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John Harbaugh praises NFL for banning the hip-drop tackle; players have mixed reactions

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By: Joshua Reed

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Ravens head coach believes that it was “the right thing to do.”

On Monday at the NFL Annual League Meeting, the decision to ban the infamous and controversial hip-drop tackle was voted on and unanimously approved by the owners.

Last season, the Baltimore Ravens were one of several teams who were negatively impacted by the use of the adapted technique used by defenders who try to avoid being penalized for aiming too high or too low when attempting to bring down ball carriers and pass catchers.

In Week 11, three-time Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews suffered a fractured fibula after being taken down to the ground in the first quarter by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Luke Wilson.

The injury required surgery and knocked Andrews out of commission until the AFC Championship game. Andrews was just the latest in a growing list of players both prominent and pedestrian who fell victim to the dangerous tackling technique.

The possibility of banning the hip-drop tackle was a controversial topic during the season and count Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh among the contingent who agree with the owners’ ruling and applauded league officials for making it a priority this offseason.

“I think taking the hip drop out of the game is the right thing to do,” Harbaugh said. “I think [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell and [NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Troy [Vincent] are on the right path with that. The competition committee is on the right path with that.”

According to the NFL Rulebook per Article 18, the hip-drop tackle is defined as using the following technique to bring an opposing player to the ground:

(a) grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms;

(b) and unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner’s leg(s) at or below the knee.

Any further use of this technique moving forward to being down another player will result in a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down of the opposing team.

While Harbaugh was in favor of this ruling, several former and current players sounded off on social media in protest. They believe it will further complicate the job of defensive players and will make their responsibility of preventing offenses from scoring and gaining positive yards more difficult than it already has become.

Ravens fullback and four-time Pro Bowler who came into the league as a rare two-way player as a converted defensive lineman is grateful he plays exclusively on offense after the most recent change.

Former Ravens running back and current veteran free agent Kenyan Drake lands on the other side of the argument in agreement with Harbaugh and cited how he was personally impacted by the hip drop tackle during his career.

Ravens three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey has more questions than opinions one way or the other and believes that preseason will serve as an intriguing case study to ascertain what to expect once the regular season gets underway.

Baltimore Beatdown’s own Zach Canter believes a look at the past could be a solution to future problems. If defenders adopt the same form and technique that Ravens legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis used during his 17-year career in which he carried his momentum through ball carries and either aim for the midsection or wrap up and gator rolled the legs of offensive players

Originally posted on Baltimore Beatdown – All Posts