Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fred Jackson: New crown rule ‘changes the game’


Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson makes his living between the tackles, usually driving through, not around, would-be tacklers. Now, he will likely have to adjust his approach, and he’s not happy about it.

The NFL voted in favor of the “crown rule” Wednesday, which bars ball carriers from using the crowns of their helmets as the point of open-field contact. (photo: Alan Kotok, Flickr)

Jackson was quick voice his distain for the amendment, saying the alteration will affect the dynamic of the game.

"It changes the game," Jackson told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. "You're going to second-guess yourself when you're in the open field. When you're one-on-one with a guy who's going to lower his shoulder into you, now you can't lower your head.

"If you lower your shoulder and make the wrong contact with him, you're going to get the penalty. It's just going to play in the back of your mind.”

Jackson is a physical back. According to Pro Football Focus, he forced the most missed tackles of any running back between 2009 and 2011, and he did so despite ranking only 14th overall in touches. In 2011 alone, Jackson averaged 3.75 yards after contact, way more than any other back in the league.

Jackson acknowledged that changing his ways probably won’t happen quickly, and he’s planning on keeping some extra dough handy just in case his old habits are hard to break.

"I'm just going to set aside some fine money because I know I'll probably get fined a couple of times," Jackson said. "It's hard for a person to change who they are when they're running the football. I like to consider myself a physical back."

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