Monday, June 11, 2012
Putting offseason non-contact rules to test
By Mike Sando
NFL teams holding mandatory minicamps this week should be on heightened alert after the Seattle Seahawks incurred punishment for violating non-contact rules.
The collective bargaining agreement prohibits "contact work" while singling out "live blocking, tackling, pass rushing" and the use of "bump-and-run" coverage tactics.
Less clear: how to prevent a competitive situation from crossing the line.
@QBCOCH4LYF passed along a link from the Seattle Seahawks' website, suggesting practice footage shown at the 50-second mark of this clip might have been what got the team in trouble. Coach Pete Carroll already indicated media reports were what led the league to investigate. The NFL declined to provide details.
Carroll also said he asked the NFL to look more closely at every team's practices. That would be impossible for any of us to do without access to the practice videos teams are required to maintain. @QBCOCH4LYF and I did visit every team's website for potential examples. Footage abounded from organized team activities. Most of it showed players functioning with no contact or minimal contact. Most appeared to be working at reduced tempos.
One clip from the Dallas Cowboys caught our attention (see the 1:08 mark) for the speed at which the team was practicing. The footage showed nothing out of the ordinary by traditional offseason standards, but players were sprinting to the ball. A couple went to the ground despite efforts to avoid contact.
How much contact is too much? How quick of a practice tempo is too quick?
Teams are accustomed to practicing a certain way. They might have been unsure, until recently, how closely the NFL and NFL Players Association might be watching.
And they certainly couldn't know how closely @QBCOCH4LYF would be watching.
All four NFC West teams hold minicamps beginning Tuesday.