NFL defenses should take offense again


POSTED: Thursday, March 26, 2009

”;Hey buddy, you left your little man-step down.”;
- Derisive Howie Long to wimpy pickup truck driver


Defense (Foiled) Again.

Just substitute the appropriate four letters between the f and the d and you've got what the crusty old linebackers coach really wrote on a chalkboard when the competition committee stuck it to his boys once again, 20 years ago.

It's been going on for decades. So why are we surprised that nearly every time the NFL changes its rules, it favors the offense?

I was for the Brady Bill, which forced you to wait a few days before you could buy a handgun. But this new Brady Rule, which forces a defensive player to get off the ground before he can make a play on a quarterback? Not good.

This is in reaction to the knee injury to Tom Brady when the Patriots quarterback was knocked out for the 2008 season before it barely started. In the season opener, Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard tackled Brady from the ground, injuring Brady's knee in the process.

This is a furthering of the “;Kimo Clause,”; protecting quarterback's knees after Carson Palmer was injured by Kimo von Oelhoffen on a similar play a few years back.

Too much already.

The courage to risk injury is part of the game and defines great players. The new rule is overboard, contrived, and contradictory to the spirit of football.

What I especially don't like about it is the position discrimination aspect.

Why do quarterbacks specifically get this protection? Some will say they deserve special protection because they are the most vulnerable, but we know the real answer. They are the faces of the NFL, and the owners' biggest investments.

This is also not well thought out considering the “;Wildcat”; quarterback package popularized by the Dolphins last year. Does this silly rule apply only to “;real”; quarterbacks, or are running backs who take direct snaps like Ronnie Brown protected, too?

Defenders are running out of places where they can hit quarterbacks. We just moved another step closer to touch football.

» Some say the USA will just shrug off losing in the World Baseball Classic again. Unless the owners and the players union team up to shut the thing down (doubtful since it's commissioner Bud Selig's baby), I don't think that's the case. It'll be more like basketball, where a Dream Team is put together and sent on a mission to regain the pride of the country that invented and previously dominated the game.

With Japan winning the first two, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and others will ramp up their efforts, too.

Like it or not, this is the true World Series.

By the way, has the Korean manager been fired yet for pitching to Ichiro with the championship on the line?

» Hawaii spring football practice starts Monday. You won't see a lot of special teams, but coach Greg McMackin says the kicking game will get a “;complete overhaul.”;

The guy who will do it is new assistant Chris Tormey. He spent some time in Gainesville last week with Florida's and Cincinnati's special teams coaches.

“;It went really well,”; Tormey said. “;We covered all aspects and I met with their defensive coaches, too.”;

And, sorry, no. He did not bring back any of the Gators' ridiculously fast return men with him.