The NFL's new rules against head-hunting has drawn the ire of many defensive players across the league. Today, two Lions with somewhat opposing views expressed their angle of the new rules, safety Louis Delmas and quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Delmas is known for his hard-hitting style, a style that's already gotten him in a bit of trouble in his first two NFL seasons. But even knowing that he could get suspended isn't going to change his style of play.
"It is what it is. It isn't going to stop me one bit. I'm going to do what I do. I'm going to go out there and try to hit a person as hard as I can."
"I can't keep that on my mind and go out there and think that I'm going to get a fine and suspended. I just have to go out there and play, and if that happens, it happens."
Delmas said he doesn't try to intentionally hurt anybody, but just tries to make a big play.
Last year, Delmas crushed Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley with a brutal open-field hit that cost him a $7,500 fine. Still, Delmas says the fines don't really affect his play.
"I don't think that affects me at all," he said of the NFL's scrutiny. "That's the way we are taught to hit. Not necessarily helmet-to-helmet, but we're taught get a guy on the ground. We're taught to put our face mask on a guy's chest, and they are taught to lower their shoulder, so there are chances you're going to get helmet-to-helmet."
Quarterback Matthew Stafford had a different take on the situation however, after seeing teammate Zack Follett carted off the field Sunday.
"You never like to see that," Stafford told FanHouse during an interview to promote AXE Hair products. "It's not fun to see guys in compromising positions like that. Zack obviously got pretty banged up on that play."
Stafford, who's been out with an AC joint separation since Week 1, understands the view of the defensive players, but still said that something needed to be done after seeing so many players hurt over the weekend.
"It's going to be a tight rope for the NFL to walk," he said. "But at the same time, there are so many guys getting (hurt in) head-to-head collisions out there. It shouldn't be part of the game, having to cart someone off the field in each game for a head injury. It's still going to be an extremely physical game. Hopefully, though, the rules will clean up the game a little."
The NFL announced that even first-time offenders would be subject to suspension after 10 players suffered head injuries last Sunday due to head-to-head collisions, including Follet. The NFL's executive vice president of football operations, Ray Anderson, hopes to send a message to players with the new rules:
"We can't and won't tolerate what we saw Sunday," Anderson said Monday. "We've got to get the message to players that these devastating hits and head shots will be met with a very necessary higher standard of accountability. We have to dispel the notion that you get one free pass in these egregious or flagrant shots."
The new NFL rules are on par with similar rules implemented last season by the NHL after that league suffered a head-hunting epidemic of its own. The violence of these two sports is part of the appeal that it has amongst fans, but there has to be a line drawn between being entertaining and being deadly.