Today the NFL revealed the rule changes that will be implemented for the upcoming season. There’s nothing too drastic on this list:
The one change that sticks out is the total ban on chop blocks, which occur when a defender is blocked low while already engaged with another blocker up high. The tactic was already illegal in passing situations, but was still allowed on certain running plays, particularly ones involving a zone blocking scheme. It wasn’t uncommon to see a defensive end or tackle get chop-blocked while trying to pursue a zone run from the weak side.
The new rule could also make it harder for offensive lineman to double-team defensive tackles, as free-agent offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz is pointing out on Twitter:
There’s an obvious benefit to totally eliminating a block that inherently brings the risk of serious knee injury, and Schwartz isn’t exactly correct when he says that legal chop blocks aren’t as dangerous as illegal ones. Just ask Lions tackle Tyrunn Walker.
But Schwartz isn’t wrong to be upset about having a tried-and-true blocking tactic taken away from him, and it’s not hard to imagine other lineman griping about this, particularly if they aren’t able to effectively adjust their schemes once the season starts.