Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes has been forced to wear boxing gloves during practice due to the amount of penalties he has given away so far this season.
The cornerback has been flagged for seven penalties across the first four weeks of the season, tying him with defensive end Everson Griffen for most at the Vikings. He also has the second-most penalties in the entire NFL.
Three of those seven came in the Vikings' last game against the Denver Broncos, so one way which the franchise has decided to combat this problem is to make the 25-year-old wear boxing gloves during training. This will surely help reduce the amount of holding penalties he causes during games.
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His fellow cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said, via ESPN.com: “I’ve heard of that technique before; putting boxing gloves on, and make a guy just cover with his feet and his eyes. I think it’s actually a good thing for him.
"We know he’s a very physical guy — it shows. With seven penalties on the year, we’re just trying to get it down, and help him get it down. We’re just trying to go out there and be teammates. We want to laugh and joke with him, let him know it’s not a thing that coach is insulting you on, or anything like that. We’re just trying to get you better.”
I'm sure it was funny to watch Rhodes train with boxing gloves on, and I wouldn't be surprised if more NFL teams do something like this to help cut down holding penalties.
The three penalties the 25-year-old caused in the 23-20 loss against the Broncos last time out resulted in points for the AFC West side. It's fair to say these points could have been avoided if Rhodes was more disciplined in defending instead of causing penalties.
If this technique works for Rhodes, expect a lot more NFL teams to implement it to those that cause too many holding penalties on their rosters.