Redskins linebacker Zach Brown is baffled by the NFL's new tackling rule, which penalizes players for lowering their heads to initiate and make contact with their helmets onto an opponent.
"It just seems like they don't want us to play defense no more because offensive guys are complaining about being hit. You know what you signed up for, so don't come out here if you're (going to) complain about being hit. "
Brown warns of the unintended consequence of the new rule, demonstrating how it forces a defender to bow his neck back in order to avoid lowering the head.
"You can mess your neck up," he said. "When they're telling you to bow your neck, you can really mess your neck up bowing backwards, is what they don't know, because they're not the ones hitting people 300 pounds. So when you put your face in it, you can hurt your neck, you can break your nose, you can mess up a lot of stuff in your face. And they don't understand that."
The new rule – approved by NFL owners in March – even reads quite confusing: "It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. Contact does not have to be to an opponent's head or neck area – lowering the head and initiating contact to an opponent's torso, hips, and lower body, is also a foul. Violations of the rule will be easier to see and officiate when they occur in open space – as opposed to close line play – but this rule applies anywhere on the field at any time.
"You don't understand," Brown said. "Like, as a linebacker, if you do 10 tackles and they fine you eight out of 10, that's ridiculous. The NFL's just making stuff up nowadays. Like, 'Oh, here you go. Linebackers can't lower their heads anymore when they hit.' Alright. Y'all have yet to fine a running back that lowers their head when they come through the hole. They do it. I be sitting there so mad."
Brown hopes the change is just another rule the league hardly enforces.
"What they're talking about is something that everybody does," he stressed.
"They're making it easier for the offense because they're getting hit too hard," he said. "Well, too bad. The game's been like this forever. So they're changing it to make it better for y'all, to make it high-scoring, make it more electrifying. I mean, I think the scores went up a lot ever since the little rule came in that we can't touch the receivers downfield. So they make it harder for the D-backs, now they're putting in this for the linebackers. "