….FOR NOT AGGRESSIVELY HITTING OR TACKLING ANYBODY!
It’s hard to believe (mainly because it’s not true), that the NFL would single out several players for consistently making business decisions and avoiding difficult tackles. But that’s exactly whats happening, according to several unreliable sources, and they may also go after the coaching staff (current and previous – watch out Wade) for cultivating a soft environment.
- Let me say, before continuing, that player safety is obviously paramount. Whether you think that the New Orleans Saints and their coaches deserved the punishment handed down by the Commish or not. I think examples were made to show that the NFL… Anyway, that’s for another article - lets get back to this one -
Apparently, the league started it’s investigation after watching Mike Jenkins purposefully whiff on tackling the New York Giant’s Derrick Ward in a game in 2008. The NFL hadn’t seen such obvious avoidance of physical contact since Deion Sanders roamed the gridiron. Since then, the NFL has mainly focused on Jenkins but have also collected a lot of information on the Dallas Cowboys seeming inability to bump at the line of scrimmage, wrap up through tackles and get 3 and outs consistently.
Interest began to wane, however, until that ‘terrible Green Bay game of 2010′. You remember, don’t you? The one where most of the Cowboys players gave up on Wade Phillips right before our shocked eyes, costing Wade his job and bringing complete shame to Cowboys Nation. At the forefront, there was Mike Jenkins again, avoiding an opportunity to tackle Packers wide receiver James Jones. Many fans – myself included – agreed with the opinion of former Atlanta Falcons coach and NFL analyst, Jim Mora, at the time when he said: “To me, this is high treason, an NFL football player does not turn down a play like that. And if I’m Jason Garrett, the first thing that I’m doing when I take over as the head coach of this team, is I’m getting guys like that — number 21, [Mike Jenkins]who absolutely committed treason, let his team down by passing up a tackle and let the ball get in the end zone — I’m taking him and I’m getting him out of my locker room.”
Unfortunately, no examples were made of the players. When Jason Garrett became the Dallas Cowboys Head Coach, he did not get Mike Jenkins out of the locker room. This caused the league to wonder if this non-tackling and soft hitting was actually being taught by the coaches!
(side note: DeMarcus Ware is exempt from this article, not because he hits hard, but because he tackles QBs and other players with purpose. I’ve never seen a player, in my opinion, who can tackle so thoroughly – wrapping his prey up and putting them on the ground softly. Quite impressive, really. The league should use D-Ware’s technique as an example of how to tackle in this new ‘player safety’ environment)
Last year, though, I think Jenkins knew the NFL was on to him. He started (painfully) trying to tackle. Jenkins is so uncomfortable tackling that he hurts himself every time he tries. Perhaps that’s why he didn’t like to tackle in the first place – He knew his shoulders couldn’t bare the load.
In this untrue story, I don’t mean to pick on Mike Jenkins. He is just the poster child (especially since Terrence Newman is gone) for a Dallas Cowboys team – a defense – that plays, with the exception of a few, very soft and with zero heart.
The Cowboys have tried to counter act that soft image and this fake NFL investigation by hiring Rob Ryan. After all, nothing says hard hitting, tackling, bounty type stuff like a Ryan! Ryan, unfortunately, inherited a soft, heartless defense. Changes are being made, but will new players bring tough minded heart with them? That may be the only way to get the NFL, and their imaginary investigation, off their back.
As long as Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett allow the Mike Jenkins’ and Alan Ball’s and Anthony Spencer’s to meander on the roster, the Cowboys leave themselves open to disappointment, not to mention possible fines and suspensions by the NFL for being a soft, non-tackling team.
I say… ‘let the hammer fall’.
Topics: Alan Ball, Bounty, Coach Wade Phillips Fired, Dallas, Dallas Cowboys, Defense, Deion Sanders, DeMarcus Ware, Derek Ward Mike Jenkins, Green Bay Packers, Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones, Jim Mora, Mike Jenkins, New York Giants, NFL, Roger Goodell