While many of the NFL’s major safety rule changes have been directed at cutting down on head injuries, or protecting quarterbacks, Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane told “Justin and Gee” that he’s happy to see a potential new change that could keep him healthy.
The NFL competition committee is reportedly considering a rule change that would completely eliminate the chop block for the 2016 season. A chop block occurs when one blocker is engaged with a defender up high, while another offensive player blocks the defender below the waist. Some of those plays were outlawed last year, but the block was still allowed during certain running plays, such as when blockers are aligned next to each other on the line of scrimmage.
Eliminating the block would be another move toward player safety, further eliminating potential lower leg injuries.
“Now everybody is important on the field, not just the quarterback,” Mebane said. ” … You need everybody on the field to win a football game, not just a quarterback.”
As one of the more tenacious active defensive tackles in the NFL, Mebane says he sees plenty of cut blocks from the backside to limit his pursuit on running plays.
“A lot of times when guards play against me, and the play goes away and it’s a zone (running) team, they will cut me because they are afraid of me making a play from the back, running plays down from the backside,” he said. “A lot of times I go into a game already anticipating if the ball goes away, this guy is capable of cutting – even though he didn’t show it on film, he doesn’t do it a lot or he don’t do it at all. But to try to slow me down, he would do it.”
Mebane said he also favors the rule change because chop blocks are “very, very dangerous.”
“Playing football is already hard enough and when you’ve got a guy diving for your knees and ankles, that’s just not right. It’s not fair because the offense already had the advantage in that they know the snap count and we pretty much are going off the reaction or the movement of the ball,” he said. ” … We all sign up for this sport and we all know it’s tough, it’s brutal, but something like that I feel like can be avoided when you get to injuries and tears when somebody on purpose is diving at your legs and your knees trying to slow you down.”
Mebane says the rule would have an impact on “a lot of” offensive linemen, who he says would need to move their feet better to cope with the change.
While he said he doesn’t dwell on potential head or leg injuries, the rule change could bolster his current method for staying safe.
“I pray before every game,” he said. “So I can’t go into a game worrying about all these injuries because if you’re worried about all these injuries and all these things that could happen to you, then you’re not going to really be focused on your task, what’s in front of you.”
Other highlights from the interview:
Why he thinks the Senior Bowl provides better analysis than the NFL combine: “One of the most important things is the all-star events, the Senior Bowl. I think the Senior Bowl is more important field work than the combine because you can actually see the football player. The combine is like an Olympics. You’ve got some certain guys who can do certain drills very well compared to others, but this day and age, you can train for those certain drills for the combine to make yourself look good or you can train a certain way to run your 40 good. But when this guy runs his 40, does he play like that every down?”
Weirdest question he was asked at his NFL combine: “Are you a blood or a crip?”