New York Jets coach Robert Saleh isn’t a big fan of the NFL’s protective helmet shells.
While he recognizes the benefits the Guardian Cap provides to his players and everyone else across the league — there’s no disputing those — Saleh thinks they might actually hurt later on in the preseason.
"I do think because of the soft blow, it's kind of lending the players to use their heads a little bit more. I do think the first time when they take it off — anybody who has played football knows the first time you take your helmet off or you hit with the helmet or you have a collision, there's a shock. I do think that if you're waiting until the first game for that shock to happen ... I don't know, time will tell. It's just interesting with those Guardian Caps and what exactly are we trying to accomplish."
The Guardian Caps are something that have been popping up in the game across all levels for years now. Teams will have players wear them during practices as a way to add extra protection from head injuries.
The NFL requires that both offensive and defensive lineman, as well as tight ends and linebackers wear the cap through the week of their second preseason game. According to the league, the cap results in at least a 10% reduction in impact severity.
The Guardian Cap results in at least a 10% reduction in severity of impact if one player is wearing it, and at least a 20% reduction in impact if two players in a collision are wearing it. https://t.co/qw393LBcYb pic.twitter.com/FBJrFAZPg8
— NFL (@NFL) July 30, 2022
Though there haven’t been many notable or legitimate complaints regarding the caps in the NFL, Saleh is concerned that there could be too big of an adjustment period when they come off.
That, he thinks, could have the opposite effect.
"I am because I think there's an acclimation period that is needed for actual pads for what they are actually going to use in the game," he said, . "So, if you're waiting until the game to actually feel that, I think it's just going to be interesting to see what type of feedback we get from players."