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Tony McDaniel: New rules on hits slowed me down

The NFL's new mandate against helmet-to-helmet hits and focus on protecting defenseless players did its job in that no such hits were deemed delivered this weekend and the NFL did not impose any fines for such hits.

But if you ask Dolphins defensive end Tony McDaniel, the focus on not delivering such contact had an unintended and unwelcome affect on him.

"I honestly could say, myself, on some plays when I had a clear shot at the quarterback, I kind of slowed down and made sure I hit him in the right spot," McDaniel said. "I definitely think it slows us down a little bit as far as speed and thinking about a fine -- a $75,000 fine, a $50,000 fine. Some guys that's four or five-game game checks so it slows the game down a lot.

"I could say me personally as a player it slowed me down. Most definitely."

Ouch.

McDaniel believes the outgrowth of the new focus on helmet-to-helmet hits is that players will tackle lower. You saw such a tackle by cornerback Sean Smith on Pittsburgh receiver Hines Ward. And that kind of play will limit head shots and concussions.

But it will increase the pain elsewhere: At the knees.

"I would rather get a concussion than blow out an ACL," McDaniel said. "Guys are definitely going to go lower now."

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