By John Dewey
An issue that is trending in the NFL as preseason begins is the new way the league will enforce the rules about knee and thigh pads. Mandatory leg padding is back for the first time since 1994.
As the Associated Press reported last week:
“Once a team comes out for the game, if there is a violation, at a dead ball the inspectors will notify game officials. They will alert the coach that the player must be removed from the game until he is properly padded. That player will be inspected again before being allowed back in the game.”
Check out a recent Packer practice with this clip from Packers.com.
After you get slightly distracted by watching new rising broadcasting star Olivia Harlan, daughter of broadcasting great Kevin Harlan and granddaughter of former Packer president Bob Harlan, check the tape at about 47 seconds.
Jordy Nelson, who sat out Saturday’s scrimmage with knee soreness, is running around bare-kneed and appears to be sans thigh pads. There are other players running around appearing in the same manner.
Two things could be going on here.
One, the players may have slim knee pads on, but the uniform pants are not designed well enough to keep the pad over the knee. This begs the question, will the NFL allow that? The league had a year to prepare for the new rules. You’d think they had enough time to design a uniform to fit the new rules.
If the knee pads don’t stay over the knee, they may be a useless hindrance.
Another possibility in this video clip is that the Packers were running a non-contact drill. They have helmets on. They have shoulder pads on. Why not knee and thigh pads? If the skill players need to prepare for new rules, and get used to new equipment, doesn’t it make sense for them to get their timing down wearing the same uniform they will be wearing in games?
Maybe the Packers coaches will address these burning questions in the near future. Or maybe my new favorite football reporter will look into this matter for me.
By the way, you can follow Olivia Harlan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Olivia_