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Redskins’ proposed rule changes deserve serious consideration by NFL

Mar 18, 2016, 9:15 AM EDT


The NFL announced 19 proposed rule changes for the 2016 season plus some procedural changes. They will be considered during the owners meetings starting on Sunday. Let’s look at some of them, including some proposed by the Redskins, and give them a thumbs up or down.

Permanently moves the line of scrimmage for Try kicks to the defensive team’s 15-yard line, and allows the defense to return any missed Try.

Thumbs up—The move of the point after touchdown back to the 15 last year was a temporary change. It added some interest and excitement to the PAT so it should stay. Second part should be to move the line of scrimmage for a try for two to the one yard line to encourage that more.

Disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

Thumbs up—This would be ejection for multiple instances of taunting, throwing punches, etc., not for personal fouls committed before the whistle. This conduct is presumably in the player’s control and if he is out of control he should be ejected.

By Baltimore; to amend Rule 5, Sections 3, Articles 1 and 2 (Changes in Position) to require players to wear jersey vests with numbers appropriate for their positions.

Thumbs down—Really, Ravens? Vests over the jersey when a tackle lines up as a tight end? You’re better than that.

By Baltimore; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Articles 1, 4, and 5 (Instant Replay) to provide each team with three challenges and expand reviewable plays

Thumbs down/up—In favor of expanding replay to everything except a list of defined plays including offensive and defensive holding, illegal contact, and pass interference, among others. If the call was wrong and there is indisputable visual evidence to indicate that it should be changeable. But with automatic replays on scoring plays and turnovers there is no need for a coach to have three challenges.

By Washington; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, Articles 1, 4, 6 and 7 (Overtime procedures) to eliminate overtime periods in preseason games. 14.

Thumbs up—I don’t know why this needs to be debated at all. There is absolutely no point in risking injuries by playing for a pointless “win” in a meaningless game. But the Redskin proposed this last year and it was rejected.

By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 4 (Reviewable Plays) to subject personal foul penalties to Instant Replay review. 15.

Thumbs up—I might oppose this if the officials were not told to throw the flag when in doubt, to err on the side of player safety. If you’re creating a gray area like that you need to have a mechanism to correct it.

By Washington; to amend Rule 15, Section 2, Article 1 (Coaches’ Challenge) to eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two Instant Replay challenges in order to be awarded a third challenge.

Thumbs down—They want a third challenge if either of the first two challenges is successful. As noted above, with automatic challenges you don’t need extras. In fact, I’d go the other way. Give each coach one challenge and if they are successful on that they get another one. This will encourage coaches to save them for critical situations and prevent these “oh, what the heck” challenges over five-yard gains.

If you want to peruse all of the details of all of the proposed playing rule changes you can find the 62-page PDF here. The Redskins also proposed some procedural changes; these are detailed on Let’s look at a couple of those:

The Redskins are proposing an increase in the number of Active List players for regular season games played on a day other than Sunday or Monday (excluding the opening weekend of the season) and for games played in another country from 45 to 49 players per club. They cite player safety for this proposal.

Thumbs down—This is mostly for Thursday night games. I think with just four inactives, as you go on later in the season there will be too many situations where one team will be able to dress more players than the other, creating a competitive imbalance. Perhaps a compromise with 47 players active for Thursday nights would be more equitable.

The Redskins are proposing to permit a player who has suffered a concussion and has not yet been cleared for participation to be placed on the club’s Exemption List and be replaced by a player on the team’s practice squad on a game-by-game basis until the injured player is cleared.

Thumbs up—Baseball has a similar rule in place and if MLB is a step ahead of you, it’s time to take a serious look at making a change. This is a smart change and I’m not sure why it should even be debated.

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 18, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    Really, Ravens? Vests over the jersey when a tackle lines up as a tight end? You’re better than that.

    No, Rich. They aren’t!

    • sidepull - Mar 18, 2016 at 1:44 PM

      Agree. Harbawl is still not over being out-coached by BB. Its over Harbawl. Move on.

  2. bangkokben - Mar 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM

    Rich, I’m with you on most of these. I do differ on the number of challenges thing or being allowed a third challenge if correct on either. Take the Super Bowl, where it appeared to all reasonable folks, that the Panthers’ receiver did maintain his hand under the ball the entire time of the “catch.” Yet, this play was not overturned because what the NFL deems to be or not to be a catch on any particular play apparently is irreversible. Take also the “catch” DeSean Jackson made against Jacksonville on the Griffin ankle injury. The defender jumps on Jackson while Jackson is on the ground with the ball “caught” between his arms. The action of the defender dislodged the ball. Had the defender just made contact – catch. Player safety? Seems like with the current catch rule, just jump on the guy – worst thing that can happen is you get to high and while causing an incompletion you incur a 15-yard “targeting” penalty. Back to the Super Bowl, the Panthers then were put in a predicament minutes later still in the first half when Manning was sacked but ruled an incompletion (details on this one are a bit fuzzy except for the fact that refs obviously blew the call). The result was either 3rd and manageable or 3rd and forgetaboutit. The Panthers, I believe, challenged the play, got the reversal and played the rest of the game and entire second half without a challenge. This was needless since replay didn’t get it right in one case. I’d be fine if teams would be awarded a third challenge if one call was reversed ONLY in the post-season, since the pressure is on everyone to get it right including the referees. Otherwise the NFL needs to come clean (behind the scenes) and acknowledge to coaches that the chances of non-catches being reversed and considered catches are extremely slim – like unless it is nowhere close to the ground or a sideline catch determining the number of feet in bounds. If it involves the ground and the player loses it or the ball moves – no catch.

    • hail74 - Mar 18, 2016 at 5:49 PM

      I remember that desean play. He was just lying on his back with the ball on his chest cradled with two arms then the defender hits him and slides over top of him. To this day I feel that should’ve been down by contact but was ruled no catch instead. I am totally behind reviewing personal fouls. Early in the season one of our DBs was called for one when all he did was stand in place while the receiver caught the ball turned and fell into him and there wasn’t any head contact. Worst call I’ve ever seen.

    • bowlregard - Mar 19, 2016 at 3:34 PM

      I was thinking the same thing. And in cases like this you get the call going one way, and announcers and their referee consultant going the other. Maybe a team should only lose its third challenge if the call is confirmed rather than just stands.

      • bangkokben - Mar 19, 2016 at 5:33 PM

        That is a reasonable standard. If you challenge and it is confirmed that “you are wasting the games time” then no third challenge, if the “refs can’t confirm you are “holding up the game,” then a third challenge isn’t really going to make the game that much longer.

        My last replay gripe is the area where the coaches can’t challenge (automatic and within the final two-minutes). In these cases, the replay official does not have the urgency to stop the game and get a correct call on behalf of the team that may be benefited by replay. This official should get err on the side of caution, shouldn’t he? Isn’t the reason he has the power is to get it right? But instead the team that may have a call reversed (and on offense) simply hurries up the game and takes a quick snap in order to not lose the ball. Opposing coaches are aware of this stratagem. Either allow them to throw their flags with the usual consequences or get the replay official off his arse.

  3. bangkokben - Mar 18, 2016 at 12:20 PM

    Reading between the line on the four letter’s Kirk Cousins piece, it seems clear that Cousins is speaking his agent’s language – that he’s fine playing under the tag and he’s not looking for a contract with incentives.

    “I never played football thinking about money, and going forward I never want to play football thinking about money,” Cousins said. “That’s why I think it’s important for me to play with a salary that’s just locked in. I don’t want to be thinking about individual accomplishments or rewards that would boost my salary or up my numbers. I just want to go out and play football and try and win games. So whether I’m making what I made last year [$660,000] or this year, I just want to play football and treat it like I did back in high school and love playing. It’s a tremendous blessing to be paid to play this game the way I will this year.”

    • Chad - Mar 18, 2016 at 1:57 PM

      Wrong article bro.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 18, 2016 at 2:45 PM

        No, bra. It’s over on CSN, and some of us like this commenting system better.

        • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2016 at 3:26 PM

          Thanks for saving me the trouble. The CSN piece also, refers the original four letter. And I do prefer the commenting here. I save my “pearls” of wisdom for ONLY the “swine” here.

        • captblood3000 - Mar 18, 2016 at 3:55 PM

          We prefer to think of ourselves as hogs, Ben.

  4. kenlinkins - Mar 18, 2016 at 3:40 PM

    I still hope that some teams start pushing to make the field wider by about 4 to 5 yards to reduce injuries. Players have become so much bigger and faster that playing on the same size field for the past 50 years as had the effect on making the field smaller. If the NFL wants to cut down on the “big hits” and “targeting” by players looking for “highlight” impacts, IMO this rule change would be the best idea. By making the defense cover more area you open up the running game, make the deep out pass more of a risk reward play, would also bring back the screen play and sweeps. IMO every NFL stadium could handle a wider field if they reworked the layout. I do not know why the PlayersUnion have not pushed for this or even had a study performed. As always, Your Thoughts are welcome on why this would be a good / bad idea.

    • goback2rfk - Mar 18, 2016 at 11:46 PM

      This could be one of the worst ideas I have heard in awhile. Lets leave it at that!

    • bowlregard - Mar 19, 2016 at 3:37 PM

      Sounds like what you want is Canadian football.

      Maybe the sideline area needs to be expanded.

  5. bowlregard - Mar 19, 2016 at 3:40 PM

    I agree that if you are going to expel someone for two personal fouls, then they need to be reviewed. I’ve seen lots of bad calls. Lots of times it looks from one angle like someone was hit with the crown of the helmet, while the other view shows it was actually shoulder pad to the chest or something. Archives

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