Seattle Seahawks Teach the Intelligent Way to Tackle

By C David Price   

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By now we are all well aware of CTE and the potential dangers playing football can have on our brains. The Concussion Movie is just the latest high profile event illustrating how the effects of repeated head trauma football players can suffer. There have been several new technologies and improvements in football equipment, namely in helmets and monitored devices, that have tried to alleviate the impact blows to the head have, but few have tried to address tackling techniques until now.


The Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has been leading the way in a new way of tackling that has actually been around for a long time-Rugby Style. The main focus of rugby style tackling is to take the head out of the hit and lead with the shoulder at impact zone. Obviously, since rugby players don't wear helmets and would do serious harm if they tackled leading with their heads they have perfected this technique and now the NFL is catching on.

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It is surprising this technique has not caught on before now especially since it not only is safer for players heads, but it is also a more sure handed way of bringing opposing ball carriers down to the ground. When I was a DB back in the day I always thought that with heads up and leading with the shoulder was a much more sure way of tackling than simply launching oneself headfirst into a runner, only to have him bounce off of you. We just did not call it Rugby Style tackling back then.

The Seahawks Rugby style of tackling is lead by their defensive passing game coordinator Rocky Seto. "We're always looking for a better way to teach and so we thought, 'Let's put together a video and see how it works.' I'm thrilled that we're contributing."

Here is one instructional video showing how the technique is taught:

Not everyone was completely sold on this new style of tackling at first. Ohio State Head coach Urban Meyer was not buying in to it until his defensive coordinator Chris Ash kept persisting that this is the best way to go in teaching their young players how to tackle. The idea of rugby tackling "was one that I fought at first and I said no, we're not going to do that," Meyer said. "Chris Ash is very persistent, he's a very good coach, and (like) good coaches who really believe in something, stayed on me... I listened. I did as much research as I could and ultimately we jumped in. Tremendous success right out of the get-go. You could see the difference." After thoroughly studying the technique Meyer eventually agreed and is now a strong proponent of rugby style tackling.

The technique and training for it has even draw praise and support from Hall of Fame coach John Madden, who is co-chair of the NFL Player Safety Advisory Panel. The panel that is co-chaired by Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott already had addressed the helmet-to-defenseless-receiver issue.

From Madden's inquisitive mind to Pete Carroll's proven method of teaching players how to tackle - and then some - that are featured in an instructional video Madden knew something had to be done about players leading with their helmeted heads when tackling.

"The helmet-to-helmet on the defenseless receiver, we had a change that was an easier one because you could still use your head you just had to change your aim point," Madden said. "But getting the head out of tackling was a much more difficult issue. So what Pete did was something that needed to be done and gives us all the answers we're looking for.

"The video is excellent," Madden said Monday during a telephone interview. "We've been looking for something like that for a long time. One of the things the Commissioner is trying to do is take the head out of football when it comes to tackling, not using the head for contact.

Carroll and his staff in Seattle have produce a full series of videos demonstrating the proper way to do Rugby Style tackling and they have distributed them to 14,000 high school football programs and 8,000 youth football programs across the country through the Hudl video network.

How to Play Fantasy Football for Beginners

By Leon Edward  

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If you are entering the world of fantasy football for the first time, you are sure to wonder why it took you so long to come around. Playing fantasy football, whether for fun or real money, is a great way to enjoy one of America's favorite sports, professional football. As a beginner, you will most likely be playing with experienced managers that already know the nuances of the game. This quick guide is designed to show how to play fantasy football for beginners, and maybe level the playing field just a little.

Picking a League Format

When you sign onto a free or real money fantasy football site, you will be asked to register. If it's a real money site, you will also be asked to make a deposit. Free sites typically are used for league play where you draft a team and play that team in a league format for an entire season. Real money sites focus on weekly competitions where you pay the contest fee and choose your team for that specific contest only based on salary cap limitations. Regardless of which format you choose, you must take the time to understand the rules and the scoring in order to decide how to best develop your team.

Tips on Picking Players

As a beginner, you will most likely have a casual approach to picking players, preferring not to invest a great deal of time on statistical analysis. That's fine and understandable, but you should be aware that some of your competition will use that information, which provides a bit of an advantage over those who don't.

Tips for Picking Players in an Annual League Format

Note: standard leagues use offensive skilled position players, kickers and team defenses only. If individual defensive players are included, it is referred to as a "IDP" league. Beginners should avoid auction drafts and stick with standard "snake" drafts.

1. As you are drafting your team, pick the best available player for each specific position first before you start drafting backup players.

2. Draft a balanced team and try not to over-focus on one particular position. Also, you want to avoid drafting your favorite players unless they will truly benefit you in the scoring.

3. Look for a "scoring bias" in the scoring rules. This refers to the notion that some leagues sets scoring rules that might favor the QB a little. If so, you want a top QB. If not, you should give a little extra focus to running backs and wide receivers.

4. Pick kickers and team defenses towards the end of the draft as they seldom provided any real advantage over a full season.

5. Watch your "bye" weeks. You want to make sure both your QBs don't have the same bye week, which would force you to the waiver wire or to lose points.

Tips for Picking Players for Weekly Contests

When playing for money, you should alter your focus. You are not drafting players, you are selecting the best group of players you can without exceeding the salary cap.

1. Find value by selecting good offensive players scheduled to play against bad defensive teams. On the other side of the coin, you should avoid offensive players going up against the best defenses.

2. You should read weather reports and try to avoid players who might be playing in rain or snow. If you selected your teams well in advance, go back and make adjustments as necessary before game time.

3. Look for streaking players who may be under-valued and avoid slumping players who may be over-valued. Don't be afraid to play the trends.

4. Use every dime of your salary cap.

5. Never play with more money than you can afford to lose.

Every week, it is up to you to manage your team. In league formats, fellow managers are expecting you to show up and play every week to the best of your ability whether you are in first place or last. As time passes, you will better understand the objectives and will start making better decisions. At the end of the day, this is a game. Have a great time and enjoy.