Don't expect big changes on low blocks

February, 21, 2013
2/21/13
7:11
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- When Brian Cushing was lost for the season to a torn ACL in New York against the Jets in October, the low hit from behind by Matt Slauson that caused the injury was illegal.

It wasn’t flagged, but it was illegal.

[+] EnlargeBrian Cushing
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesA low block from behind against the New York Jets ended Brian Cushing's season.
It’s too easy to point to it as we discuss the competition committee’s conversation about the dangers of low blocks and the potential for the committee to recommend rule revisions.

It’s too tidy to say, the Texans (legally) cut block in creating space for Arian Foster and there is irony in Cushing falling victim to a low block being a central image in this.

It’s not. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

Still, any significant restriction of low blocks could hurt the Texans as much as any team in the league.

Texans general manager Rick Smith, who’s on the competition committee, and coach Gary Kubiak both discussed the potential for change regarding low blocks at the NFL scouting combine on Thursday.

“Obviously it’s a big part of what we do, I mean we cut offensively,” Kubiak said. “It’s part of the game, but I understand what the league is doing. There are some peel back situations where players are coming back toward their own goal line and cutting people, which I think we need to find a way to get cleaned up. I think the league took some steps to doing that outside the box if I am right and now they’re working on doing that inside the box. Anything they can do to make the game safer and protect players, I understand that.”

Said Smith: “That block [on Cushing] is already illegal. Where we’ve had conversation with effect to that is, in the box, it’s legal. The question that we’ve got to answer is, should it be? And I don’t think anybody thinks so, so that’s something that we’ve got to talk about and think about.”

That’s a relatively minor rule alteration and safety improvement that seems easy enough.

Let’s work together to slow the snowball that seems to be rolling regarding much more drastic measures.

Kubiak was asked for his reaction to the idea of something radical like a total ban on low blocks.

“Me? I think you know that answer,” Kubiak said. “It’s part of what we do. I think it’s part of football. We teach it the right way. Hopefully that part stays with us.”

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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