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BAMAPHIN 22
09-06-2006, 11:42 AM
Carolina's defense has its hands full against Atlanta simply trying to contain quarterback Michael Vick (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/players/5448) and its running game.

Throw in the Falcons' tendency to cut block on offense, and the Panthers know Sunday's season opener could get dangerous.

Defensive ends Julius Peppers (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/players/5888) and Mike Rucker (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/players/4687) both suffered sprained ankles last year against Atlanta when Falcons players legally tackled them below the knees. Although Peppers was able to play the next week, Rucker was sidelined for one game with the injury.

Previous experience with the cut blocks, coupled with watching Atlanta continue the practice through the preseason, has the Panthers on high alert.

"That's them, that's their scheme and that's what works for them," Rucker said Tuesday. "Done right in certain situations, it works and is effective for them. Otherwise people wouldn't do it."

If the Panthers had their way, the practice wouldn't be allowed at all.

The technique is legal under NFL rules as long as the defensive player isn't engaged with another blocker, but the Falcons are one of few teams who have been openly criticized for it. The blocking was refined by Alex Gibbs when he was the offensive line coach with Denver Broncos (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/teams/broncos) in the 1990s, and he brought it with him to Atlanta, where he's currently a consultant.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/football/nfl/09/05/panthers.cutblock.ap/index.html

3rd and long
09-06-2006, 12:23 PM
It's legal, it's fine. However, I think if you cut-block a guy who is engaged with a defender and it results in injury, that player should be suspended a game. Players make too much money and D-lineman are too important to have them injured by illegal blocks regularly.