Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fourth & Forever: Faking Injuries to Slow Down Offenses

 Fourth & Forever: Faking Injuries to Slow Down Offenses

Earlier this week, former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher admitted, the Bears faked injuries to slow down offenses. Its not hard to see that some players do take dives to stop the clock, or to help their team catch a breather. This happens all the time and no one who isn't attending to the injured player really doesn't know if the player is actually hurt. Urlacher, who is now an analyst for Fox Sports 1 brought up the topic this week and had no problem throwing his former team under the bus. For someone to break silence and trash solidarity with the team they formerly played for is unheard of. It may seem like the eight time pro-bowler is still a little bitter at his former ball club, who have moved on without the inside linebacker. The Bears offered Urlacher a $2 million salary this past offseason. Urlacher took it as a slap in the face. Telling Urlacher to, "take this offer or leave it." So Urlacher left it and both sides ultimately went their separate ways. When a player is drafted and plays their whole career for one team and in the end, feels like the team didn't appreciate them, is when negative emotions come out. We've seen this all offseason with former Packers receiver Greg Jennings talking bad about his former club, but nothing about breaking a code of silence.

I remember when the New York Giants beat the St. Louis Rams two years ago 28-16, that was televised on ESPN. Yeah it made my stomach hurt to watch the Rams play, but what made me feel sick to my stomach, was how the Giants beat the Rams. The Rams were driving down the field on the Giants defense and was inside the 10. The Rams were in a no-huddle offense and were getting ready to hike the ball, when the Giants weren't sure what they wanted to do. They wanted to put in their-goal line defense and had two players fall down to the ground to slow down the offense. They received a free time-out by having two people fake an injury. Literally, both defensive back Deon Grant and linebacker Jacquian Williams fell to the ground at the same time. Check it out in this YouTube link In the end the Rams settled for a field-goal, after the faking of the injuries allowed the Giants to use a free timeout to get certain people in the game. The Giants weren't fooling anyone, because the commentators kept showing the replay over and over. If you watched that game, you can see Rams quarterback Sam Bradford display his frustration in what was going on. I mean everyone knew.

That was the first time, I've actually seen something like that. I'm sure it happens a lot, but the Giants were one of the few teams to get caught. If a team runs a, "No huddle offense" or a, "Hurry-up," offense," that takes advantages of defenses who are winded, or for defensive coordinators who need to get the right personnel on the field. Its the reason why its starting to become popular in the NFL. Its all about exploiting the defense to score easier points. It reminds me of my last blog, when I discussed Philadelphia Eagles  head coach Chip Kelly's offense, in how they ran over 80 plays and lost the time of possession to the New England Patriots in the first preseason game. This is a developing trend in the NFL. When the Rams run the "Hurry-up," and  it are successful in going the length of the field, then you know its a new day and age. If you look at the San Francisco 49ers defense. They barely switch people in and out of the lineup. There personnel is an every-down team. The same linemen and the same linebackers, play every down. Not to many teams can do that, so faking injuries is a way to get the right people in as well as fresh legs, without having to use a timeout.

This is ruining the league. I rank this just as bad as the replacement referees. Its messing up the game. When the recent Hall of Fame inductee and ESPN commentator Chris Carter was raving about the replacement refs and how the NFL wants to protect their shield. He should add this to the list about protecting the shield. The NFL has sent out memos to teams about faking injuries, which include penalties and more severe penalties for players after the game. For me, that's not good enough. Teams and players who are caught faking injuries should know what their punishment is going to be, going into the game. Not just a warning or threat. When people flopped in the NBA, the league fined them and told them they would be fined more if they did it again. The NFL needs to set the bar higher.  The NFL needs to come out and say what would happen and not something they come up with the night before. If its an important game, someone might fake an injury, lets say in a playoff game and the team goes all the way because of it. You're telling me other teammates won't help pay the fine? There Super Bowl champs, people would help pay for it. People paid for George Zimmerman's attorneys, fans will pay for league fines. They need to discipline cheaters with yearly suspensions. HGH to the fourth power. Suspend them for a year and than see how quickly they wish to hold their ankle and then come back in two plays later. SET THE BAR! Four game suspensions for abusing the substance abuse policy is nothing. It should be eight. MLB is 50 games for a first time abuser. SET THE BAR! What's a fine these days? People lineup to pay for it.

I respect Brian Urlacher for coming out and breaking a teams code, especially if it has something to do with cheating. If a coach has signals that they give to players to cheat, I put them in the same category as former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. That's how I see a coach who dignifies cheating, regarding how big or small it is. A sin is a sin, regardless of how big or small. They should be suspended for a year, than a petty slap on the hand fine. They're cheaters who are interfering with the outcome of the game. Until the league actually sets the bar, someone is going to test that rule. Whether the refs catch it or the league, the bar needs to be set. Urlacher probably didn't agree with what was going on around him, but if you play for that team, you can't say anything. What goes on in the locker room, stays in the locker room. That's why its called a code of silence. That's why the whole Saints defense didn't get suspended because they all didn't want to participate in bounty hunts. Same with faking injuries. I'm glad to see someone finally came out and admit that they were apart of it. Memo to the NFL...SET THE BAR!

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