As we all know, Dustin Keller's season is over. He tore the anterior cruciate, medial collateral, and posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee, and he also dislocated the knee, all on one play. Hopefully, his career is not over. But regardless, this is a play that makes you pause.
But not everybody.
Those things happen," Kubiak said. "All the targets are from the shoulders down in football now". D.J. was playing an out route and reacted to an in route and just making a tackle and reacting.
Add to that, Swearinger's perspective, where he not only maintains that he did nothing wrong, and was not obligated to hit Keller in a safer way, but also that the new NFL rules preventing head injuries are causing him to hurt other players, and your eyebrows raise.
But is it really Goodell who is breaking players knees? Or does some responsibility lie with players, at least in certain situations? You have to wonder if certain players even want to make a clean tackle, if that is even a goal. D.J. Swearinger's college history may be some indication of that, when last year he was suspended for knocking a player out, and this was his reaction:
In other words...if we're not even trying to get the ball thru the goalpost, do we expect it to go through? Do we need to start looking at how players are being coached, and what they're allowed to do, especially since some may feel there's been a recent "green light" to make questionable hits because they're far away from the head region?
These are questions we all need to ask.
In the meantime, what do other players think? If you ask some Dolphin players, they do feel protection needs to be given to offensive players. Other players, such as Kellen Winslow, have been vocal about their point of view:
To expand on Winslow, his reference to "defenseless receiver" is already found in NFL rulebooks, available online.
The rule states that "It is a foul if a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture. Players in a defenseless posture (include) a receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner. Prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture (includes): Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the top/crown or forehead/"hairline" parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player’s body."
That seems fairly clear to me, however the hit is being discussed in terms of being a "legal" hit. Legal or not, this kind of tackling (or lack of) needs to be curtailed.