NFL insider Peter King of NBC Sports believes the league will “take aggressive action to eliminate hip tackles” in the upcoming offseason after Mark Andrews, who suffered left fibula and ankle injuries last Thursday night, was cautious late in the game .
“I watched the video put out by the National Rugby League who did it he banned the attacking technique in his league” King explained in his latest “Football Morning in America” column. “The NFL has been working with the National Rugby League to identify and try to find out how common this technique is and whether it can be eliminated. The NRL has identified three parts to tackling – grab the ball handle, turn the ball handle and land with your body weight on your leg or ankle. To qualify as a hip-drop, everyone must be present. The NFL does not believe this is a common technique.”
It was reported last winter that the NFL would have a “very active offseason conversation” after Dallas Cowboys kicker Tony Pollard and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes suffered lower-body injuries on tackles from the hip. Last Friday, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor defended linebacker Logan Wilson after Wilson knocked down Andrews with that technique during Thursday’s primetime game, which Baltimore won 34-20. Also on Friday Ian Rapoport of NFL Network suggested that the league may ban hip-drop tackles before next season.
“The NFL begins serious consideration of rule changes each February at the scouting meeting,” King continued. “This winter, take two defensive coordinators and two defensive players (including Wilson), as well as two offensive coaches and two offensive players, to competition committee meetings in India. Show video of hitting offenses. Talk about it. Have an informed debate about whether it is possible to exclude such tackles from the game.”
The NFL has a notable history of trying to protect offensive stars by enforcing penalties such as roughing the passer and horse collar tackles, and it appears that veteran reporters are essentially preparing defensive players for their on-field responsibilities to become more difficult starting next September . As for Andrews, Jamison Hensley of ESPN noted that Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said Monday that “there is an outside chance” the 28-year-old will play again this season.
Even if Andrews returns before Baltimore plays its final game of the current campaign, his failure will likely be used to justify the league banning the use of hip-drop tackles in the winter or spring.