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Thread: Players looking for a heads-up

  1. #1

    Players looking for a heads-up

    Players looking for a heads-up

    Posted 12 minutes ago
    Geoff HobsonEditorBengals.com


    Shawn Williams: "Just let us play."


    Bengals safety Shawn Williams and linebacker Nick Vigil, who play the game’s most physical positions, join that long list of players, coaches, and
    fans that don’t quite know what to make of the NFL’s new helmet rule.

    The one that bans lowering the head to initiate contact with the helmet, which had Williams and Vigil still flummoxed on Monday, six days after it
    became law.

    Vigil, who was fourth on last year’s team with 77 tackles despite missing the last five games with an ankle injury: “It kind of took everybody by
    surprise. You have to change the way you play the game. I guess they have to clarify what is an illegal hit and what’s not. But it’s going to take some
    time for people to adjust. You might see a lot of penalties early in the year, I guess, I don’t know. Your head makes contact most of the time first
    before anything else.”

    Williams, who has 161 career tackles in five seasons: “From the way it sounds it’s going to be hard because you kind of use your helmet to tackle
    almost every single play, regardless of the way you use it. You really don’t think about it. It’s just all reaction and action.”

    The first clue that everyone is taking a wait-and-see approach until the NFL gives specifics with videos and potential penalties is that Williams has yet
    to hear from Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis.

    “Normally when something like this comes out, Coach Marvin texts me or George,” said Williams of fellow starting safety George Iloka. “I’m sure he
    probably texted (linebacker) Vontaze (Burfict) and some of the other guys. We haven’t really heard from him. I don’t know if they have a clear
    understanding or definition right now. Because I sure don’t.”

    Let it be known that Lewis likes the intent of the rule (as do Vigil and Williams) and it backs up how he teaches his team to tackle. Helmet up. Tackle
    with the eyes. Ducking of the head not only can cause serious neck injuries but also missed tackles.

    Yet Lewis senses there are going to be problems if there aren’t guidelines

    “It becomes a judgment thing. It’s going to be a thing that’s debated all the time on television. It already is,” Lewis said last week. “They’re acting like
    it’s a thing bigger than it is. So it’s already gotten out of control. It’s the same education piece. Any time there’s any kind of revision, I think the people
    that spend the time talking about it need to be educated and understand it. Not only that, you have to educate the players.”

    And it’s not just defensive players. The league is saying the rule encompasses all players and all plays. That means tackles blocking edge rushers,
    cornerbacks taking down ball carriers on receiver screens, and the play that has Vigil and Williams wondering.



    What can Nick Vigil do on fourth-and-one?


    “Fourth-and-one on the goal line,” Vigil said. “The running back is going to lower his head. You’re going to have to lower yours. There’s going to be a
    collision. That’s football … It’s going to be interesting to see how they officiate it … I don’t think they can replay every tackle.”

    It seems like the league simply left out a word.

    “Egregious.”

    The year Williams came into the NFL, 2013, running backs were restricted in lowering the crowns of their helmets. According to profootballtalk.com,
    the league told officials to penalize only the most flagrant plays where players use their helmets as weapons. Maybe that’s where this is headed when
    the owners meet in May because that’s a play that’s rarely called.

    “They’ve said you can’t lower your head, but running backs do it all the time,” Williams said. “I haven’t seen that called. Have you? I don’t remember it
    being called. Just let us play. We’ll try to keep it safe the best we can, but at the end of the day you still have to make tackles.”

    If anyone knows what a textbook tackle is, it’s Williams. He’s an old school guy who had just two penalties last season and not until two weeks were
    left in the season. One was a face-mask penalty and one was unnecessary roughness. The year before that he had two unnecessary roughness
    penalties.

    That’s out of 1,491 snaps. If he’s not reminding himself how to make a proper tackle, the older school Lewis is.

    “I get what they’re trying to do as far as to make the game safe. But it’s still the game of football and we know what we signed up for,” Williams said.
    “You’re kind of taking the game out of our hands with this. We want to keep the game safe and clean, but it’s still my job. I get paid to make tackles.
    Regardless how I make them. And don’t get me wrong. I’m going to try and make a tackle the right way and always will. There are just some cases it
    just happens.”

    It looks like the players are calling for a heads-up.




    http://www.bengals.com/news/article-...b-a45d319c267e


  2. #2
    Old school tackle

    Posted Apr 1, 2018
    Geoff HobsonEditorBengals.com

    The Bengals’ Marvin Lewis has become one of those old school prophets in the hall of NFL head coaches. Take the new tackling rule that prohibits the use of the helmet to initiate contact.


    Professor Lewis takes his tackling lecture to campus next week.


    The Bengals’ Marvin Lewis has become one of those old school prophets in the hall of NFL head coaches. Take the new tackling rule that was
    clandestinely pushed this week by the NFL competition committee and passed unanimously by the owners even though no one knows how it is going
    to be called or what the penalties are going to be.

    “Lowering the head to initiate contact with the helmet is a foul,” is what the new rule reads.

    Lewis laughs. That’s what he’s been taught ever since he was in 10th grade at Fort Cherry High School in McDonald, Pa., and old Steelers head
    coach turned TV talking head Bill Cowher was a junior about 30 minutes away at Carlynton High School. Heck, even before that in Pop Warner
    football.

    It’s what he’ll lecture about next weekend at the University of Texas, where he’s been asked to speak to players and coaches about the most basic
    thing in the game.

    Tackling.

    Head-up tackling.

    “It’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment, but as players it’s how we were taught to originally play the game,” Lewis said Thursday. “You didn’t need
    to lead with your head. Leading with our head was not correct. You were taught not to. You were taught to play with your head and your eyes. I’m not
    saying it’s anybody’s fault. The evolution has changed a little bit and we’ve got to go back and emphasize the right things.”

    The right things? He has been hearing and talking about them ever since head coach Jim Garry taught tackling at McDonald High. Or when Lewis
    was an assistant at Long Beach State in the mid-80s and he would listen to Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur talk about the
    proper tackling technique. Even 20 years ago, when he was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore. Lewis can still remember how badly the Ravens
    tackled in 1998 and how he spent the offseason emphasizing it.

    “If you ducked your head, if you hit with your helmet, if you did that, you were going to get hurt,” Lewis said. “The other thing is that when your eyes
    go down and your head goes down, your chance of making the tackle is reduced. You have to see what you hit. You want to have your neck bowed,
    your head up and your eyes up and that’s what you were taught to do. Play through the wrap-up and grab cloth. Those are the things that are
    important.”



    Rookie right end Jordan Willis had no missed tackles in 360 snaps last year, according to profootballfocus.com.


    And the irony is this has been one of those offseasons long before the rule was passed. Lewis has been talking about improving tackling ever since
    the season has ended. Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson’s broken-field 49-yard touchdown run that broke open the second loss of last
    season still gnaws at him.

    The Watson whiff is the keynote address of a season the Bengals missed 118 missed tackles, according to profootballfocus.com, the sixth most in the
    NFL. But it’s the fewest they’ve had since 2013 and they’d like to get back to 2012, when they missed just 90.

    The coaches in Lewis’ strength and conditioning department have already been alerted. Head man Chip Morton is preparing for more practice
    periods devoted to tackling technique and GPS maven Shea Townsend is already looking at old school tapes. He’s frozen the great middle linebacker
    Dick Butkus delivering one of his bone-crushing tackles in slow motion with his helmet clearly on the side, resting on the hip of the ball carrier while
    his shoulders detonate the play.

    “A year ago we had some plays we really tackled poorly,” Lewis said. “We have to take a really hard look at that. That’s one of the improvements we
    have to make. It’s an easy fix. We went through that same transition in ’98 and ‘99 in Baltimore. Defensively in order for us to get better. We didn’t do
    it well last year. We let some plays get away from us. That run by Watson. And sometimes it’s effort and sometimes its energy. So we have to take a
    look at all those things.”

    Lewis thinks that teaching on the lower level of the game has improved now that youth coaches need to get licensed. But there was a time when it
    just wasn’t so and the old-school fundamentals got lost.

    “There’s no question,” Lewis said. “Because a lot of times the people that are instructing it, they haven’t been taught the proper way, so all they
    remember is the worst thing they were ever taught. And that’s how they want to go about it. In any sport you don’t duck your head.”

    Lewis already knows what’s ahead. He’s already hearing it. The endless instant replays of debate. He’s concerned that’s going to consume the safety
    issue itself.

    “It becomes a judgment thing. It’s going to be a thing that’s debated all the time on television. It already is,” Lewis said. “They’re acting like it’s a thing
    bigger than it is. So it’s already gotten out of control. It’s the same education piece. Any time there’s any kind of revision, I think the people that spend
    the time talking about it need to be educated and understand it. Not only that, you have to educate the players.”

    No one knows what the penalties are for using the head. But that doesn’t concern Lewis at the moment.

    “I don’t think it should be a fine,” he said. “It’s important to our team. Keep the players healthy. Keep them out of harm’s way. And make us a better
    tackling team.”









    http://www.bengals.com/news/article-1/Old-school-tackle/c74af85f-67ec-41a4-ba44-ea8fdb30bf90







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