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Singletary's "Nutcracker Drill" and Safety in the NFL

There have been a few reports implying that Eric Heitmann's potentially career-ending injury has been due to the Singletary's Nutcracker Drill. I don't want this to turn into a "Bash Sing" thread. On the contrary, I wanted to discuss the implications of potentially dangerous drills in the NFL.

We know the NFL has had a huge stance on protecting its players. Just last season, there was a huge emphasis on preventing concussions. And we all know what lengths the league goes to in order to protect their QBs. Heavy fines are occurrences that happen nearly every other week.

But those are things that happen in games, where there are certain rules that come into play. Do you guys think the league could/would do anything about training camp activities like the Nutcracker Drill?

In a sense, the drill isn't anything compared to what you see in an NFL game. Guys running full speed, colliding into one another happens on every play, in virtually every point players come into contact with one another. Contact in the NFL is inevitable.

Do you see the league banning such drills during training camp? Or do you just see the league letting teams handle their own training camps, and just trusting that coaches have the conventional wisdom not to put their players at risk?
I am not sure if the league can just ban a drill like that
Originally posted by RichmondPete:
I am not sure if the league can just ban a drill like that

The league can ban coaches from meeting with players, so technically, they can technically do whatever they want.

But I'm just creating a discussion for discussion's sake (it's a long, BORING offseason). The Nutcracker drill was probably a one-time thing. I'm just asking... if drills that compromise player safety begin cropping up all throughout the league, do you think the league would take action? It would definitely open up a can of worms. Officials would be heavily monitoring teams and their training camp activities.
Originally posted by Wubbie:
There have been a few reports implying that Eric Heitmann's potentially career-ending injury has been due to the Singletary's Nutcracker Drill. I don't want this to turn into a "Bash Sing" thread. On the contrary, I wanted to discuss the implications of potentially dangerous drills in the NFL.

We know the NFL has had a huge stance on protecting its players. Just last season, there was a huge emphasis on preventing concussions. And we all know what lengths the league goes to in order to protect their QBs. Heavy fines are occurrences that happen nearly every other week.

But those are things that happen in games, where there are certain rules that come into play. Do you guys think the league could/would do anything about training camp activities like the Nutcracker Drill?

In a sense, the drill isn't anything compared to what you see in an NFL game. Guys running full speed, colliding into one another happens on every play, in virtually every point players come into contact with one another. Contact in the NFL is inevitable.

Do you see the league banning such drills during training camp? Or do you just see the league letting teams handle their own training camps, and just trusting that coaches have the conventional wisdom not to put their players at risk?

I think it would need to be extremely widespread for the league to take action and I would be more inclined to think that the NFLPA and owners/front offices would step in WAY before the league would need to.

The nutcracker drill is one thing, but teams/players/coaches do not want guys getting hurt in practice to the point that they would have a possible career ending injury. No one would want that and the league should, but probably would never need to step in.

That is unless everyone turns into Mike Singletary and become morons. (I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself )
There is nothing wrong with the Nutcracker drill!!! A few players got banged up and only 1 player got seriously injured during this 1 Training Camp drill. Injuries happen in this game, people are only hating cuz thers nothing to talk about and we hate Singletary. lol. Other teams had more injuries in their camps w/o the nutcracker too.
Originally posted by Wubbie:
Originally posted by RichmondPete:
I am not sure if the league can just ban a drill like that

The league can ban coaches from meeting with players, so technically, they can technically do whatever they want.

But I'm just creating a discussion for discussion's sake (it's a long, BORING offseason). The Nutcracker drill was probably a one-time thing. I'm just asking... if drills that compromise player safety begin cropping up all throughout the league, do you think the league would take action? It would definitely open up a can of worms. Officials would be heavily monitoring teams and their training camp activities.

I doubt this would happen. Its hard to argue that the drill itself is any more dangerous than any other drill for trench-men. If anything I would think the NFLPA would have to be the ones to step in for something like this to change.
Players get injured doing all sorts of activities

We have lost players to non-contact pass coverage drills (McKillop was dropping into coverage and jumped when his knee blew out)

There is some risk involved in any physical activity. Teams assume the risk to keep players in good condition and ready for Sundays

They will only ban something if it is a high risk activity and players complain.

High risk = liability for injuries caused to your employees...NFL doesn't want that
I think that people do not have enough to write about so lets try another bashing of Singletary. People apparently got injured doing the Nutcracker. Mr. Williams got injured not doing the nutcracker. So should we ban running to be sure that no one gets hurt in any shape or form. To me all of this, and the astronimical numbers of 3-5 people getting hurt in two years by doing the Nutcracker, is media-whore journalism.
We won five SBs without the stupid nutcracker. Sing was not a head coach material. The whole thing was to cover all his short comings, and at the end it showed.
im not a huge fan of the drill. football, especially the o line, is game of angles. down blocking, angle blocking, pull blocking, trap blocking..... and the d lineman are trying to scrape down the line of scrimmage, if its a pass then they try to get around the lineman with a pass rush move. rarely are players trying to go head to head and simply push one another backwards or forwards along an imaginary line.... IMO
[ Edited by bigginz54 on Jul 7, 2011 at 1:11 AM ]
The game is rough and so is practice. There is nothing you can do about that.
There is NO need to have our players taking unnecessary hits in some alpha male bulls**t type drill.
Smart coaches use every second of practice to get players ready for games. The nutcracker and similar drills are not necessary and are more likely to lead to injury than almost any other drill as they are a challenge, one on one, full out collisions.

Why have everyone stand around watching two guys duke it out when you could be running ten plays, very quickly, to increase the fluidity of the offense? Walsh use to demand that his assistants script every second of practice not only because he wanted to instill a high degree of accountability from the very top, but also as a sign of respect for the players--not wasting their time.

The most idiotic part of the nutcracker drill is that there are players who do well in the nutcracker but never get on the field because football is not just about running into someone headfirst.
Stupid drill, that has no place above the high school level. The risk vs reward makes this call a no brainer, especially when your coaching million dollar assets.

Now the 49ers most consistent interior OL of the last decade probaly won't be able to help Harbaugh rebuild.

I feel sorry for the Viking lbs, Singletary is going to have them lining up & playing "Meet me in the alley".
This should be an interesting Sing bashfest.
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