Chicago Sun-Times

Report: NFL fines Steelers' Carter $5K for hit on Olsen

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Greg Olsen called the hits he received from Pittsburgh safety Tyrone Carter on Sunday clean.

The NFL found differently on one of them.

Carter has been fined $5,000, according to Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, for a shot that broke up a long pass from Jay Cutler along the sideline. There was no penalty on the play, and Olsen was slow to get up, explaining he was winded by the hit.

"Unreal," Carter told Brown. "I watched the play over and over and I hit him in the shoulder. The NFL sees something different."

Carter was filling in for injured strong safety Troy Polamalu and actually injured his left thigh on the play.

Olsen said afterward that there was nothing objectionable about the play.

"My head was fine,'' Olsen said. "It was a great hit, he made a great play.

"[Carter] did a good job, he timed I t up real well, he got there just as the ball did. Actually, I thought I had a touchdown. He made a hell of a play. I was on the linebacker who I thought was running with me in man. I didn't even realize [Carter] was even there. He timed it up well, and he was able to separate the ball.''

Carter laid another big hit on Olsen in the fourth quarter at the end of a 29-yard gain that helped set up the game-tying touchdown.

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Both of those hits were helmet-to-helmet and were thus blatantly illegal. In the bar where I was watching the game we were screaming about this. Unfortunately, this is just a symptom of the problem, which has been going on and getting worse for decades.

When I played, we were taught to tackle with our heads UP and hit with our shoulders. Now, kids are apparently taught to put their heads down and hit with their helmets. Helmets were never meant to be used as weapons; they're meant to be protection. The league is at fault for not vigorously enforcing the spearing and helmet-to-helmet rules, which in turn would force Pop Warner and high school coaches to stop teaching this immoral form of tackling. The only other fix would be to return to leather helmets in order to prevent them from being used as weapons, but that's obviously not going to happen.

This type of tackling is dangerous not only to the person being tackled, but also the instigator. I witnessed a player on my high school team make a beautiful tackle on a kickoff return, dropping the returner right as he caught the ball. The guy he hit jumped right up, but the player who led with his helmet did not. That play was 29 years ago, and that player is still paralyzed from the neck down.

The only thing I see wrong with both plays (not including Carter leading with his helmet) is that Cutler hung Olsen out to get killed on both throws. I understand that it is a touch route, but given that the safety was able to get there and separate Olsen from his soul on both occasions, I would suggest that he put some heat on the throw and get it there before the safety can make it over, so Olsen can a) protect himself, and b) have a chance to make a move and turn it into a bigger play. When teams attack the Tampa Cover 2, that is how they have traditionally done it. Get the ball to the WR as soon as the corner passes off coverage to the safety, but before he can get over to make a play on the ball.

Wrigley, you are right on the money. I remember in high school, we had 50 pushups every time we were spotted on film with our heads down when we made a tackle. In practice, it was laps when coach caught us doing it.

It is no coincidence that around the league, missed tackles appear to happen on every play. How often did a running back get loose when Mike Singletary was squared up on him in the hole? Never. Nowadays, either they lead with their heads, or they lunge and hope to be able to wrap the guy up enough to bring him down.

It drives me crazy to see how often a running back is able to get more yards after contact without a great move, fantastic stiff arm, or flat out running over a guy. All they have to do is maintain their balance, and the guy falls off them. In this NFL, Walter would have gotten 2,000 yards every year....

I thought the 2nd hit was much worse than the first, and definitely should have gotten a flag and a fine for a helmet to helmet hit. Kind of odd that he was fined for the first one... He clearly lead with his helmet on the 2nd one.

The two plays in question never bothered me much. They didn't bother Olsen much either, they are what I call a little dirty because the Helmet did not make a lot of impact. I really wouldn't mind seeing some Bear safety's level a couple a guys and let them know what happen if you attack the secondary. Olsen was looking for the hit the rest of the game. It caused him to bobble a ball and drop a pass.

The play that bugged me was Harrisons no call late hit on Cutler, when he went for his knee from the side.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 24, 2009 1:20 PM.

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