Earlier Thursday morning, we wrote a quick post that illegal hits were forcing the league to create greater discipline for rules that have actually already been established -- the league isn't actually changing any rules. Rather than a few thousand, players, and possible coaches and entire franchises, will be fined greater numbers and run the risk of a suspension if they can't follow the rules.
During an interview on 790 The Zone in Atlanta, Carson Palmer was asked if anything needs to change regarding illegal hits in the NFL, saying that "the main thing is just abiding by the rules."
Carson goes on to support Roger Goodell in that " at the end of the day, the commissioner has rule over the league and he’s going to do what he thinks is best and what’s safest. All you can do is try to adjust. I think all you can do, as a player, is try to understand the rules and go out on the field and implement them or else you’re going to lose a lot of money"
And lose money players will. Palmer likens the change to how the league began protecting quarterbacks; something that he has intimate knowledge of.
“You don’t see as many quarterbacks with guys around their feet trying to roll them up and getting bent back in weird positions. Now, with what they’re doing for defenseless receivers, they’re just really trying to keep everybody safe, as safe as possible in a very violent sport and a violent game. It’s tough to do. It’s a tough balance to find that safety in a game where guys are running 4.3 and trying to absolutely hammer people every chance they get.”
Crocker hates the changes, but at the same time, he understands that he'll just have to adjust to them.
"There were some defenseless hits and there were some that were guys just playing football," safety Chris Crocker said. "You just can't control yourself sometimes, running at high speed and you can't slow yourself. It's unfortunate, that's how the NFL wants it and we have to change."
Chinedum Ndukwe was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cleveland's Ben Watson. Ndukwe appealed the fine and won after the league agreed Ndukwe's hit was legal. Like Crocker, he says that there's no choice but to play smarter. "At the end of the day," said Ndukwe, "you're trying to keep your job and the money in your pocket. Just try to lower the target area."
Most of the opinions around the league range from acceptance to complaining. The Bengals, for the most part, understand what the league is trying to do, even if they don't like it. Still, the most important thing now is to simply adjust.