October 21, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson (26) carries the ball as Green Bay Packers strong safety Charles Woodson (21) defends during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Thoughts on the NFL Rule Change: Effect on the Rams?


 

In regards of the “Tuck Rule” change, it was a long time coming, but I’m sure the Raiders aren’t thinking better late that never.

The controversial rule change that has taken the league by storm is banning “crown-of-the-helmet hits outside of the tackle box.” So, basically NFL officials are saying players cannot lean forward with their helmets in the open field to take on defenders.

From Pop Warner all the way to college football, players are taught to lower their pads to either protect themselves from punishing blows or to dish out the blow.

And by players, I specifically mean running backs.

When something is embedded into your mind, into your DNA, how can you erase instincts? Altering a quarterbacks’ throwing mechanics should in no form or fashion fall into comparison of  instincts. Changing when to release the ball, the cadence of a drop back and the overall form is seen as a manual change, not mental. This almost compares to the NBA’s decision to ban flopping. “Flopping” was defined as fooling the referee to make the improper call. It increased the difficult of officiating. All in all, a smart move by the association.

Well, how are NFL referees to judge a running back lowering his shoulders and not the crown-of-the-helmet? Now, I’m no expert in anatomy, but I believe your head and neck is attached to your shoulders. Take the time to lower your shoulders without your head and neck and see if that is possible.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has stood for pro health and safety since he has took over the reigns, but prohibiting players from lowering their shoulders only makes them more open and accessible to big hits from 6’3″ 250 pound, ultra-athletic linebackers.

This rule change unfairly targets big, bruising backs whose style of play is to physically punish defenders. However, all running backs lower their shoulders that inevitably causes them to drop their heads. Although, what about shifty tailbacks who elude defenders and avoid contact? Could they gain an advantage from this ruling?

With Steven Jackson taking his talents to Atlanta, the Rams are left with Isaiah Pead (5’1o” 197 lbs) and Daryl Richardson (5’10″ 196 lbs). St. Louis does have a big-bodied RB in Terrance Ganaway who is listed at 6’1″ and 240lbs, but I believe Pead will open the regular season as the Rams starting running back.

Pead and Richardson are both seen as elusive runners who make defenders miss in the open field, so maybe the Rams were on to something letting Jackson go. Not to mention head coach Jeff Fisher has been translating the rule change at the annual NFL football meetings.

I probably reached a little bit with that one.

As this controversial rule change spreads across the NFL, free agent RB Brandon Jacobs summed up in a tweet the majority of sentiments from running backs in the league:

Get your daughters ready, because they’ll be playing football soon!!!!!

Tags: Jeff Fisher St. Louis Rams