Adjusting to the rules limiting contact will be a difficult challenge for all defensive backs this season -- especially after the first 5 yards off the line of scrimmage.
Officials are going to be watching closely.
“We grabbed cloth, they called it,” Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis told reporters, referring to the preseason opener at Chicago. “Everything they told us they were going to call, they called. We made the mistake, we put our hands on someone past 5 [yards], they called it. It's a matter of us adjusting.”
The Eagles still want their defensive backs to play a physical brand of football. That won’t change.
It’s simply a matter of adjusting.
“It's not going to change the way I play, it's not going to change the way [Bradley Fletcher] plays, or anybody in an Eagles uniform plays, for that matter,” cornerback Cary Williams told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We already discussed that in our meetings -- about being physical, being relentless. We're going to continue to apply pressure on those receivers as best as possible and try to disrupt timing between them and the quarterback. It's part of the game.”
Fletcher believes that the players must come to terms with the rules being tweaked.
“I've got to adjust the way I play so we can make plays and get off the field on third downs,” Fletcher told the Inquirer. “Just a quicker punch [within 5 yards], maybe don't lag it on there for too long.”