After Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marquise Lee suffered a season-ending knee injury against Atlanta Saturday, outspoken Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey placed them the blame squarely on the NFL’s new helmet rule, rather than on Falcons safety Damontae Kazee, the player who made the hit.
“You can’t be mad at 27 (Kazee),” Ramsey said via Yahoo Sports. ““You have to be mad at the NFL; not mad at them but that is how the rule is. People are scared to tackle normal because I guess they don’t want to do helmet-to-helmet and get flagged. That was not even flagged and [you could] potentially get thrown out of the game. Game-changing stuff could happen. You don’t really want to blame anyone, but you feel bad for him. I don’t know, man, that’s just tough to see it happen to one of my teammates, period. But you can’t really blame 27.”
Kazee, who in fact was penalized on the play for lowering his helmet to initiate contact, showed his concern for Lee in a Twitter post after the game.
“Before I go out on the field I pray for both teams to stay healthy,” Kazee wrote. “I was just trying to make a football play. I will never try to hurt anyone, I just want to reach out you bro and tell you that you’ll be in my prayers everyday.”
The new rule has left defenders uncertain about what area to target when tackling a ball carrier, with many arguing that it restricts them to such a small area that they have no choice to tackle low, which could be just as dangerous as helmet-to-helmet contact. Many players are also concerned that if they are penalized, the league could end up fining them a small fortune.