One of the biggest improvements under Kyle Shanahan was the drastic improvement in the offensive line play. Now one of their blocks will become illegal. New center Alex Mack believes it will create problems, but does not sound overly worried.
The NFL previously allowed blocking a defender by tackling below the thigh when engaged with another offensive player in limited circumstances, but that is no longer the case. Too many players were frustrated and injured when a 300-pound offensive lineman dived at their knees multiple times per game.
D. Orlando Ledbetter talked to the team's top offseason addition about the new ban.
"Our cutting style is still going to be allowed," Mack said. "It’s just whether or not, if you can have an adjacent lineman chop down. It’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to be a part of the game that we’ll have to adjust. I think there is a way to do it safely. I’m sure we can do that."
The chop block is used by the Falcons, but it is not a major component of the offense. However, the new rule will limit what the offense can do, which is concerning after the run game fell flat in the last half of the 2015 season. And if they are caught doing it, we might somehow see an uptick in Andy Levitre's penalties. Hopefully signing Mack can more than offset any limitations the new ban will impose on the Falcons.