The reaction in the Eagles locker room to the NFL's new penalties for illegal hits was varied and insightful. Only a fraction of them fit into today's story.
Here, then, is a collection of additional comments from several Eagles players on how they view the NFL's new stand,the violence of the game and how they will, or won't, adjust. The most striking themes that emerge are that the players understand exactly what they have signed up for, and don't want to see changes to the game. Several said the hit on DeSean Jackson was a clean one.
Safety Quintin Mikell:
You’ve got guys that are just pretty much running scot free, you can’t really touch ‘em anymore.
It’s becoming harder as a defensive player to do your job effectively.
Obviously you don’t want anybody getting injured, you don’t want to injure yourself, but you can’t go out there thinking about hitting in certain areas. Sometimes those split-second things happen.
We’re not going to go out there think about 'should I hit here, should I hit there.' We’re just going to go out there and play.
On Dunta Robinson's hit on DeSean Jackson: Personally, it’s close. Me as a defensive player, I don’t see it as a helmet to helmet, it looked like a clean hit to me.
There’s some helmet-to-helmet (hits) that are malicious and some that aren’t. There’s some regular hits that are malicious.
Linebacker Ernie Sims:
On Robinson's hit on Jackson: He had his head down, his head hit his shoulder – I feel like it was a big hit, but it was a clean hit.
On the new penalties for illegal hits:
As a defensive player, I think it’s crazy.
$75,000, $50,000, that’s a lot of money to take away from somebody. I don’t care how much money you make, that’s a lot of money and I think it’s outrageous.
As a defensive player the name of the game is to tackle ... you get him on the ground any way you can.
When the bullets are live, you want to stay sound to your fundamentals and techniques, but at the end of the day you’re going to do what you have to do to get that person on the ground.
I believe it’s going to change the game, it’s going to turn it into a little 7-on-7, and that’s how I feel. Hopefully I’m not around for that.
Linebacker Omar Gaither:
The amount (of the fine) is just remarkable.
You get into suspending guys for playing hard, and they won’t play as hard – that’s just the bottom line
It may result in more missed tackles, running backs may get more yards after contact now, but you just have to adapt.
There will be a change if guys get fined $75,000 for head to head contact.
Safety Kurt Coleman:
The first second that you become a timid player, or afraid to hit somebody for reasons of fine or suspension, that’s when you’re game play will stop and you’ll start missing tackles.
Cornerback Ellis Hobbs:
This is an offensive-minded league. Scores, points, catches, put people in the seats. The violent nature of the game helps it, and brings it on and people want to see that, but at the end of the day you can’t score points if everybody’s on the sideline with concussions and things like that.
I don’t think we’re changing any time soon.
Your blind sides, your devastating blows, you get your 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from that and that’s what people want to see. They don’t want to go through it themselves, by any means, they want to see it … that’s why we earn the stripes we do out there, that’s why we earn the money we get.
You want to go out there and intimidate and hurt your opponent, mentally and physically, but you never want to damage or injure someone permanently, because it’s not good for the sport. To hurt and intimidate, you definitely want to do that.
Wide receiver Jason Avant:
You’ve been taught to shoot your hips since you’ve been in pads … launching, that’s what we learned how to do.
You don’t try to hit a guy in the head, but you're coming from your hips and exploding up, and the guy (is) coming down, sometimes they miss the pad and hit the head.
This is a dangerous game. I thank Jesus Christ every time I get off that field. It’s one of those things that we know what we’re getting into when we sign.
Defensive Darryl Tapp:
You don’t want to be the guy that gets the penalty and hurts the team, but at the same time you’ve got to protect yourself and make a play.
At some point in time your helmet is going to hit the other person.
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin:
It’s a protection thing. Obviously when guys lunge and leave their feet and hit you head-to-head I think there should some type of thing about it. But football’s a physical sport at the same time, so I think that’s a very fine line, a thin line
When you’re looking back for a pass, you're defenseless, but what are they supposed to do? Wait for you to catch the ball, turn around, and then tackle you?