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Special teams and the ban on wedge formations

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by jmt57, Aug 4, 2009.

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  1. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Patriots wonder about impact of ban on wedge formations by Shalise Manza Young for The Providence Journal

    continue reading ...

    Further in the article, Scott O'Brien, Le Kevin Smith, and Bill Belichick discuss the possible impact of the rule change. Apparently NFL referees will be in training camp Wednesday through Friday and though it is possible they may have some more information, we'll probably have to wait for some preseason games to see how much of a change there will be. Smith and O'Brien think there will be less offensive linemen on the field on kickoffs and punts, and they will be replaced by faster players such as tight ends. If that is the case then that increases the likelihood of the Pats going with four tight ends on the roster this year.
     
  2. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The best part of this article in the info on Bill O'Connell.. another person of the fabled tree... if this guy is as advertised, our ST's may improve.
     
  3. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    One of the great mysteries of the 2009 season and hardly anybody bothers to read the thread - Good catch jmt and well done SMY!
     
  4. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    THe LB's are more of a factor also along with the TE's.
     
  5. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, excellent article, Shalize. Teams definitely need to know when a wedge is not a "wedge". Has Bill Polian explained how it will work yet? :rolleyes:
     
  6. PatsWickedPissah

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    Great article, SMY! Poses an interesting and cogent football question and proceeds to address it in detail without fluff.

    What concerns me is this.."I think there's some interpretation there that's not totally clear to me," Belichick said. "I'm not sure if it's totally clear to anybody." Situations where subjective imprecise full speed interpretations need to be made to enforce a rule are ripe for disaster. That's why I hate offensive holding and PI. Big opportunities for game changers that shouldn't be so.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  7. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

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    There will be much more emphasis on cross-blocks and the wall on kickoffs without the wedge, and I would all expect to see a ****ton more reverses, reverse-fakes and "bursts" (three players receive the ball then split in multiple directions) to keep the faster coverage units from running the returner down and corralling him.
     
  8. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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  9. PatsWickedPissah

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    And we all know how well that worked out when BB tested the boundaries of Commisar Clouseau's new photography rule :eek::eek::eek:
     
  10. Deus Irae

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    Wedgegate: coming soon
     
  11. PatsWickedPissah

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    All kidding aside, I think it's good management to use pre-season to explore the boundaries of new rule enforcement. The only flaw is that subjective assessments by refs are by human nature doomed to be inconsistent.
     
  12. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    If they're all healthy, I would be very surprised if 4 TEs were not kept.

    Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention on KOs, but I don't seem to recall seeing many injuries because of wedge-blocking. I do recall, however, seeing injuries because of blocking in the back, clipping, chop-blocking & blocking aimed at the knees. Perhaps the busy-body Competition Committee should put a greater emphasis on enforcing those restrictions already in place, instead of on creating yet another restriction subject to misinterpretation.
     
  13. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    They should be, so why don't we have more LBs in TC? And not just ST "mavens"(snicker) like Alexander & Ciurciu, but those who can still play LB.
     
  14. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A little bit more on the new rules and officiating by Andy Vogt of the MetroWest Daily News:

    Referee Terry McAulay and other NFL officials were present not only to officiate the session, but also to review new rule changes and "points of emphasis" for the NFL season.

    The most interesting of those to New England fans is the emphasis on avoiding hits below the knee after a defender lunges to make the tackle. That, had it been enforced on the Chiefs' Bernard Pollard on Brady's season-ending injury, would have incurred a 15-yard penalty.

    "Even though there's contact with (Sammy Morris), he is lunging," McAulay said of Pollard's hit. "I think we could have said on that play that he would have made forceful contact at the knee, whether that other player was doing anything or not."

    Other rule changes geared toward improving player safety:

    *Kickoff teams are limited on how many players can be inside the hash marks, and return teams are no longer allowed to form a wedge involving more than two blockers.

    *Blindside blocks to a player's head or neck when the blocker is moving toward his own end zone are prohibited.

    *Adjustments have been made to eliminate hits to the head or neck of a defenseless receiver.

    McAulay said he is aware of the critiques from those who say rules like these soften the game, but he doesn't give them much credence.

    "I don't think as a general rule, players are upset when dangerous acts are taken out of the game," he said. "They may react for good copy, but I don't think some of these things you see, they'd want to happen to them.

    "You can deliver a punishing hit legally, and that's up to our players and coaches to practice that."

    As for their role in practice, Belichick said it was a good change of pace from the self-officiated sessions.

    "The officials see the game through their eyes, and it's really all that matters — it doesn't matter if I think it's a foul or not," he said. "It's a good opportunity for all of us, players and coaches, to see how we're doing in terms of playing by the rules and playing with the right techniques we need to play with to be legal."
     
  15. Funktopus

    Funktopus On the Game Day Roster

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    This rule change has some interesting consequences and questions (that have all been named here, I think, but I'll summarize my thoughts anyway):

    1) Officiating: How will the officials implement the rule consistently? Can they do this? Will this be another mess like PI or Holding?

    2) Tactics: What influence will the rule change have on an offense's approach to the kickoff (unoriginal mentioned this in his post in this thread)? Are there teams currently that don't implement a wedge on kickoff? And what do they do differently?

    3) Roster: Does this change the composition of the 53 man roster? What about the 45 game day? BB seems to weight "all three phases of the game" equally. Does it make it harder for Smith, Hochstein and Wright to make the team or to be active on game day? Do they keep relatively more TE,LB than in the past? Will they keep 5 RB and 4 TE? Is there a position that becomes less valuable?

    4) Objective: Will this rule really result in less injuries? Is it even measurable since they could include concussions where the evidence of injury isn't always imeadiately visible? Why does the NFL continue to tinker with the world's premier sports product?

    -F
     
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