us a video and say, ‘OK, guys, we used to be able to do this, and now we can’t. We used to do that, and now we have to do it th

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Is NFL in a 'renaissance'? Defensive players still irked by rules Steadily climbing television ratings, compelling games and a record pace for points (4,489 through six weeks) and touchdown passes (328) have fueled Goodell’s confidence.Some of the dark clouds of off-field controversies finally seem to have dissipated. An at times poorly regarded product has improved.More: 32 things that made the NFL fun again in 2018That’s welcome news for NFL officials and team owners, who have spent recent years trying to get the league back to a healthy place.In the past five years, the league has been sent reeling by a diminished on-field product, lawsuits from former players suffering from the effects of brain injuries, domestic violence issues, Tom Brady and the Patriots’ Deflategate saga and polarizing protests during the national anthem protests.[b]More: USA TODAY Sports' [b]Deion Sanders Jersey Cheap Week 7 NFL picks: Will Cowboys or Redskins wind up atop NFC East standings?More: Jerry Jones pushes back on Dak Prescott criticism, saying Cowboys QB is more than a 'bus driver'Criticisms rained down from multiple angles, whether from fans or President Donald Trump, who aimed to use the league as a political pawn and point of division.But time has helped soften memories [b]Richard Sherman Jersey Cheap and led to the forgiveness of some transgressions. And an infusion of young talent has elevated some teams and sparked optimism among long-suffering fan bases.And some of the relief is manufactured:- Amid the implementation of new safety measures, star quarterbacks have largely stayed healthy.- Rule modifications have led to more scoring.- Financial resources pledged by the league’s owners to assist players in their social justice efforts have led to drastically fewer protests during the anthem. The NFL also tabled its national anthem policy, and Trump has relented.Now, the NFL and many of its fans finally have what they want: a universe where games once again dominate the conversation.“After years and years and years of dealing with idiotic issues away from the game, and all the other stuff that drives the negativity, we’re finally having what I would consider, a renaissance of the game, if you will,” former NFL quarterback and current CBS Sports analyst Boomer Esiason told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s due in large part to a lot of these really young, unbelievably talented, freakish players. And it’s not just offense, it’s defense, too. But it is driven by some of these young quarterbacks in the league – a Jared Goff, a Carson Wentz, a Pat Mahomes and those in the last draft class that we’ve just seen."Judging the ratings of the shows he works on (CBS’s "The NFL Today "and Showtime’s "Inside the NFL") and his New York City-based radio show, Esiason added, “I’d say the interest in in the NFL is as good as it’s ever been, if not better.”Esiason also believes legalized sports betting in a few states has also helped generate greater interest in the NFL. So, too, according to Goodell, have the league’s efforts to give fans more in-game and interactive technology experiences.But although things are going well for the league on many fronts, not everyone in or close to the game is content.The effort to eliminate helmet-to-helmet hits was a long-term step toward improving safety for all players. However, as offensive records continue to fall, defenders and purist fans have been left frustrated.There’s no denying that rule changes have paved the way for the offensive explosion. Illegal contact penalties on defenders, for instance, have increased to 36 from 11 at this point last year.Life also has become more complicated for pass rushers as the league’s competition committee called for a stronger emphasis on roughing the passer penalties, including when defenders fall on a quarterback with most or all of their body weight. Such penalties have already changed the complexion of games."This is what the league wanted though. They wanted record passing numbers," San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman told reporters earlier in October. "You can't touch (the quarterback). You can't tackle him. You Jerry Rice Authentic Jersey can't hit him high. You can't hit him low. You can't knock him down to the ground hard."You can't hit a receiver high. You can't hit him low. You can't push him, you can barely press him,” Sherman continued. “It's making it really difficult on teams to combat it because every rule in the book is designed to make sure you don't get them stopped."That point resonates with many fans who have criticized the league for instituting measures they see as softening the game. After further meetings with the competition committee, however, officials have been less stringent on roughing the passer calls.But the defenders know that they are intentionally placed at a point of disadvantage.“We all know it’s offense that sells,” veteran Nike Marquise Goodwin Jersey On Sale defensive lineman Ziggy Hood told USA TODAY Sports.Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller agreed.“That’s just a matter of it. We know what it’s like,” Fuller told USA TODAY Sports.Today’s defensive players feel like the league has cracked down on them, but this is nothing new.“I’ll let everybody in on a little secret,” said Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green, who now works as the associate athletic director at George Mason University. “The refs came to camp every year for my 20 seasons – every year – and every time there were adjustments. They’d show us a video and say, ‘OK, guys, we used to be able to do this, and now we can’t. We used to do that, and now we have to do it this way.’ Every year. So, I don’t really see it as a critical issue about it.”Responding to complaints about fear of penalties, NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent (himself a former all-pro defensive back) said that defenders have to make changes to satisfy rule changes. But he stressed that they can’t let concerns stop them from doing their jobs.“You’ve just got to play,” Vincent told reporters Tuesday at the league meeting. “You hope that no player is thinking about a rule. You want to play with a free mind.”Green agreed. Offenses will always have Dwight Clark Authentic Jersey the edge because that’s what sells.“From a business standpoint, people would rather see a one-handed touchdown grab than they would see me knock a ball down,” said Green. “It’s just like people would rather see a dunk than they would (former NBA center Dikembe) Mutumbo block a shot. They’d rather see a home run than a guy rob a home run. That’s just the nature of human beings. We like to see offense.“So, it’s just a given that the game would evolve this way. The game has always changed from a standpoint of offenses and defenses. But this now, I think the NFL is now where they want to be.”***Follow Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJonesRonnie Lott White Elite Jersey Torrey Smith JerseyNike Donavin Newsom Jersey On Sale Nike Joshua Garnett Jersey On Sale Torrey Smith White Elite Jersey Nike Joe Staley Jersey On Sale Earl Mitchell White Elite Jersey Nike Tramaine Brock Jersey On Sale Patrick Willis White Elite Jersey Jimmie Ward White Elite Jersey Jeremy Kerley Jersey Jayson DiManche White Elite Jersey Terrell Owens White Elite Jersey George Kittle Jersey Nike Aaron Burbridge Jersey On Sale[/b][/b][/b]
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