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Eagles safety not a big fan of NFL’s decision to remove hip-drop tackle

Eagles safety not a big fan of NFL’s decision to remove hip-drop tackle originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

One of the biggest bits of news to come out of the NFL’s annual meetings last week was the decision to outlaw the swivel hip-drop tackle from the game.

Eagles safety Reed Blankenship, who recently signed a one-year extension through the 2025 season, was asked about the new NFL rule on Tuesday. And the Eagles’ leading tackler from the 2023 season is not a fan.

“I’m not gonna change the way I tackle,” Blankenship said. “It’s just one of those things, it just happens. I don’t know, personally, I don’t know what they kinda want us to do in this situation. At some point you’re going to have to bring the guy down eventually so you just kind of do whatever you can. It’s not (that) we’re doing it on purpose, we’re not meaning to injure anybody.

“But you want to play the game to the how it was made. You know you want to be physical and violent and, like I said, you got to bring them down any way possible and sometimes it takes things like that, but it’s going to be tough. I feel like there’s going to be a lot more flags thrown and fines given out than there should. That’s just my personal opinion. But I get it, they’re trying to make the game more safe, but it’s kind of hard when it’s a violent sport to begin with.”

The NFL classifies the new outlawed tackle as “when a defender wraps up a ball carrier and rotates or swivels his hips, unweighting himself and dropping onto the ball carrier’s legs during the tackle.”

The league says it analyzed over 20,000 tackles over the past two seasons and claims this type of tackle caused lower extremity injuries at a rate 20 times higher than other tackles.

The unanimous decision from NFL teams to enact the rule put forth by the competition committee was reached despite outward opposition from the NFL Players Association.

Blankenship is clearly not the only Eagles defensive player who is not a fan of this rule. It’s just that Blankenship is one who had a press conference on Tuesday after his one-year extension. Some others have voiced their frustration on social media:

Under the new rule, a hip-drop tackle will result in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down.

Blankenship, 25, this week signed a one-year extension through the 2025 season. The former UDFA from Middle Tennessee State was set to become a restricted free agent after this upcoming season, so this extension avoids that. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after 2025. Blankenship became a full-time starter in his second NFL season in 2023 and started 15 of 17 games, leading the Eagles in tackles (113) and interceptions (3).

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