a touch sport. Look at rugby for example. Those are some badass dudes who don't wear helmets but still hit like freight trains.

I like the sport the way it is. People get hurt. These knee-jerk, wannabe rule-changers/makers probably want to outlaw punching in boxing too.

I'm sure the NFL could still market their 'Best Hits' DVDs by repackaging them as "The NFL's Most Illegal Hits" or "The NFL's Most-Finable Tackles."

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | October 20, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Thats what we will dude, go all greek sport and have em play in the nude. Wouldn't see many QB's getting down under center for the snap after that.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 20, 2010 4:32 PM |

Can't wait for Portis to get in his "I told you so's" if that ever came to fruition.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | October 20, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

This is difficult.

I think that the NFL keeps making football less interesting to watch:

1. Too much passing offense.
2. Too many commercials.
3. No celebrations.
4. Too much parity, and no dominant teams.
5. Too many free agents moving around from team to team.

I don't want to make light of the injuries sustained by the players, but on the other hand, the contact is the main thing that makes this sport more interesting than other sports like soccer or baseball.

Posted by: supattapone | October 20, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

example

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 20, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Maryland man is killed when he leans out of truck, hits Arundel telephone pole

By Martin Weil Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 20, 2010; 2:04 AM

A 19-year-old Maryland man was killed Monday when he leaned out a window of a moving truck to greet friends and hit a utility pole, Anne Arundel County police said.

The man was identified as David Shigeru Yamamoto Hepner of Silver Spring. Police said the incident occurred about 5:40 p.m. on Governor Bridge Road near Patuxent River Road in the Davidsonville area.

Police said three other people were in the 2004 Chevrolet truck. One of them, identified as Julia S. Rubin, 18, of Silver Spring, said she, Hepner and the driver were graduates of the Fairhaven School, a private school in Prince George's County.

"He was my boyfriend," she said of Hepner on Tuesday. "The most loving, caregiving person any of us have ever met."

The occupants of the truck were going to get food when they unexpectedly spotted friends from Fairhaven, Rubin said.

According to police, people in the truck began to wave. Hepner "was hanging out the window from his waist up," police said.

Police said the vehicle moved to the right and sideswiped a utility pole.

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 20, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but if you take away the helmets AND make them wear nothing but panty hose...

Posted by: RedSkinHead | October 20, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

So 'BROADWAY' JOE had it right 40 years ago?

Posted by: glawrence007 | October 20, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if MNF will do away with the graphic of the helmets of the opposing teams ramming together (at the helmet crowns) and subsequently exploding like the death star in 'The Empire Strikes Back'.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | October 20, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This is difficult.

I think that the NFL keeps making football less interesting to watch:

1. Too much passing offense.
2. Too many commercials.
3. No celebrations.
4. Too much parity, and no dominant teams.
5. Too many free agents moving around from team to team.

I don't want to make light of the injuries sustained by the players, but on the other hand, the contact is the main thing that makes this sport more interesting than other sports like soccer or baseball.


Posted by: supattapone | October 20, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Double A-MEN to that brother.

It's no longer football, it's entertainment held captive by ratings and ad revenues. Just ask RIGGO.

Like dog-fighting, concussions are a sensative social issue that can reflect negatively with the general population. That in turn can adversely affect ads and ratings. So the NFL wants to mitigate the collateral damage and destroys the essence ofr the game in the process. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, or in this case in the head!

Posted by: glawrence007 | October 20, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: supattapone | October 20, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

1. Too much passing offense.

-You'd rather watch teams run the ball 50 times each?

4. Too much parity, and no dominant teams.

-Don't get this one either. What's wrong with more teams having a chance to contend? Doesn't that make it more exciting for more fan bases?


Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | October 20, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Time for a good old fashioned #2.

Posted by: DixonTheDog | October 20, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to that Poopy guy? He brought so much to these blogs.

Posted by: DixonTheDog | October 20, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse


Whatever happened to that Poopy guy? He brought so much to these blogs.

Posted by: DixonTheDog | October 20, 2010 5:13 PM |

something tells me you're his ghost

Posted by: hessone | October 20, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to that Poopy guy?

Posted by: DixonTheDog | October 20, 2010 5:13 PM |

He bored himself to death.

Posted by: beep-beep | October 20, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

WARNING - THIS POST IS NON-POLITICALLY CORRECT. IT WILL OFFEND WEAK MINDED PEOPLE.

You've been warned.

The NFL needs to stop acting like a bunch of women. For the last decade, this group of SOB's that are leading the NFL have turned a MAN'S SPORT into a puss league - one that is intended not to offend women.

The recent pink-ribbon campaign has no place in the sport. If the NFL wants to raise funds, let it fund raise. What has happened is that "in order to show it cares" the NFL has decided that "looking like it cares" is more meaningful than actually doing something. And there is nothing in displaying pink all over the month of October in this sport that does anything to reduce breast cancer. What we have here is a BLATANT attempt to suck up to women's groups to pander to them.

Secondly, we have women in men's locker rooms which is an out and out ridiculous and repugnant idea! And lest this argument be reduced (unfairly) to a negative attack on women, I also feel male reporters have no place in women's locker rooms. I will not defend men who say disgusting things to women, but if women dare step foot in a MEN'S locker room, they SHOULD EXPECT to hear comments - these are men for pete's sake - men joke like that. And don't think women don't make dirty comments - they just express them differently! But there should be only same gender locker rooms and if women get their feelings hurt, go to hell!

It is obvious that the NFL (and other sports) are PANDERING to women - you have women who have never played the sport EVER doing commentary on the sport - appearing on field asking stupid questions, and bringing the profession of reporting down by their pathetic emotional questions. And then with them, they bring the risk of the player saying something the wrong way that could offend women. I fully support not allowing anyone who has not played the sport from being on the field where there is heat of the moment discussions that could be perceived in the "wrong way".

Quite simply the NFL is wrong with this helmet to helmet stuff - the NFL could have helmets that are softer, that absorb energy against each helmet that also protect the occupant's head - but the NFL doesn't implement. As the players increase in size and speed, the NFL is simply run by idiots who have no comprehension about making their sport safer and implementing requirements on equipment.

I will contend that the NFL won't make substantial and meaningful equipment changes until it loses one of its stars to paralysis or death - just NASCAR did with Dale Earnhardt. The NFL can mess with the rules and split hairs all they want, but unless they decide to make this a flag football league with metrosexuals patting each other on the butt and saying "stop it", the NFL will just be paying lipservice to the cause of player injuries.

Man up, NFL. Stop being a wimp and catering to wimps and feminists.

Posted by: laserwizard | October 20, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

the helmet-to-helmet crack down is going to ruin this sport even more.

penalties already play too big of a role, especially so-called unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, which aren't technically in the manual but some ref takes it upon himself to dish one out.

could mean the diff in a game.

and with landry as one of our biggest diff makers on the team, on either side of the ball, it hurts us more

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | October 20, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

--------------------------
This is difficult.

I think that the NFL keeps making football less interesting to watch:

1. Too much passing offense.
2. Too many commercials.
3. No celebrations.
4. Too much parity, and no dominant teams.
5. Too many free agents moving around from team to team.

I don't want to make light of the injuries sustained by the players, but on the other hand, the contact is the main thing that makes this sport more interesting than other sports like soccer or baseball.
-----------------------------------------

^ I vote for this guy for NFL commissioner - I'm sicking of all these moves to turn the game into 2-hand touch.

Posted by: mac2j | October 20, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

BOYCOTT NFL GAMES ON NOVEMBER7, 2010

NFL SUSPENSIONS FOR HELMENT TO HELMENT HITS WILL RUIN THE GAME.

FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO AS MANY FANS AS POSSIBLE.

FAN POWER

Posted by: elderdave1 | October 20, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

This rule change is an OBSCENE JOKE! What do they want? Arena football? Whoooo Hoooooo! The Skins beat the Cowboys 88-87 in a Thriller!!!! I want NOTHING to do with that sort of crap.... The National FAIRY League! Go to HELL NFL!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | October 20, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I love how a bunch of guys who sit on their couches eating cheetos and wings all Sunday call out the NFL as "wimps."


Posted by: loux24 | October 20, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

These men play this game fully aware of the risks. No player wants to see another get injured........But I guarantee you any of these players would love to knock another player out!! Just look at Boxing or MMA! It's a contact sport folks!

Posted by: skins91r | October 21, 2010 3:17 AM | Report abuse

And not only THAT!!

Why do they change the rules every few years as to what is a "Catch?"

Now, you've got to keep control of it and make a "football move" and if you get knocked out of bounds, and hit the bench, you have to maintain control of it...

And it cannot touch a blade of grass. Even if you totally control it, if it touches a blade of grass, no catch.

And WTF happened to Carlos Rogers INT? He obviously (AND miraculously) caught that ball against Indy. He was touched by the receiver, took three steps, and lost the ball (otherwise referred to as a "fumble") when he hit the ground.

The ball was recovered by Indy, but it doesn't matter. Rogers should have been credited with an INT, and been DOWN BY CONTACT.

Redskins' Ball. First Down.

Instead, the zebras called it an incomplete pass, and it should have cost Indy a timeout, too for their IDIOTIC challenge.

The NFL seems like playing today would be very confusing about what to do as a play is occurring. Hit the guy or not? Wrap arms? Maybe try to coax him to the ground?

Special teams?

The league is crazy. The hitting is viscous, yes. Fine the worst offenders and move on. You can't expect a LB to aim for a WR's waist when the guy is flying towards him about to catch the ball.

OR, no more fumbles due to contact! If you separate the man from the ball, the ball remains with the Offense. And they get 10 yards and a first down.

RBs, if they lower their head or shoulder to punish a tackler, lose 10 yards from the point of the infraction.

I mean, it can be done, and, yes, it will SUCK!

Posted by: Thinker_ | October 21, 2010 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Torn. I'd love to see these guys keep their mental faculties into their older years. But at the same time this is football. It's a contact sport. Taking out the hits is like removing slides from baseball or dunks from basketball because somebody might get hurt. You will probably stop the fans from watching. This all came about from NFL wives who had to live with ex players as they grew old. They saw first hand what the sport did to a human body and brain. There are a lot of risks. Which is why the pay is so high. It's such a tough issue. Especially this year. The skins are absolutely crushing people on the field this year. Of all the things that have changed since last year, the biggest is the way the skins will go hit someone in the mouth. The hits have been so numerous I think teams are intimidated to play us. We haven't had a game where we didn't injure an opposing player. And most of the teams we've played have lost the following week. We are that team that leaves you bruised and battered. You may eek out the win against us but you aren't going home without a fat lip. That's why I'm not upset even when we lose. We have manned up and are showing teams we come to play. I guess I like the violence. And opposing teams have to respect it.

Posted by: 20yrskinfan | October 21, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Ugh Alex just a little FYI people can play football before the NFL... normally most kids start around 10 so if some one starts at 10 and plays till 35 isn't that within the range of 20 0r 30 years? i donno check the math to make sure i am right

also about the james harrison situation... this is a terrible fine and situation for the NFL because now they are on a slippery slope... so every time there is a possiblity of some one being hurt there is a fine or a penalty... horse collar (TO) hitting bellow the waist (Tom Brady)... Contact to a QB's helmet (lost of QB's)... fact football is a violent sport.... every man that plays this game should know that there is a chance they can get hurt on any play and god forbid there is always a chance to die.. However there is a solution for this DONT PLAY if you are worried about getting hurt itsd a mans game. every rule that goes into place to "protect" someone is cutting the balls off the NFL.... Godell get your leagues balls back please!

Posted by: jpre35 | October 21, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

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