Rams CB Aqib Talib: New helmet-to-helmet rule 'good for the game'

IRVINE, Calif. -- Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Talib said Thursday that the NFL's new helmet-to-helmet rule is "good for the game."

"They're just trying to keep the game safe," Talib said. "Trying to keep guys healthy."

NFL officials met with Rams players Wednesday evening to review this season's rule changes -- including the new helmet-to-helmet rule, which officials said emphasized player safety.

Under the new rule, players will be charged with a 15-yard penalty if they lower their helmet upon contact. The foul also can result in the player's ejection from the game.

"They're trying to have guys healthy when they retire," Talib said. "So it's good for the tackler, it's good for the offensive guy."

The rule has proved to be controversial among several players around the league, including Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger, who told ESPN that it was "eliminating football, the real football," and San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who told USA Today Sports that the rule was "ridiculous."

The first application of the rule came 4 minutes, 37 seconds into Thursday night's Hall of Fame game between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears that opened the NFL's preseason. Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor was flagged for his hit on Benny Cunningham, earning a 15-yard penalty that helped set up Chicago's first touchdown. Baltimore linebacker Kamalei Correa got nailed for the same violation in the third quarter of the Ravens' 17-16 win.

Talib, an 11th-year pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection, said the new rule would require some adjustments, but that players should come to expect changes every season.

"They put an emphasis on something every year, so we've just go to adjust," Talib said. "That's why we're pros. We adjust on the fly, we adapt to all kinds of situations."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.