Some Vikings criticize NFL's helmet-to-helmet tackle crackdown
ST. PAUL Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin called the NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet tackles "ridiculous," even though it could protect him and other offensive players. And teammate Pat Williams said the league is wrong to threate...
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin called the NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet tackles "ridiculous," even though it could protect him and other offensive players.
And teammate Pat Williams said the league is wrong to threaten suspensions while ignoring what's being done to him and other defensive linemen.
"They're protecting everybody else but us," Williams said Thursday. "We get chop blocked. They ain't talking about all that -- all the chop blocking and all that stuff we get -- because they don't really care about the D-line. We're out there all the time getting chop blocked."
Offensive linemen "try to do it all the time," Williams said, adding that he and fellow defensive tackle Kevin Williams "ain't never had a call. Kevin never had a call. I never had a call. All you got to do is argue with the ref. (They say) 'We watching for it.' They don't."
The NFL announced this week that players could be suspended for aiming for the head or leading with the helmet.
"I don't think the rule will work," Harvin said. "There are guys playing full speed. Some of those hits are just good tackles that are accidental. I don't think it's going to change the game."
Pat Williams said the league is cracking down because "it's an offensive game. It's an offensive sport. They want to see points. They want to see the scores."
Harvin said he believes the crackdown is "going to slow down the game a little bit. You can't judge how you tackle someone, so I think
it's ridiculous. That's not my call, but I don't agree with it."
Several players were fined for hits last weekend. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was assessed the highest fine, $75,000.
"Teams are asked to play 100 miles an hour in between the lines," Harvin said. "So I don't know how you tell a defensive player to judge how they're going to tackle. I'm interested to see how it's going to play out. I think it's taking away from the game a little bit."
Said Pat Williams, "The game is just too fast. You can't slow it up. What do you want to do, go in slow motion out there? You go up for the hit. (You can't say:) 'I can't hit it like this. Let me stop.' We've been playing ball ever since we were like 6 years, 7 years old. That's how we get taught. People don't understand. The game is so fast. You can't change your mind before you hit somebody in a split second. There's nothing you can do about it."
Vikings wide receiver Greg Camarillo said he has concerns about the timing of implementing the enforcement of suspensions.
"They're looking out for players and their heads. You obviously have to protect somebody's brain and the concussion. That's a tough rule to enforce immediately," Camarillo said. "Defensive players have one week to change the way they've been playing their whole life. It's just too hard to change immediately. If they told me I had to run routes differently next week, that's going to change my whole perspective. But I don't think too much is going to change on the field because a lot of that is just instinct and reaction."
Asked if he favored the crackdown, Camarillo aligned himself with Harvin and Pat Williams.
"Not really," he said. "There's a difference between using your helmet to injure somebody and having a hard hit. They're kind of blurring that line. But they make the rules. We don't have a decision in that, so we've just got to play with it."
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.