When rookie safety Matt Elam took out Randall Cobb low and broke his leg, things got heated. Aaron Rodgers went after defenders on the Baltimore Ravens defense, upset at the injury to his star receiver.
Cobb obviously wasn’t happy about it either, and he spoke about the hit today on Pro Football Talk.
“I think it was dirty…But I don’t think it was meant to be dirty. I think with the new rules in place he was doing the opposite and trying to protect himself from getting a fine and it just caused a low hit.”
That explanation gives Elam the benefit of the doubt, and rightfully so. Most safeties are probably just trying to make hard, legal hits in the new context that effectively bans them from hitting guys high. Unfortunately that adjustment caused serious leg injuries for multiple receivers in the NFL this year, including Cobb and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, who suffered a torn ACL against the Cleveland Browns in December.
Cobb then discussed the need for a “hitting zone,” insisting that players would be able to adjust accordingly. He might be right, but these kinds of transitions happen over a period of time. Right now we are smack in the middle of the process for this transition, and so there will be struggles along the way such as the leg injuries we saw this season.