Ravens S Bennett Jackson: Flags Thrown to 'Make People Aware' of New Helmet Rule

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2018

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 02: Kamalei Correa #51 and Chris Board #49 of the Baltimore Ravens are called for an illegal hit while tackling Tanner Gentry #19 of the Chicago Bears in the third quarter of the Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 2, 2018 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Thursday's Hall of Fame Game between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears marked the first NFL game since the league implemented a new helmet rule.

Baltimore safety Bennett Jackson walked away from the matchup believing the league is going to use the preseason to set an example, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley:

"I feel like they're trying to harp on it a lot more in preseason, so they're going to throw flags even on times when it's not necessarily head-to-head, just to make people aware of it. I spoke to the ref. He even said, 'Hey, it's preseason, we got to throw the flag.'"

He added: "In the regular season, I don't think it's going to be thrown as much. But who knows?"

Per the new rules, a player will be penalized 15 yards (and be subject to ejection) when he "lowers his helmet to establish a linear body posture prior to initiating and making contact with the helmet." Many football fans weren't sure how drastic of a change it would be from previous seasons, but they got a glimpse of it during the preseason opener.

The Ravens were flagged three times for violating the new helmet rule in their 17-16 victory. That left head coach John Harbaugh looking for clarification.

"I'll wait to see the TV copies and see what they look like," Harbaugh said. "So I really don't know. If I knew, I would give you an opinion on it. I don't know enough about the rule to understand it right now."

The goal is player safety. The preseason will allow everyone to get a feel for the new rules, but it will be a work in progress.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.