Jacksonville Jaguars safety Barry Church has reservations about the NFL's new rule that prohibits lowering one's helmet to initiate contact.
The league approved the new rule on Tuesday, revising the previous one that had covered players using "the crown of the helmet."
The move, designed to lessen such dangerous helmet-to-helmet contact, has unspecified language allowing for ejection, and the competition committee is expected to work out a more detailed explanation at the league's meetings in May. Some previous language was removed from the rule, requiring the action be taken "violently or unnecessarily."
Church contends that the new rule will result in a rash of penalties -- as in, one on nearly every play.
"I don't understand it because, as a defender, when you're going in for a tackle, your first instinct -- you got to lower yourself to get your pads even with the player's pads," Church said on 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas, via the Dallas Morning News.
"So you're telling me if you're a defender that needs to lower your pads to get more leverage on a player, and the running back goes low to protect himself, and you guys hit each other, hit him with the helmet or whatever -- are they just going to throw a flag basically every single play?"
Church didn't stop there, noting the likelihood for penalty flags to be tossed on running plays between the tackles.
"I mean, it happens in the trenches every single play," Church said. "The running back comes through the hole, he lowers his head, lowers his body, and so does the defender trying to get leverage on him. It's basically throwing a flag every play, you can if you want to. It's kind of like holds. It's tough. That's tough on defenders."
The 30-year-old Church recorded 74 tackles, four interceptions and 1.5 sacks in 16 games last season with the Jaguars. He spent his previous seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.