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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Tackling an epidemic

    From: sportingnews.com

    [size=18px]Tackling an epidemic[/size]

    Posted: June 1, 2006

    There is nothing as disgusting on a football field as nonchalant tackling. If football games were cups of soup, sloppy tackle attempts would be hairs. And sometimes there are enough to braid.

    We've all seen the quivering cornerback. The linebacker who tackles as if his hands were stuck in his pockets. The head-down safety who flies past his target.

    And we've cringed at the results of their handiwork: big plays, touchdowns and defeats.

    More and more players are coming out of college with poor tackling skills. Part of the problem is college coaches have been restricted to 20 hours per week of practices and meetings with their players, so they don't have time to teach proper technique. Another issue is tackling isn't as important in college because of all the wide-open offenses. Defense in college has become more about trying to chase down butterflies than about trying to stonewall rhinos.

    Scouts were concerned about the tackling of a number of highly regarded defenders in this year's draft, including Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway, taken by the Vikings in the first round; Virginia Tech cornerback Jimmy Williams, (Falcons, second round); Nebraska safety Daniel Bullocks, (Lions, second round); and USC safety Darnell Bing, (Raiders, fourth round).

    The good news: There is hope for these and other players with tackling issues. As long as the player has it in his heart to commit the unnatural act of colliding with a large, fast, moving man, his tackling can be improved. One general manager's litmus test -- or at least part of it -- is whether the tackler is willing to go high against a running back.

    "You can make him a tackler if he wants to tackle," Dolphins coach Nick Saban says. "First, you have to have a certain element of toughness; you're willing to do it, you want to be a good tackler. Most guys who aren't good tacklers, it's not a physical characteristic that's limiting their ability to be a good tackler. It's more of a mental, emotional or competitive characteristic that they really don't want to stick their nose in there like they need to.

    "There are guys who have limitations physically that affect their ability to break down or change directions. They might never be as good a tackler regardless of how you coach them. But I do think you can become a better tackler through good technique if you want to."

    The case study is Derrick Johnson. The former Texas linebacker was the Sporting News college defensive player of the year in 2004 and also won the Butkus and Nagurski awards, yet he fell to the 15th spot in the first round because he had missed so many open-field tackles. The Chiefs drafted Johnson, and coordinator Gunther Cunningham brought him back to square one as a tackler.

    The Chiefs tackle almost every day during training camp. This time of year, they have defenders using sleds to learn to sink their hips. They use mirror drills for tacklers. They stress keeping eyes and hips up so tacklers are in position to explode into ballcarriers. They do half-line passing drills, which call for defenders to fill lanes with precise execution. They emphasize lower-body strength, which helps tacklers drive through ballcarriers.

    When the Chiefs hired Don Blackmon as linebackers coach this offseason, Blackmon was shocked at how much progress Johnson had made as a tackler since Blackmon had studied him at Texas. "He pulls the trigger when he has to now, whereas before he really didn't see the target before he pulled the trigger," Cunningham says. "He overreacted to the play, which caused him to be in bad position and play with bad angles. But he's learned to adjust his angles, see the game better. He's able to control his body better. He's learned to bend his knees better."

    A good coach can improve a defender's tackling from the ground up. "A lot of it is footwork," Patriots coach Bill Belichick says. "If you don't get your feet positioned, you're never going to be a good tackler, no matter how tough you are and all that."

    A tackler also has to use what's inside his helmet. Tackling is about discipline and anticipation as much as it is about chest pounding and brute force. Of course, some players might be a little too smart to be good tacklers.

    "Some guys just like to tackle, some don't," Steelers coach Bill Cowher says. "Some guys will tackle when they have to. Other guys enjoy it. There's a difference you can tell in a player's mentality."

    Tackling an epidemic

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
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    Re: Tackling an epidemic

    YOUR TURN SPEAK OUT ON THIS ARTICLE

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    Stupid article
    Posted by steelcrazy2 on Thu Jun 01, 2006 04:49 pm

    There has got to be something in the NFL to report on other than tackling..... And to add more stupidity to this article, you use the Chiefs like they rule the tackling world. They must have been burned out on tackling when they played the Giants, since they start tackle practice so early. Tiki Barber was appreciative i'm sure.

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    I agree...that this article was stupid
    Posted by Chimpson on Thu Jun 01, 2006 05:25 pm

    I like Pompei's articles, but the Chiefs are not a good tackling team, they are not horrible, but defintely not the pinnacle of tackling. WHen I think of good tackling teams, I think of the Bucs, the Pats, Jax, and my SKins....those are some good tackling teams. Note to Pompei: write about this subject if it comes up in the season...why are you writing about this ridiculous topic while training camp hasn't even started?

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    Litmus Test
    Posted by aaronx13 on Thu Jun 01, 2006 05:52 pm

    I wondered why someone would take a player from a poor tackling team and write an article on them. I'll keep my eye on Mr Johnson this season. If I see marked improvement on the defensive side of the ball, I'll give you your props for this article. But, if KC goes back to their usual selves, you'll hear from me in the future.

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    Tackle.
    Posted by bluvuegray on Thu Jun 01, 2006 06:02 pm

    If the Chiefs tackle every day in training camp then camp must only be two to three days long cause they sure didn't tackle any body last year, especially against the Giants with a playoff spot on the line. I agree, what's next from Pompei, how many cups of Gatorade do teams use a day at camp?

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    Posted by Caddell on Thu Jun 01, 2006 06:42 pm

    ?

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    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Tackling an epidemic

    I got to agree with this article. I have cussed out teams, and especially the Vikings when they try to block a guy down or out-of-bounds instead of tackling him. I have seen so many running backs break these kind of tackles in my lifetime it's scary.
    The writer of the article is right in the sense that they don't teach fundementals much in college anymore.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

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    Re: Tackling an epidemic

    I reallyed used to get pissed when Dewayne Rudd attempted his clothsline tackles or the infamous D-backs that always try to throw a shoulder into players to bring them down but it never works and they just bounce off.
    "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn t work hard."

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    Re: Tackling an epidemic

    "COJOMAY" wrote:
    I got to agree with this article. I have cussed out teams, and especially the Vikings when they try to block a guy down or out-of-bounds instead of tackling him. I have seen so many running backs break these kind of tackles in my lifetime it's scary.
    The writer of the article is right in the sense that they don't teach fundementals much in college anymore.
    Couldn't agree with you more Cojo.

    I mentioned the same thing in another thread about a week ago & have more than once last season.

    With so many of Childress' coaches coming from college ranks, I fear they won't teach those fundementals at the pro level either.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Tackling an epidemic

    The sad thing is, they shouldn't have to teach them at the pro level -- only refine them. I think the problem begins way back in the "Pop Warner" League where some coaches think it's kind "cool" to try and block a man down because that's what they see the pros doing. And it's a long succession of never learning the right fundementals and the kids trying to emulate what they see the pros do.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

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  7. #7
    HEY's Avatar
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    The tackling problem of today's NFL

    In today's NFL, a defender may make contact with an offensive player any way he sees fit, just as long as he doesn't commit any of the following acts that have been criminalized over the years:

    1920: Piling on
    1920: Roughing the kicker
    1962: Grasping the face mask
    1976: Striking, kicking or kneeing a player
    1977: Contacting an opponent above the shoulders with palm of hand
    1978: "Bumping" or "chucking" a player beyond five yards downfield
    1978: Taunting
    1979: Using helmet tobutt, spear or ram opponent
    1980: Striking, swinging or clubbing the opponent's head, neck or face
    1982: Hitting a receiver deemed defenseless
    2005: Horse-collaring an opponent
    2006: Hitting a QB below the knees
    1996: in the head, or
    1979: in the grasp

    And if a defender does somehow manage to make a legal tackle despite the endless restrictions

    2004: No celebrating too flamboyantly
    ... And don't forget:
    2013: A ball-carrier are no longer allowed to lower his head inside the tackling box

    A NFL referee's job ain't easy!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEY View Post
    The tackling problem of today's NFL


    ... And don't forget:
    2013: A ball-carrier are no longer allowed to lower his head inside the tackling box

    A NFL referee's job ain't easy!
    Keep the flags a flying.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tastywaves View Post
    Keep the flags a flying.
    Not that anyone cares but there is a difference between lowering your head and droping your shoulders. RB can still lover the shoulder. They simply cannot lead with the crown of their helmets.

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    It's impossible to really lower your shoulders without lowering your head and at the same time remain in balance without falling to the ground. A major part of tackling or preventing a tackle is to get lower than the opposite player. The new rule conflicts with that theory.

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