As the NFL works annually (and sometimes coherently) to try to make the game safer, many of the basics of football have to change.
And with an eye on the league’s new helmet rules, new Lions coach Matt Patricia has even come up with a new twist on the Oklahoma drill.
The old-school, close-quarters running drill used to be a staple of early training camp practices. But in Detroit, players lie on the ground, helmets facing each other, and on this whistle, spring to their feet to try to tag the ball-carrier. There was no live tackling during the drill, which traditionalists (i.e. old football men who yell at the sky) will likely scoff at.
“Really what it was, was trying to put everybody in a close proximity, kind of a one-step situation that was a little bit more than a set up where we could concentrate on keeping the head up, keeping the top of the helmet out of where the contact points should be, trying to make sure that the face mask, we’re seeing what we hit, and doing that in more of a reactionary sort of method as opposed to a staged method,” Patricia said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Because in the end, if we’re studying everything and we’re trying to take a look at, obviously, coaching the game properly like we’ve been doing for years, sometimes when it gets just that instant at the end, guys naturally may go to . . . a position you don’t want them in.