Adam Schefter reports here:
And here’s Chris Mortensen:
The NFL will announce by Wednesday that, effective this weekend, even first-time offenders face suspension for "devastating hits" and "head shots," according to Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations.
Dunta Robinson’s hit on DeSean Jackson was the most public example of a "devastating hit" from last weekend, with a star player and another starter both twitching on the ground for several heavy moments, but more malicious violence and actual head-hunting happens every week. It should’ve been fixed already — and Robinson’s hit wasn’t an example of what needs fixing. The NFL has courted bad PR by waiting for public outrage to step-in-and-do-something (Hipster Runoff single quotes?). It would be absurd to use Robinson as the scapegoat here. Especially with James Harrison actually crowing about handing out concussions.
Robinson’s hit on Jackson was a nearly textbook hit with a very unfortunate result. He should’ve led with his facemask instead of his helmet, but that wouldn’t have prevented Jackson from being hurt. Robinson was attempting to dislodge the ball as Jackson caught it, turned, and was halfway into his second step. No, Jackson wasn’t defenseless. If that’s defenseless, then receivers need to be granted fair-catch zones within which no contact can be initiated by a defender.
Robinson’s point of impact wasn’t Jackson head or facemask. It’s clear he was trying to put a helmet on the ball, as each of his coaches from middle school on up has instructed him.
And if Robinson’s tackle can be considered a launch (the rule in question forbids "launching"), then nearly every NFL play should be showered in laundry. Nobody form tackles anymore, as any elderly bro on a porch will remind you for an hour if you’d like. The referees simply saw something horrible happen and felt compelled to do something about it, as is the nature of any decent authority figure. The penalty wasn’t warranted, but it’s understandable. A suspension, however? Nonsense.