The Bears, like others in the NFL, prepares to deal with the new helmet rule

BOUBONNAIS – There is a mystery surrounding the defenders taking the field at Olivet Nazarene University over the past two weeks. No, it’s not just Roquan Smith.

The National Football League’s new helmet rule is a change that has been instituted to make the game safer with less contact with the helmet. Yet the stricter rules, bigger punishments, and grey areas in enforcement have created some confusion with players as the 2018 season draws closer.

The new helmet rule takes the previous one a step farther, allowing for players to be penalized 15-yards, ejected, and even fined if a player lowers his head to initiate contact.

Danny Trevathan knows all about the consequences of a helmet hit, having been suspended a game for contact with Davante Adams of the Packers during a Thursday night game on September 28th, 2017.

“It’s gonna be tough. The game is constantly changing,” said Trevathan of the new rule. “We’ve got to do what the league want us to do right now or that’s money out of our pockets. We just have to be smarter with it and just get better with that.”

So how does one balance being physical while also hoping not to be fined or suspended? For Trevathan, now entering his third year with the Bears, it’s a necessary tight rope to walk.

“I’m sure it will be physical, just not that physical that you’re used to. But over time, once you work it, I’m sure it will get back to it,” said Trevathan on the new rule affecting the physicality of the game. “Right head placement, putting the facemask up. It’s really hard on linebackers but, you know, we’re not in it for the easy part.”

Neither is Vic Fangio, who now has to aid in teaching the players how to navigate through this rule during the 2018 season. The defensive coordinator believes that it’s not only his and other defensive coordinator’s problem, but everyone else on the field as well.

“It will be interesting,” said Fangio when asked how the rule will affect play. “What’s been lost in it a little bit is that it’s offense and defense. We had a live drill out here a couple of days ago and I saw a few on the offense that could have been called. I think it’s going to be an extremely hard play to officiate other than the super obvious.

“We’ll see. We don’t know.”

No worries, Vic, you’re not alone.