Protecting Defenseless Players on NFL’s Rule-Change Agenda

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Protecting Defenseless Players on NFL's Rule-Change Agenda The NFL knows it has to keep its product healthy and on the field, and it wants to protect its players accordingly. Throughout the day on Tuesday, NESN.com will scroll through five potential rule changes that are being discussed at this week’s owners meetings. We've already touched on the overtime proposal, and now we'll take a look at the league’s request to further protect defenseless players.

Proposed Rule
The league wants its officials to be more liberal in calling penalties when defensive players target defenseless receivers. There have been strides in this direction for several years, and with more attention on the passing game in recent seasons, it’s important to minimize helmet-to-helmet hits on wideouts who are more focused on the ball than a lurking safety.

Will it Pass?
Guys like Wes Welker, who live in the middle of the field, take so many vicious hits throughout the course of the season, and it’s crucial for the league to ensure its players are able to live healthy, stable lives after their football careers. Owners obviously want their players to, you know, play while they’re under contract, and the league’s increasing awareness of concussions should lead us to believe these rules won’t be taken lightly.

It’s just going to be important for officials to call personal fouls on a consistent basis — look at the discrepancy with last season’s roughing-the-passer penalties, for example. Defensive players might not like new restrictions, but if they understand where officials are coming from with their calls, it’s something everyone can live with.

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