When NFL discipline-meister
"I thought we were looking at a
We may look back at last weekend as a seminal one in how defense is played in the NFL. That might be an exaggeration, but this is very high on the NFL's fix-it agenda, and don't underestimate what the league will do to protect its image when it feels it's in crisis mode. And for a league with its antennae up about head injuries, concussions and post-career care of injured players, last weekend may just have been the kind of perfect storm that will change the way defensive players approach big hits.
The events of the weekend, including the possible paralysis of a Rutgers football player and the strong negative reaction by former big-hitter
In fact, I would be surprised if the first piece of discipline doesn't come this week in the form of a suspension of New England safety
"Very frankly,'' said Anderson, "a lot of folks would put that hit in the cheap-shot category. I thought it was flagrant and unnecessary ... After listening to the impactful words of Rodney Harrison that fines really are not a deterrent, I think we have to get across to the players that you may be facing a suspension for the kinds of hits we're seeing.''
On Saturday, a Rutgers linebacker,
"We've got to protect players from themselves,'' Anderson said, "and we're going to move aggressively to do so. On Sunday, I felt profoundly disturbed. We've got to hold our players to a higher accountability and get them to understand that they may be facing a suspension, and not only a fine, for some of these hits we're seeing.''
Of the four big hits Sunday -- and there were more in other games that haven't gotten the white-hot spotlight, such as one on St. Louis quarterback
"We missed a call,'' Anderson said. "That call should have been made.''
Officiating crews, Anderson said, would have reinforced to them this week the fact that players who make egregious helmet-to-helmet hits would be subject not just to penalties and fines, but also to ejection from the game. In the three seasons since the league put that onus on officials that they could eject players for over-the-top hits in games, no player has been ejected for such a violation. There's a good chance that will change now.
One more interesting point raised by ProFootballTalk.com's
This morning, on Sirius NFL Radio, I asked Denver coach
Expect the league to consider all modes now to try to get a better handle on the issue. It's white-hot at 280 Park Avenue at league offices.
Your e-mails, first on various topics, then on the
• I WAS NEGLIGENT IN NOT PRAISING MCCOY.
Colt McCoy, I believe, was a revelation Sunday in Pittsburgh. I should have spent some words Monday praising him. What impressed me most was his poise on one of the toughest fields in the NFL, against one of the toughest defenses he'll ever face. To go 23 of 33 while being under constant attack is a tribute to all the preparation he's had for this moment over the years, particularly at Texas.
I watched a lot of this game, and what was impressive was how he never flinched in the face of the five sacks or the seven or eight other significant pressures. I wouldn't be surprised to see McCoy start not only against New Orleans this week at the Superdome, but also after the bye, when the Patriots and Jets, in succession, travel to Cleveland. Talk about a tough road to start a career. But yes, I'm high on what I saw in McCoy.
• PLAY THE GAME LIKE RUGBY.
I doubt this will ever come to be, but it is really an interesting concept, particularly playing one man down the way it's done in some other sports. I know how big a factor it is on the World Cup stage.
• I LIKE IT.
From your lips to the Competition Committee's ears. It's a great thought.
• OK. I SEE.
Charley and I talked Monday, and there are no hard feelings about this. And Dave, I see your point. I won't harp on this, but in my business, if I report something on national TV and 20 hours later someone else reports the same thing on another national TV outlet without attributing the story properly, that's something I have a problem with.
Now your points about the Deion situation. It's your forum, so I'm just going to print your thoughts here.
• DEION IS RANKED TOO HIGH.
• HE AGREES.
• HE AGREES TOO.
• DEION IS A COOL DUDE, AND WE HAVE HIM ALL WRONG.