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John Harbaugh speaks out against the chop block ban

John Harbaugh


Defensive linemen around the NFL are pleased with the league’s new ban on chop blocks, but Ravens coach John Harbaugh says it’s a bad idea.

Harbaugh said after the NFL outlawed all chop blocks that it will affect some teams’ running games, and won’t necessarily make the game any safer.

“Teams have been running the stretch-zone scheme for years,” Harbaugh said. “Look at Denver. Look at Houston. It’s a great finesse run play.”

Harbaugh said the coaches were shown video of some of the blocks that were legal last year but will be illegal this year. In Harbaugh’s position, the rule could have been written in a way that would have banned dangerous hits to the knee without eliminating all chop blocks.

“Based on a few of the clips that they put in there by one team, that posting and cutting people’s knee, that could be cleaned up real simply by getting that team to stop doing that technique,” Harbaugh said.

In Harbaugh’s view, it will now be easier for defensive linemen to get away with holding, perhaps allowing defensive players to come in untouched and deliver harder hits on running backs.

“Defensive linemen don’t want it because they don’t want to have to worry about the cut block,” Harbaugh said. “They want to hold onto that center and pull themselves through, so two guys are free runners to go hit the back. That cut block on the back side protects the running back from getting smashed in the side of the head from backside pursuit. And it does not put the defensive linemen in any kind of danger, unless it is done as a post and a cut – which if you told that one team, ‘That’s out, you’re going to get called for that. Don’t do it anymore.’ – we wouldn’t have this conversation.”

It’s been a conversation for many years, but now the conversation is over: All chop blocks are officially illegal in the NFL.