ASHBURN, VA (WTKR)- The sights and sounds of football are back, but they might look and sound a little bit different throughout much of training camp.
"I don't know if you guys noticed, but you guys didn't hear the crack of the helmets today," Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said.
Guardian Caps are in NFL training camps this year. The caps are cushions that are attached to the top of helmets, reducing the impact of collisions.
"What they'll do is they'll absorb some of the shock and take a lot of the shock off of the players' helmets and heads," Rivera pointed out.
Players are adjusting to the new piece of equipment, some more quickly than others, but once they get to work many say the caps are not even noticed.
"Usually with the helmet you hear a little banging, but with the Guardian Cap, you really don't hear or feel too much," running back Jaret Patterson pointed out. "That's definitely a plus."
"It adds a little bit of weight, it's a little bit heavier on the head, but it's supposed to protect us even more," added offensive tackle Sam Cosmi. "If another guy's using it, it's supposed to be 20 percent (less chance) that you'll get a concussion."
"You feel an extra piece of cushion up there, but it's nothing too cosmic that you can't play ball at the end of the day," linebacker Jamin Davis said.
It's an extra layer, but also an important one. The players News 3 spoke with were all in support of the effort to keep them safer.
"During this time it's fine," Cosmi said. "If it can help me and my head and all that stuff and protection, I'm all for protection."
"I touch the top of my helmet and I have this thing on, or I'm trying to buckle up and it's in the way," added Patterson. "It's just kind of annoying, but it's also for our protection so I'm all for it."
This year, the Guardian Caps are mandatory for offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers and tight ends through the second preseason game. Ron Rivera would not be surprised if they become standard procedure down the road.
"If this comes out and this really helps reduce it, I would imagine we would continue to find ways for player health and safety," the head coach said.