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Old 12-08-2010, 03:03 PM    (permalink
BeerBaron
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Default Lousy Tackling in the NFL....what can be done?

If you haven't noticed this trend this year, then you need to watch more NFL games.

Tackling has been...abhorrent...to say the least. I can't watch a game anymore without seeing multiple plays where defenders will go for the big hit or the strip, miss, and then let the runner pick up additional yardage or even break free for a score.

Never before have I seen a year in which something so fundamental to the game has been done so poorly so regularly. Even in Sunday's Steelers/Ravens game between two traditionally dominant defenses, sloppy tackling was happening all over the place. Defenders bouncing off of the ball carrier without wrapping up...it was truly a pathetic spectacle at times.

Yesterday's TMQ article pointed out more examples as well:
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2...k&sportCat=nfl

Quote:
There were a rash of badly missed tackles on Sunday, and the common denominator was defenders aiming high, in hopes of a "SportsCenter" big hit, rather than "breaking down" then using proper form to wrap up. San Francisco showing blitz, Aaron Rodgers sent Donald Driver in motion from left to right, then threw him a deep out. Defensive backs Nate Clements, Reggie Smith and Dashon Goldson all missed Driver badly, by not using proper form, on Driver's 61-yard touchdown. Goldson had the dubious distinction of missing him badly, catching up, then whiffing again.

Jersey/A Giants backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw repeatedly ran through half-hearted poor-form tackle attempts by the Redskins. On Jacobs' 28-yard rush to put the G-Persons ahead by four touchdowns, DeAngelo Hall and Reed Doughty missed badly, tackling air, while Kevin Barnes barely even tried, seemingly stepping out of Jacobs' way to avoid being hit. Then after the touchdown, the Redskins' Rocky McIntosh had the gall to start pushing and shoving a Giants' player! How about performing during the play, not jiving after?

Washington, which had one of the league's better defenses in 2008 and 2009, now is 32nd ranked, after Mike Shanahan came in, fired the previous defensive coordinator and installed an all-new scheme. Much attention has focused on the inept Washington offense -- six turnovers Sunday, including an almost laughable fumble on which Donovan McNabb basically just set the ball on the ground during a down. TMQ thinks Washington's embarrassing season keys mainly to the decline of its defense -- Skins defenders don't even try to use proper tackling form.

City of Tampa scoring to take a 24-14 fourth-quarter lead, Atlanta's Eric Weems ran the kickoff back for a touchdown, on a play with five missed tackles -- all poor form -- including the Bucs' Maurice Stovall barely bothering to shove Weems when Stovall had him trapped at the sideline. TMQ got the feeling that, after that play, Raheem Morris screamed at his charges -- when you've got someone pinned on the sideline don't pussyfoot, hammer him out. I think this because when Brent Grimes made the game-icing interception for Atlanta as the clock ticked toward all-naughts, Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman had Grimes pinned on the sidelines and rather than just shove him out of bounds, hammered him -- drawing a rare unnecessary roughness penalty against a quarterback.
So what is the root cause of this? I personally think it is the combination of the following issues:

1.) Players going for the big "Highlight Reel" hit and missing. A wrap up tackle doesn't get you any attention...blasting a guy and possibly causing a drop or fumble does, even if it only works out far less often. I would think that the new rules regarding player safety would lessen the instances of seeing this, but so far, it has not based on what I've seen. I'll still see players with a clean shot at the ball carrier dive towards him and hit him with their shoulder, only to harmlessly bounce off while the ball carrier keeps running.

2.) Players being coached to go for the strip. Not a bad concept at all, but I'm seeing it done in very poor fashion. The Bears are renowned for their efforts to strip the ball, and as a result, are regularly tops in the league in forced turnovers. But usually, when Bears players go for the strip, it is after the player to make first contact with the ball carrier wraps him up then subsequent defenders to arrive start punching and ripping at the ball. This year, I've seen defenders trying to get the ball to pop out while the runner is still going, then fall down, allowing the runner to break free into the open field. If they're being instructed to do it that way, then it's terrible coaching. Priority #1 should be to wrap up the ball carrier in a situation like that...make sure he isn't going to get any further, then have others go for the ball.

3.) Little to no tackling or physicality in practice. For fear of injury to a key player, coaches are doing less and less with tackling or physical play of any kind in practices throughout the year. Wrap up tackling simply isn't worked on at the pro, or seemingly even college level (see igan, Mich.) When Jason Garrett was promoted to Head Coach, it was popularly reported that he had the team practicing in pads and working on fundamentals. And guess what? Since then, they've only lost 1 close game.

It just really bothers me as a fan of football to see such a fundamental part of the game being performed so poorly by so many in the league.

So....Lousy tackling....what can be done?
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:09 PM    (permalink
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make players wear old-school, leather helmets.
this will cause them to not tuck their heads always looking for kill shots.
this will cause them to keep their heads up, eyes focused on the runner's chest.
this will result in more fundamentally-sound tackling, and fewer injuries.

less "jacked-up" espn highlights though.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:13 PM    (permalink
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Not call so many penalties on defensive players when they make tackles the way they were taught to.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:14 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by J-Mike88 View Post
make players wear old-school, leather helmets.
this will cause them to not tuck their heads always looking for kill shots.
this will cause them to keep their heads up, eyes focused on the runner's chest.
this will result in more fundamentally-sound tackling, and fewer injuries.

less "jacked-up" espn highlights though.
I think they actually did end that segment a few seasons ago...or at don't play it anytime when I've been watching anymore.

But they do still show big hits that cause big plays like turnovers....that is going to be unavoidable in highlight packages. And the players see those, want to get noticed, and go for the big hit, missing more often than succeeding in creating a big play.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:15 PM    (permalink
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Not call so many penalties on defensive players when they make tackles the way they were taught to.
there are way more Penalties on those high, sometimes helmet to helmet hits.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:18 PM    (permalink
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It cost the Ravens the game on Sunday. Dawan Landry had a line on Isaac Redman on that 3rd and 10 TD pass and he absolutely ****** up the tackle, it was awful. If he had of hit him after 4 yards and dropped him there, Ravens probably win that game. Just pathetic to see a guy who gets paid millions of dollars not form tackle and just kind of toss himself sideways at someone's legs.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:25 PM    (permalink
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As odd as it sounds, the fines in place that are being complained about right now will indirectly lead to better form tackling.

Bc now you can't really go for the big hit anymore. It will probably lead to a fine, so players need to learn how to form tackle.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:25 PM    (permalink
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It's only going to get worse when we have less preseason games and offseason workouts.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:25 PM    (permalink
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Imagine if you didn't practice the passing game at all during camp outside of preseason games. Is it suddenly gonna click during the regular season? The answer is no.

So many NFL teams and college teams and even high school teams go with so little contact that these guys almost never practice tackling, but it's supposed to somehow be good on gameday. It makes very little sense. And then people wonder why guys cannot tackle.

Yes, having tackling circuits in practice each day comes with a small amount of risk, but there are ways to minimize that risk such as going 50% to encourage players to focus on form and then reduce the amount of impact as well as not needing to put guys into the ground.

Anyway, that's how I see it.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:25 PM    (permalink
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It cost the Ravens the game on Sunday. Dawan Landry had a line on Isaac Redman on that 3rd and 10 TD pass and he absolutely ****** up the tackle, it was awful. If he had of hit him after 4 yards and dropped him there, Ravens probably win that game. Just pathetic to see a guy who gets paid millions of dollars not form tackle and just kind of toss himself sideways at someone's legs.
The helmet to helmet penalties are clearly in the heads of the defenses. If Landry tackled him normally, he could have gotten a penalty called on him and that would have cost them the game anyway. Instead he tossed himself sideways at Redman's legs, like you said.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:26 PM    (permalink
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It's only going to get worse when we have less preseason games and offseason workouts.
Tackling is actually a bigger issue in December/January, when teams run the ball more.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:27 PM    (permalink
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If I were a coach, I'd only draft technically sound linebackers and DBs from hard-hitting Big 10 schools, and NEVER in the first round, so they all come into the NFL with a chip on their shoulder.

Then I'd tell them "if you want to play defense for me, you need to wrap the f*** up every time you make contact or I'm cutting your a**."
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:27 PM    (permalink
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Tackling is actually a bigger issue in December/January, when teams run the ball more.
Yeah but that's also because teams barely practice the basics once the season starts. Tackling always gets worse the further we get from preseason.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:29 PM    (permalink
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If I were a coach, I'd only draft technically sound linebackers and DBs from hard-hitting Big 10 schools, and NEVER in the first round, so they all come into the NFL with a chip on their shoulder.

Then I'd tell them "if you want to play defense for me, you need to wrap the f*** up every time you make contact or I'm cutting your a**."
your defense sounds slow.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:29 PM    (permalink
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your defense sounds slow.
But they're not going to let some scrub RB get 100+ YAC on them, that's for darn sure.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:31 PM    (permalink
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But they're not going to let some scrub RB get 100+ YAC on them, that's for darn sure.
If they're slow, they will....
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:40 PM    (permalink
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If they're slow, they will....
Well, I'm not going to draft guys that run 5.0 40s or anything like that.

Actually, look at Brandon Spikes @ NE: it doesn't really matter how slow he is because he uses solid technique and plays tough.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:52 PM    (permalink
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The helmet to helmet penalties are clearly in the heads of the defenses. If Landry tackled him normally, he could have gotten a penalty called on him and that would have cost them the game anyway. Instead he tossed himself sideways at Redman's legs, like you said.
If he tackled him normally, there wouldn't be a penalty. There isn't a penalty for hitting the guy around the waist/stomach with your shoulder then wrapping your arms around him.

As BBD said, the fines on big hits should shift emphasis back to good form tackling.....it remains to be seen though because it certainly hasn't done it yet.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:19 PM    (permalink
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Suspend Eric Weddle and bad tackle attempts will down 5-10% leaguewide.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:29 PM    (permalink
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Well, I'm not going to draft guys that run 5.0 40s or anything like that.

Actually, look at Brandon Spikes @ NE: it doesn't really matter how slow he is because he uses solid technique and plays tough.
Spikes is looking good for us but a big part of that is because he is allowed to play his game. He has actually looked like he can be more of a run stuffer, but run stuffing and being a force in the middle is what he's going to make his mark here doing.

The reasons why he is allowed to play his game:





I really can't get over how thrilled I am to have Spikes and Mayo playing next to each other.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:48 AM    (permalink
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It starts at the college level. If poor tackling on the NFL level bothers you, watching an NCAA game might make you vomit. And I agree with those who believe it's because teams don't go live often enough. I'm never surprised when I hear about teams that go full pads being successful. Example, Harbaugh at Stanford. They go live, live, live even during the season.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:50 AM    (permalink
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NFL players can't tackle to save their lives. Watch some rugby league and maybe you guys might learn a few things.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:29 AM    (permalink
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How about a segment showing the best form tackles each week on E!SPN and the likes
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i mean, why wouldn't the broncos take cam newton? they can play him at quarterback WITH tebow!
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:21 AM    (permalink
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Players are increasingly trying to force turnovers rather than simply stop the ball carrier. So they go for the big punishing hit instead of trying to wrap up.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:24 AM    (permalink
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This would be an easy fix.
Stop lowering the shoulder for a big hit and wrap up.
Some players are just pussies and avoid hits in general. That can't change. But you can teach a player to wrap up, because a shoulder to shoulder hit on a big RB or TE even WR these days doesn't always bring them down.
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