Had a pleasant chat with Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson today, and like everyone he's got a take on the NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits.
"I applaud the NFL for what they've done on the concussion front, trying to be more consciously aware of what's going on, how the players feel and the long-term effect on the players," said Woodson, who was in town to be honored at Snider High School, his alma mater, as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance "Hometown Hall of Famer" program. "With that being said, I think it's tougher for the players to play because the game is a fast-paced game, and it's a bang-bang game.
"A guy catches it, and he gets hit. Now you have to think a lot more how am I gonna hit him, where am I gonna hit him. That's why you see so many more penalties, especially on the defensive side.'
It's also, perhaps, why you see such inflated offensive numbers these days.
"I think as a fan of the sport, we have to be very careful how we rate players anymore," Woodson pointed out. "I know the history about numbers and quarterbacks throwing. You had five quarterbacks throw for over 5,000 yards. and another, like, five threw for 4,700 and some. So you have to be very careful how you rate these guys anymore.
"I know they're good, but are they that good? The rules have changed the game. It's a quarterbacks' game, it's a receivers' game. With that being said, we have to be careful how we label greatness and how good a player he is comparable to the times."
On another front, Woodson said he enjoyed his time as a defensive backs coach for the Raiders, a gig that came to an end with the latest regime change in Oakland.
"I was blessed with a lot of great coaches, a lot of great mentors in my life," he said. "And to go back to coach and be with them and to give back to those players on a day-to-day basis, I think it's wonderful.
"What you get to see, you get to see the green light click on on game day, and they do well, and you're happy for them. And I think that's one of the main reasons I went into coaching was to give back what was given to me."