Shanahan wants to expand helmet-to-helmet rules to protect players on kickoffs

Mike Shanahan

Mike Shanahan believes the rules on helmet-to-helmet hits need to be expanded to protect more players. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan intends to lobby the NFL to implement rules to protect players on kickoff units from helmet-to-helmet hits when he attends the next league meeting, he said on Wednesday.

The coach’s decision comes on the heels of the concussion suffered by safety Reed Doughty, who sustained a helmet-to-helmet hit while on the front line of Washington’s kickoff return unit on Sunday.

The Bears lined up in regular kickoff formation, but attempted an onside kick as Robbie Gould sent a short dribbler toward the center of the field, near where Doughty stood. Chicago’s players charged toward the ball, and Sherrick McManis didn’t make a play on the ball, but instead launched himself directly into Doughty, drilling him in the side of the helmet with his own.

Doughty crumpled on the field and took a while to make it to the sideline after finally being helped up by trainers.

No flag was thrown.

The rules on helmet-to-helmet hits mostly are related to protecting defenseless receivers from defensive backs (see Meriweather, Brandon), and there are some limitations regarding hitting a quarterback in the head, and running backs leading with their helmets. But Shanahan said there needs to be a change to broaden the rule.

“I’m going to bring that up at the next meeting because that was one of the most vicious hits I’ve ever seen,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy get hit quite like that – at that speed at 10 yards and Reed just being completely helpless. I think that will be changed for the safety of the players, but that hasn’t been brought up yet. We all want players’ safety first, but there’s a lot that goes into it as we just talked about.”

Doughty was the second Redskins player this season to suffer a concussion on a kickoff. Against Dallas, cornerback David Amerson sustained a concussion on a helmet-t0-helmet blow from linebacker Cameron Lawrence on a blindside hit. Lawrence received a fine of $21,000.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins practice Thursday at 1 p.m.

More on the Redskins and NFL:

‘Graybeards’ Fletcher, Manning set to meet | Meriweather suspension reduced

Defense says it must step up | Griffin looking to shootout with Manning

D.C. Sports Bog: Snyder in Durant sneakers | Redskins van changed a life | More 

The Early Lead: Rams called Favre | Manning sits out practice | More NFL

Hankerson misses practice | Doughty unsure if he’ll play Bowen may try

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Also on The Insider

'Old graybeards' Fletcher, Manning to match signal-calling wits Sunday