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If a ball carrier is caught doing that, the consequence will be a 15-yard penalty.
Running backs — past and present — have voiced their displeasure about the new rule. Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte called the rule “absurd” on Sunday via Twitter. Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk also strongly opposed it.
“The proposed rule change for running backs might be the most absurd suggestion of a rule change I’ve ever heard of,” Forte tweeted. “In order to lower ur shoulder u obviously have to lower ur head. It’s a way of protecting ur self from a tackler and a way to break tackles.”
Former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs also took to Twitter to complain, writing: “How the f— can we protect ourselves. They ought to make a rule saying they cant hit us in our legs while we are ingaged with a defender.”
David Wilson was a guest of Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on WFAN on Thursday, and he added his two cents about the situation. As expected, he wasn’t too pleased.
“That’s ridiculous, cause even track runners, when they’re running, the first thing to cross the finish line is their head,” the Giants’ running back/kickoff returner told Joe & Evan. “And running backs, also, the first thing that gets there is our head. That’s kind of weird. I guess they expect us to lead with our chests now rather than our head.”
So what will last year’s first-round pick do in training camp to ensure that he doesn’t get hit with 15-yard penalties regularly?
The 21-year-old admitted that there’s only so much he can do, and that penalties will pretty much be inevitable.
“I don’t know, I guess I’ll get fined a couple of times and try to figure it out,” Wilson said with a chuckle. “I can’t really think of another way. Leading with the shoulder, I mean, that’s the first piece of contact. I think that’s the best way to get around the rule.”
With Ahmad Bradshaw having been cut earlier in the offseason, Wilson will likely be the starting running back for Big Blue in just his second year in the league. If that’s the case, he knows that he’s going to have to make the necessary adjustments to succeed and sufficiently replace Bradshaw on the ground.
“I’m not too fond of the rule, but the rules are the rules,” Wilson said. “So I guess you’ve gotta abide by them.”
The 5-foot-9, 205-pounder had a very solid rookie season for New York, playing in every game. He rushed the ball 71 times for 358 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 34 yards and a touchdown and returned 57 kickoffs for 1,533 yards and a touchdown.
Seems like all running backs — and football fans — are in agreement about this. How much will this new rule hurt the game? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…