Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather responded to his one game suspension by declaring that if he can’t hit players high, then he’ll have to go low and tear their ACL’s. Meriweather was suspended by the NFL after two hits he delivered against Chicago Bears receivers drew personal foul penalties.
Over the past few seasons, the NFL has cracked down hard on defenders who continue to violate the rules for tackling players safely. And while player safety needs to be a priority, in making the game safer the NFL has also made it that much easier for offenses to attack defenses.
And this has created a situation where defensive players are taking other alternatives, like hitting receivers lower in order to compensate for the inability to hit them high. We’re seeing Peyton Manning looking like he might pass for a ridiculous 6,000 yards this season, and Calvin Johnson just had a 329 yard receiving day.
Personally I don’t like to see offenses dominating defenses. I like more of a chess match between the two. But it seems the days of offense and defense going back and forth are becoming a thing of the past. So what are defensive players supposed to do? I don’t condone purposefully trying to take out ACL’s, and Brandon Meriweather should stop saying that.
But the NFL has created a situation where offensive players have the free reign to attack a defense as they choose, and defensive players are restricted. Are players like Meriweather supposed to compromise how they make a living to become essentially practice dummies for offenses run roughshod over?
Many around the league are becoming alarmed at seeing receivers sustaining knee injuries from defenders tackling them low, and I’m sure at some point the NFL will ban low tackles too. But I think it’s only natural that there be some sort of risk for receivers running routes over the middle. Why should defenders have to look out for receivers safety, when receivers seem to have no regard for their own?
And while the NFL has made the game safer, it’s also made it overly slanted in favor of the offense. Many people are in awe of what Peyton Manning is doing this season, but let’s be real here. Manning is doing this in age where defensive football is a mere shadow of what it once was, and the game is much easier for quarterbacks now.
So in response, defenders like Brandon Meriweather are now stating that there will be a price to pay for offenses running wild. And that price may come with knee ligament damage. In the blow back of fines and suspensions, defensive players are becoming desperate in trying to slow down receivers. And desperate times may call for desperate measures.