The NFL’s increasing emphasis on eliminating helmet-to-helmet hits draws frequent criticism from defenders who are penalized and fined for such tackles, but it’s rare — maybe unheard of — for a wide receiver to share that sentiment.
Green Bay Packers wideout James Jones said in an NFL Network studio appearance this week that if he could be commissioner for a day the first thing he’d change is the rule designed to protect him and other pass catchers.
“I think the helmet-to-helmet rule, where defenders have to hit at a certain target, they have to eliminate that,” Jones said. “I’d rather get hit in the helmet than have a defender take my knees out when I jump in the air.”
Jones, the NFL leader in touchdown receptions last season, said limiting how defensive backs can hit hurts their ability to make receivers think twice before running routes across the middle.
“Nowadays, we run in there, like ‘OK, he can’t hit me in the helmet.'” Jones said.
Jones’ studiomates, including former Packers safety Darren Sharper, seemed a little surprised by his opinions, and asked if he really wanted less protection for receivers.
“I wouldn’t say less protection,” James said. “Because that’s what my helmet is for.”