Troy Vincent, the NFL’s new executive vice president of football operations, has identified 21 players as being “at-risk” for making illegal hits on the field and he has met with 16 of them so far.
According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, Vincent said there were six players who have been suspended for hits over the last two years — Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson, Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin, Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Antonio Smith, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Joe Mays and Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden — and 15 others who were close to escalated discipline.
Vincent set up in-person meetings, traveling to visit the players. He will meet with the remaining five in the next couple of weeks.
“The objective was to sit down, review the tape, watch the games, and let’s see what’s taking place — from a coverage standpoint, up front, every scenario,” Vincent told Breer. “How do we assist in making sure the player, the coach, the agent, everyone is on the same page in regards to what we expect and what they expect? A lot of it was casual conversation, put on the tape and say, ‘Take me through this play progression.’”
Vincent said Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was first to meet with him, set the tone. Suh was suspended in 2011 and has been subject to increased league scrutiny as a result of his style of play.
“He was very receptive, he understood, he cared about the perception, his reputation, and I told him we’re not trying to take the edge he plays with away,” Vincent said. “I said, ‘We’ve seen you adjust, we’ve seen an adjustment in your play, let’s keep that going.’ … We met for hours, talking about the example he sets, the role model he’s become, and emphasizing his adjustment. What he did was set the bar with his approach, since he was first.”
Vincent told he also met with Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
“We have a long-term relationship, we’ve known each other a long time, so we had a really good discussion,” Vincent said. “He got it, he understood. Some of the others were not as cordial, and that’s OK, too.”
The NFL Players Association has been informed of Vincent’s initiative, but reportedly is not actively involved.