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C.J. Mosley's rush on long snapper was violation of player safety rule

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

An extra point during the Detroit Lions-New England Patriots game last Sunday illustrated why the long snapper on kicks is considered a "defenseless player" by NFL rules, according to Dean Blandino.

The vice president of officiating said during the weekly review video for the media that Lions defensive tackle C.J. Mosley's rush that left Patriots long snapper Danny Aiken on his back was a good example of the rule.

"The snapper on field goals and extra points gets defenseless player protection," Blandino said. "That means he can't be hit forcibly in the head or neck area and an opponent cannot hit him in any part of his body with the crown or the forehead parts of the helmet."

Blandino said it's the same protection given to a receiver trying to catch a pass, a quarterback in the act of passing and the recipient of a blind-side block. In this case, Aiken was defenseless as Mosley attempted to push him back into the kicker.

"This is the intent of the rule, to prohibit this type of action," Blandino said. "(It was) direct, forcible contact to either head or neck area. You can see (Mosley) come in and deliver a shoulder and forearm shot to the head.

"That's a foul. Fifteen-yard penalty. On an extra point, that can either be enforced on a kickoff or we can move the ball to the 1 and go for two points. If it's a field-goal attempt, it's 15 yards or half the distance and it's an automatic first down."

Blandino said what is allowable against the long snapper is rushing through the gaps beside him. He used a Tampa Bay Buccaneers field-goal attempt against the Chicago Bears last Sunday as an example.

"You can attack the shoulder," he said. "Remember, you can't line up over inside the frame (of the kicker). ... But then once the ball is snapped you can attack (his) shoulder area."

He also said the lineman could come across the face of the snapper --using an example from the Oakland Raiders against the Kansas City Chiefs -- as long as the rusher makes no contact using his head or neck area.

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