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NFL's new safety rules don't alleviate Jack Del Rio's pet peave

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During the recent NFL owners meetings there were several new rules passed. These are those five rule changes as laid out by Pro Football Talk:

1. Bans defensive players from pushing teammates at the line of scrimmage when the offense is in punt formation. (This rule already exists for situations when the offense is in field goal or extra point formation.)

2. Prohibits all offensive players from engaging in peel back blocks.

3. Gives receivers defenseless player protection when a pass is intercepted.

4. Makes it illegal for a running back to chop a defensive player engaged above the waist by another offensive player outside the tackle box.

5. Allows an injury spotter to stop the game if a player appears to have suffered a brain injury.

The discussion of late with regard to the NFL is that of concussions. And over the years, the helmets players wear has been increasingly space age like in appearance compared to the old, simple bulbous football helmet.

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio pointed out at the league owners meetings that he sees a problem with the new helmets that he feels must be addressed; they comes off too often. He also says that in all his years in football, he had just one concussion using the old helmets.

"I think I had one (concussion) in college," said Del Rio. "I never had any in the NFL. Of course my helmet never popped off either. These guys wear these helmets now days. I've never seen... I mean I played four years of high school, four years of college, played 11 years in the league, practiced every day, not one time did my helmet ever come off. Ever. So, I don't understand why..."

With all the technological advancements in helmet design and the annual rule changes to give more attention to the dangers of concussions, Del Rio sees the issues of helmets coming off as another problem that has arisen from it all. And perhaps the league could go a bit farther in assuring the players wear their helmets more securely.

"They wear them for comfort," Del Rio added. "They put them on like they're hats. I used to have to pry it over my ears. And I'd put a little Vaseline to make sure it'd go over. The whole mechanics around the job was better. We've made a lot of efforts but I think the improvements for the helmets, in my opinion, have gone to comfort and not necessarily safety. That's my pet peave. These things when they pop off, I'm like ‘how do you have a helmet that pops off? You've got this violent game where guys are coming in and man I always wanted to make sure that my head had a shell around it. I didn't ever want to be vulnerable and have my helmet off in a pile. That could be bad. So, that's the one thing I would add to that discussion if you want to talk about safety issues. Let's see if we can stop the helmets from popping off."

"I know we'll work hard in Oakland to make sure our guys have helmets that fit and stay on their head. It's amazing, it's amazing, it really is."

Currently the NFL has rules in place that penalizes players for removing their helmet voluntarily. There is also a rule in place that immediately stops play when a player's helmet comes off.

From the sounds of it, Del Rio will be instituting a few of his own team rules that focus on players' helmets remaining securely fastened on the field during games and in practice.