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Helmet-to-helmet penalty calls in preseason confusing Giants

Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree runs with the ball

Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree runs with the ball during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Monday. Credit: Brad Penner

Like the rest of the NFL, the Giants are trying to figure out the new helmet-to-helmet rule.

“You’ve been seeing flags all over the league,” linebacker Alec Ogletree said after Wednesday’s practice. “It’s something that I think needs to get handled quickly and have a definite definition on what is illegal and what’s not.”

NFL owners, in an attempt to reduce concussions, in May approved a rule that says, “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.” The violation results in a 15-yard penalty.

The first two weeks of preseason have been littered with flags for helmet-to-helmet hits, which have confused players, coaches and fans. There were 50 helmet-related penalties in the first 33 games. Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich was called for “lowering his helmet to initiate contact” against the Lions Aug. 17.

“No specific way to say, ‘Oh, this is illegal and this not illegal,’ ” Ogletree said. “We do understand some helmet-to-helmet contact, but some stuff, you just have to go out and play the game and adjust as much as you can.”

Safety Landon Collins said the Giants are still working on understanding the helmet rules. He said he doesn’t think the rules should affect how he plays because he doesn’t lead with his helmet.

“I’m just doing what I’ve always done,” Collins said. “I always got my head up to tackle, so trying to continue with that.”

Pressley ready to go

Running back Jhurell Pressley had his first practice as a Giant. In 2016, Pat Shurmur briefly coached him with the Vikings, and Pressley also spent time with the Packers, Falcons and Jaguars. He provides the Giants additional depth as they remain cautious with Saquon Barkley’s hamstring, try to limit Jonathan Stewart’s preseason workload and monitor Jalen Simmons' concussion.

“He’s a tough guy, he’s fast and we’re going to get him in the game [Friday],” Shurmur said. “We liked what we’ve seen in the past and he’s going to get his opportunity.”

Adrian Peterson returns

Another former Vikings running back -- and a much bigger name -- will be playing in the NFC East. Four-time All-Pro Adrian Peterson signed with the Redskins Monday. Shurmur, who coached Peterson in Minnesota in 2016, had high praise for him.

“He’s an outstanding player, that goes without saying,” Shurmur said. “He’s a hard runner, so our guys are going to have to make sure they get their pads low to tackle him when he’s in there.”

New York Sports