December 24, 2014

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES THE GAME UNWATCHABLE:

Tackling becomes lost in era where offenses rules (PAUL NEWBERRY, 12/24/14, AP)


In football, one of the essential elements of the game -- tackling -- just doesn't get a whole lot of practice time anymore. It's like a baseball infielder who doesn't take grounders before a game, or a hockey goalie who never faces 100 mph shots until it counts.

"We don't tackle live, not in practice," said Bob Sutton, defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. "I don't think anybody in the league does."

The reasons for that are understandable. Tougher restrictions on full-contact drills have taken hold at all levels of football, mostly spurred by a heightened awareness of the devastating long-term damage that concussions can cause.

From high schools to colleges to the pros, the impact of that change is noticeable to everyone -- especially those who are trying to avoid getting tackled.

"It's a lost art," said Falcons running back Steven Jackson, who had rushed for more than 11,000 yards in the NFL.

For pro teams, where the top players are making millions of dollars and rosters are limited to 53 players plus a small practice squad, one of the primary goals during the week is just making sure everybody is healthy for the game. Hitting in practice is simply not feasible, especially at this time of year when most teams are all beat up.

Thankfully, none of the receivers can run routes or catch either....

Posted by at December 24, 2014 1:46 PM
  

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