Wednesday, August 15, 2007

BARNES HIT ON EAGLES PUNTER SHOULD HIT HIS WALLET TOO


Young players both drafted and undrafted are always looking to show up on film making plays. That’s how they capture the attention of coaches who have the power to direct a player’s career.

There’s a sense of desperation inherent in players on the bubble. They are fighting for their livelihoods.

Antwan Barnes (who by the way is hardly on the bubble) is a fourth round pick of the Ravens out of Florida International, a team that failed to win a game or a fight in 2006. Nevertheless Barnes is a supremely confident young talent and that was evident on Monday night when the Ravens hosted the Philadelphia Eagles.

Barnes had a sack, a couple of QB hurries and he was relevant supporting the run. But for some, those contributions will be overshadowed by the vicious and senseless hit on Eagles punter Sav Rocca seen here on YouTube.

Back in 2005 the league implemented a rule that penalized helmet-to-helmet contact to the kicker/punter at anytime during the kick or during the return. The rationale is pretty clear. Take out a team’s punter or kicker where there is little to no depth and the opponent is severely weakened. This penalty is intended to discourage the kind of hit that Barnes delivered on Monday.

The hit managed to escape the attention of the game officials. It did not escape the attention of the camera crews and that could and should cost Barnes. Clearly it was a direct violation of the rule and less severe hits have forced the NFL to dip into the pockets of players.

Let’s hope this serves as a lesson to Barnes and all of the Ravens’ players. A hit like that can often lead to retaliation. Imagine where the Ravens might be if the Eagles had decided to target Matt Stover to even the score. Could the Ravens reach their potential without Stover?

You already know that answer…

Hopefully Brian Billick grilled Barnes for the unnecessary hit and its potential collateral damage which almost certainly includes Barnes forking over some Benjamins to a league charity in the very near future.

And deservedly so…

14 comments :

Anonymous said...

Although it was a questionable hit I love his attitude. He knows he is making the team and still gives it his all on special teams.

I love the way all of these young LBs are playing. They are doing what it takes to be part of the leagues number 1 defense.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it was an illegal hit. When you are on the punt team and an opponent is going towards the ball carriier, your job is to block him. Supose the returner broker a tackle and the punter tackled him, then should he have been blocked?? If kickers don't want to get hit, they should not try to make tackles

John said...

Having been on the receiving end of a hit like the Eagles punter took, in a similar situation....which resulted in me having two broken ribs....I have to say that I agree with at the least a fine on Barnes for the helmet to helmet hit.

If you look at the video, he lead with his head, in what we old guys used to call "spearing". This was not only dangerous for the player who got hit in this case, but also very dangerous for Barnes. He could have sustained a serious neck or cervical spine injury using that technique.

Anonymous said...

I do hope that was a sarcastic blog posting Tony. I bet if Barnes would have let the guy go by him or lightly touched him there would have been an outcry that he is playing soft. Barnes is a rookie trying to make an impression. Wasn't he the guy who layed out McGahee early in camp? Everybody was talking about that and how great it was. Now it's against another team and it's wrong? By the way, this is no ordinary kicker. He's 6'4 and 265 and an Aussie football player. I'm sure he's been hit much harder without pads in his day. Rocca needs to learn American football and always pay attention to the play and who is around him. Barnes is the next "Hot Sauce" player!!!!

Anonymous said...

This was not an illegal hit. He threw his shoulder first - into a potential tackler. If any player is going to be out on the field attempting to tackle or, is putting themselves in position to make a tackle then they have to be aware of where they are, and who might be around them. Otherwise they can run off the field after their kick as many kickers do, and have done in the past.

Anonymous said...

Yea I don't think it deserves a fine. Especially considering the punter was going towards the play and is about 4 inches and 25 pounds bigger than Barnes so he is plenty capable of making a tackle. The punter was playing in one of his first American football games after coming over from Australia and he hasn't been taught to stay away from the action until the last possible moment in case a tackle is needed. The punter even talked about the hit after the game and said it was a nice hit.

Anonymous said...

The argument is not whether or not a punter should be blocked but if he lead with his helmet. Blocking a punter is obviously legal...blowing into him helemt to helmet is not. The video is pretty clear tha it is helmet to helmet...that my friends is a NFL fine.

Anonymous said...

The shot was gutless and incompetant.

It was gutless because it was from behind against an unsuspecting target (and I've made the same complaint about Dermott Brereton as well).

And it was incompetant because *despite* hitting a man from behind helmet-to-helmet, the other guy *still* got up afterwards.

In the words of the hit-ee 'If thats his best shot, then good luck to him'.

Congratulations, mr fourth-round-linebacker ... you just got Sav Rocca a job.

Harryos29 said...

hey..I liked that hit. it shows that he is in the game. Block or be blocked. Whatif Figurs had avoided everyone but the kicker and he made the tackle that prevented a TD??
we will never know...Give me 11 # 50's and I'll win you a lot of Games...'he's got GAME"
Harry O 29 ...sykesville

Anonymous said...

It was NOT a helmet to helmet hit. The angle is misleading. He led with his forearm/shoulder. I'm not sure, but it looks like(from other angles ) that Barnes helmet did not even touch the punter's . Shame on you guys!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Please, watch the film - it was not even close to helmet-to-helmet. It was not from behind - Barnes shoulder hit him on the left side of his chest as he came across his body. If the punter had looked left he would have clearly seen Barnes coming at him. He didn't - he got blocked. This was a football play.

Anonymous said...

I think it was a chickensh*t play by Barnes. Hit someone who's looking, not a punter away from the ball. I guess it makes him feel like a big man to blindside a guy like that. Just because a play is technically legal doesn't make it fair or clean play.

Anonymous said...

All of you saying it was not helmet-to-helmet need to open your eyes. If you watch the slow motion you can clearly see the top front of Barnes helmet make contact with the left side of Rocca's. The first part of Rocca to move in reaction to the hit is his helmet snapping up.

Anonymous said...

It was obviously helmet to helmet. Why else would Sav Rocca's helmet fly off?