Dolphins coach Adam Gase blames ridiculous new rule for player's ACL tear

When Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase met with media on Monday, he announced that veteran defensive end William Hayes would be out for the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL.

Hayes was injured on the second play of the second quarter of Miami’s win over the Oakland Raiders, as he sacked the Raiders’ Derek Carr.

Gase blames new rule for injury

Gase blamed the NFL’s new and much-ridiculed point of emphasis this season which prohibits defensive players from using “all or part” of their body weight to take a quarterback down for Hayes’ injury.

“He was trying not to put his body weight on the quarterback and that happened,” Gase said. “He is one of the leaders; our best run defender.”

Dolphins' William Hayes tears ACL on sack
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Dolphins' William Hayes tears ACL on sack
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: William Hayes #95 of the Miami Dolphins sacks Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Sep 23, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes (95) reacts after suffering an apparent injury during the first half against the Oakland Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: William Hayes #95 of the Miami Dolphins leaves the game after an injury during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

It sounds like some sour grapes from Gase at first, but watching the clip of the play (above), it doesn’t seem so far-fetched, and he may have a point. It does look like Hayes was doing what he could in the moment to position himself in such a way as to not land fully on Carr, swinging his right leg out wide. When Hayes lands, he is clutching his right knee.

‘Trying to land unnaturally’

The above tweet is from Matt Chatham, who won three Super Bowl rings as a reserve linebacker with the New England Patriots. Chatham posted it on Sunday afternoon, when the play happened, and he clearly believed as soon as it happened that Hayes was trying to adhere to the new rule and injured himself in the process.

While Hayes, a 33-year-old who is in his 11th season in the NFL and second with the Dolphins, has played a backup role with Miami, as Gase said he is the team’s best run defender and edge-setter.

Player safety, but which players?

The NFL listed the body weight emphasis as protection of quarterbacks, and players should be as safe as possible on the field. But how fair is it if defensive players suffer injuries in the interest of protecting quarterbacks?

One of the league’s more outspoken players, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, took note of the disparity, tweeting, “They don’t care about the rest of us getting hurt. Long as the QB is safe,” on Monday.

Defensive players have decried the unfairness of the new rules and points of emphasis directed at the safety of quarterbacks and offensive skill players, and their concerns are certainly justified, and even more so if players are going to end up hurting themselves trying to unnaturally move themselves and avoid making a tackle that up until a few months ago was a textbook takedown. Hayes appears to wrap Carr around the shoulders and didn’t make helmet-to-helmet contact.

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