By Evan Bleier / August 19, 2018

Eagles Head Coach Criticizes NFL’s New Helmet-Contact Rule

League's new tackling policy confuses teams, could be flagged on almost every play.

Doug Pederson
Head Coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

During their second game of the preseason, the Philadelphia Eagles were flagged for violating the NFL’s new helmet-contact rule three times.

After the game, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson discussed what it has been like to teach his players about the rule and the difficulties the team has encountered in doing so.

According to Pederson, the lack of hitting in practice has made it difficult for players to learn how to tackle so they won’t be flagged and makes them especially reliant on reviewing game film. Also, since the policy is so new, players and coaches are unsure exactly how it will be officiated.

“Because you’re not putting your team in live situations anymore in camp; it’s hard to really work on it,” Pederson explained. “And you can work all the drills you want, but until you are in the game when things happen a lot faster, that’s when you really find out how your team is progressing in that area.”

The lack of clarity about how the rule will impact play on the field is “a concern league-wide,” he added.

And it should be, because if the rule is officiated by the letter of the law, it could be called on every play.

“It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent,” the rule states. “Applies to any player anywhere on the field.”

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