PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17: DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles is laid out by Dunta Robinson #23 of the Atlanta Falcons. Both players were injured on the play and had to be helped off the field. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
In Sunday, we got into a fairly heated debate on whether Dunta Robinson's hit on DeSean Jackson was illegal, dirty or both. Of course, he was flagged on the play so the illegal part was pretty much elementary but there was certainly some debate as to whether the flag should have ever been thrown.
The NFL's VP of operations Ray Anderson was a guest of Mike & Mike this morning and confirmed that the hit was indeed illegal and will be subject to discipline.
"Technically, by the rules, even if you initiate contact below the neck, but you get up into a players head and neck area for a defenseless receiver, technically under that rule, that was a violation, That’s why it was called (a penalty). And it will be subject to discipline."
Yes, it was a bang-bang play, you can make the argument that it was different from the others (hits on Sunday). But at the end of the day, it was still illegal under the current rules. And we have to be very vigorous about enforcing and protecting our players against hits like this."
People in the comments earlier in the week seemed fixated on whether it was a "helmet to helmet" hit. As I said then and as Anderson pointed out here, that's not the issue. The issue with this hit was that it violated the league's new rules about hitting a defenseless player in the head or neck area, which Robinson clearly did. I would refer you to our post this offseason where referee Walt Coleman(who happened to be the ref on Sunday) detailed exactly how the new rule would be applied. By his explanation, this hit was a textbook violation of the new rule. Jackson was in the act of making the catch, he had not had a chance to secure the ball and defend himself and the defender clearly made serious contact with the head and or neck area. I don't necessarily think Robinson had malicious intent here, but that's not really the issue. Although, it will likely be the difference between just a fine and a fine plus suspension.