Packers' Mike McCarthy: New helmet rules will target 'egregious hits'

Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) looks down at wide receiver Davante Adams (17) as he lays on the ground after a hard hit from the Chicago Bears defense on Sept. 28, 2017, at Lambeau Field.

GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said his team will be well-prepared for the new use-of-the-helmet rules that will be enforced this season.

The NFL wants to crack down on players leading with their helmets and this offseason came up with strict guidelines and penalties for helmet contact both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

McCarthy said teaching of the new rules began in the spring and tackling form is addressed in all of the drills the players perform on the field. On Thursday, NFL officials who are in town to work three training camp practices, will go over that and other rule changes and emphases with the players.

“You can just see with the communication from the NFL officiating department, a number of emails, particularly the video that’s been moving around the league,” McCarthy said of the emphasis. “We’ve already taken a lap through it.

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“We have a segment of our team meeting, game education, that we’ve been able to cover most of it so far and it’ll be good to have officials here the next three days. We’ll go back through it with these guys.”

McCarthy said he’s all for taking the helmet out of the game. He said his players have been taught the proper way to tackle, but he does expect a learning curve to take place because of the changes.

For instance, a running back can receive a 15-yard penalty for lowering his helmet on a defender in certain situations.

Players can be ejected for any of these three uses of the helmet:

1. Player lowers his helmet to establish a linear body posture prior to initiating and making contact with the helmet

2. Unobstructed path to his opponent

3.Contact clearly avoidable and player delivering the blow had other options

“I think clearly you have to remember what we’re trying to accomplish here,” McCarthy said. “It’s a number of things. No. 1, the number of egregious hits in the league last year; the goal is clearly to get those out of the game. The helmet is not a weapon.

“So it’s really, from my viewpoint, the emphasizing the proper tackling techniques and this and that. Once again, I know history will tell you in my time going back through all the rule changes – if we can get it early enough as coaches and get it a part of our training, we’ll achieve the goal.”


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