A hitter's dilemma
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Three years ago Kam Chancellor's hit would have been heralded as the kind of play a safety is supposed to make.
He separated receiver from the ball.
This season, he'll probably hear from the league office for a second consecutive week after crunching Rams tight end Lance Kendricks over the middle in what officials determined was a helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver.
"The receiver is starting to go down to get the football," Carroll said, "and there's no way he [Chancellor] could have gotten underneath. There's no way. He had no chance."
Welcome to the difficulty of policing helmet-to-helmet hits in a game that is played at warp speed and reviewed in slow motion.
Over the past two days Carroll has clearly outlined the difficulty between translating the intent of the rule -- which is unambiguously good: preventing concussive blows -- to the reality of its application, which is much more problematic.
We've seen it specifically with Chancellor this season. In the season-opener in San Francisco, there was a penalty against the 49ers for a hit on Seahawks tight end Anthony McCoy -- a hit that looked to be at shoulder level and not McCoy's head. Later that game, Chancellor had a chance to light up 49ers receiver Josh Morgan on a throw that's referred to as a hole shot. Chancellor went low, Morgan made the catch.
In the past two weeks, Chancellor hit an opposing receiver who was in the process of making a catch. He hit them in the head. He suffered a concussion after hitting Baltimore's Anquan Boldin, and he was penalized on Sunday.
On Monday, Carroll took pains to point out the difficulty a player faces.
"It would be the wrong thing, though, to label guys as if they're trying to do this or they don't care about the rules or they're disregarding," Carroll said. "That's not what's going on. It's just a function of the game that sometimes guys are going head to head and hopefully nobody gets hurt and we can avoid it."
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Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call