Today’s NFL is not your dad’s NFL. Because in my era, chop blocking (cutting a man below the waist while he is engaged with another man) and a cut block (cutting a man below the waist while he is not engaged with another man) were both legal.
The game has evolved to a kinder, gentler version in accordance with today’s mandate of making the game safer, therefore much healthier. That’s fine with me, so long as you keep the playing field level, and adhere to a safety policy that stretches across the field.
With the advent of the term “Defenseless player” now being cow-kicked around defining different players as being vulnerable, such as the wide receiver or the snapper on special teams, and most assuredly the quarterbacks, it might be time to consider the plight of the nose tackle or the 3-technique defensive tackle.
According to the NFL, the nose tackle (usually the mammoth 2-footed pachyderm lined up across from the center) is not a defenseless player if a running play is going on. Therefore it is of no interest to the NFL that “Chop blocking” or the art of rolling up a player’s legs from the side or behind is occurring in greater frequency.
Imagine that you are Casey Hampton playing the nose tackle. You fire off the ball on a pass play and head bang with the center and begin grappling with said center on a pass rush. Suddenly a 300-plus pound howitzer caps you in the knees with a chop block blowing you off your feet and because you are locked up with the center, you have no way of defending your lower body.
Hopefully for Big Snack (and you), the tendons and ligaments of the knees are strong enough to withstand 300-plus pounds of bodyweightxforce sawing him in half. The flag comes out because it is a propped up chop block. While engaged with one man, you can’t be drilled in the lower body by another, no matter if it’s the center’s next door neighbor on the offensive line or a running back trying to help out.
Same guy, same place only now it’s a run play. You fire off the line of scrimmage, engage in hand-to-hand combat with the beef-a-lo and move down the line flowing towards the designated gap you are responsible for. Suddenly the guy running next to the center, the backside guard who you can’t see because your back is turned, blasts you from behind in the back of the legs.
Do you mean to tell me that a guy getting drilled from behind isn’t defenseless? That it’s a Bozo no-no to chop (remember cut and chop blocks are two different animals) on a pass rush but it’s okay on a run play?
The NFL says if a man is one-player removed from the choppee, that’s a foul on the chopper, but if he’s right next to the choppee then have at it chopper. What’s the difference? That it’s not okay to see it coming on a pass rush but perfectly fine if you don’t see it coming on a run play? The defensive player is still hugely at risk for injury in either situation and it makes no sense to me how being right next to the post-man is okay, but one man removed is not.
I’m beginning to think the NFL deems a defenseless player as anyone but a defensive player.
Craig’s BioCraig Wolfley is a 12-year veteran of the NFL who played 10 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and 2 years with the Minnesota Vikings. [read more]
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