With the advent of no-huddle offenses designed to keep the ball moving fast and to keep a tired defense on the field, there have been plenty of instances in recent years where a player or team has been accused of faking injuries to stop the action so a defense can catch its breath.
Remember this incident with Deon Grant from two years ago? Or when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones earlier this month said it was so obvious that some of the Giants players were faking against Dallas that it was humorous (it probably wasn't all that funny to Dan Connor, who went on the IR list that next week).
It's gotten so bad that even when an opposing defender shows the slightest bit of pain on the field, the home fans boo him like he's Costa Rica soccer player Joel Campbell taking a dive.
Well, count Eagles coach Chip Kelly among those who disagree with the notion that players are faking. Or at least disagrees with the notion of calling out those defenders who are under suspicion.
“Never, ever going to get into that,” Kelly said, via Phillymag.com, when asked about the Chiefs penchant for cramping in last Thursday's loss to Kansas City. “We need to execute better and not turn the football over. That's the least of my worries right now.”
One of the Chiefs who struggled with cramps last week was cornerback Sean Smith, who had to stop the game multiple times so trainers could stretch him out. And he could understand why Eagles supporters wouldn't be happy with them.
“I knew [the jeers were] coming ,” Smith said. “Everybody thought I was faking, but I had to get an IV -- I've got the proof right here,” as he pointed to a bandage on his arm.
“It shows how fast-paced that offense is,” Smith said. “It's crazy, you can't really practice it. So when you see it for the first time, you don't really know what to expect.”
And since nobody really can be sure whether Smith was faking (for the record, I believe he was not), there doesn't seem to be much the NFL can do about it. About a week ago, the NFL sent out a memo which stated that teams should not criticize other teams about the possibility of faking.
Earlier, the league sent out another memo warning teams that they could face punishment if they're caught faking and that coaches should not be instructing players to do so.
Still, Smith's opponents seemed somewhat sympathetic.
“Once you stop the momentum we're having, and when we are coming back and moving the ball, I think the [Chiefs' defense] was getting tired,” LeSean McCoy said. “[Injuries] give them time to get their breath back. Who is to say if they were faking it or not? People get hurt during the game.”
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