Jaguars WR Marqise Lee done for season, and Jalen Ramsey blames helmet rule

Defenders often say that if you restrict them from tackling up high, with rules to protect offensive players, the low hits they have to give will be just as dangerous.

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey believes that’s what we saw with his teammate Marqise Lee’s season-ending injury. Specifically, Ramsey thinks the controversial new helmet rule is to blame.

Lee was hit low by Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee on a pass over the middle. It was immediately apparent Lee had suffered major knee injury. The Jaguars confirmed Monday that Lee will need season-ending surgery.

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Ramsey didn’t blame Kazee for the hit, but rather the new rules that force defenders into awkward situations.

Jalen Ramsey is mad at NFL, not Falcons player

Ramsey isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and he let loose on the NFL’s new rules saying that defenders are “scared to tackle normal.”

“You can’t be mad at 27 (Kazee),” Ramsey said, according to the Jaguars’ transcripts. “You have to be mad at the NFL; not mad at them but that is how the rule is. People are scared to tackle normal because I guess they don’t want to do helmet-to-helmet and get flagged. That was not even flagged and [you could] potentially get thrown out of the game. Game-changing stuff could happen. You don’t really want to blame anyone, but you feel bad for him. I don’t know, man, that’s just tough to see it happen to one of my teammates, period. But you can’t really blame 27.”

Ramsey said Kazee wasn’t flagged, but that’s not true. Kazee was penalized for lowering his helmet to initiate contact. But the new helmet rule is an easy target these days.

Damontae Kazee apologizes to Marqise Lee

Replays showed Lee’s knee buckling, and he was carted off. It was obvious right away he had a serious injury. Kazee expressed concern for Lee right after the game.

Defenders have been put in a tough spot. They are restricted to a very small area in which they can hit an offensive player with the ball. If they miscalculate and dish out an illegal hit, the NFL will fine them a small fortune because it can, regardless of intent.

If we take Kazee at his word, he wasn’t trying to injure Lee. Presumably he wasn’t trying to deliver a hit that would be penalized and could cost him five figures. But, as Ramsey alluded to in a bit of an incorrect manner, defenders truly are “scared to tackle normal.”

New rules will need adjustment period

The so-called helmet rule was called far less in the third week of preseason than it was in the first two games. That shouldn’t have been a huge surprise; it was reported the officials would make a lot of calls early and then adjust.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be outrage whenever it is called, or people blaming everything on it. It’s the new catch rule, basically.

The latest gripe comes from an All-Pro Jaguars cornerback, who believes the new rules are to blame for his teammate’s injury. It’s not the last complaint we’ll hear about the rules.

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, left, gives wide receiver Marqise Lee (11) a handshake after Lee was injured. (AP)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (L) gives wide receiver Marqise Lee a handshake after Lee was injured. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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