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Need to Know: Five NFL rule changes that should be approved without debate

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Need to Know: Five NFL rule changes that should be approved without debate

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 21, 17 days before the Redskins start their offseason workouts.

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Here are five of the proposed NFL rule changes that should pass with no debate:

Permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision, except scoring plays which are automatically reviewed—I was scoffed at by some when I suggested in this space a couple of months ago that a coach should be able to use his two challenges on anything he thinks should be reviewed. If there’s no indisputable video evidence, the coach loses the challenge and the timeout. Well, now no less than Bill Belichick agrees with me as this is a Patriots proposal.

Re-organize the rules about what can be reviewed and what cannot be reviewed, including making the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play reviewable—OK, if you don’t want to open up offside calls to review how about the big, obvious things like the fumble that Bowman recovered in the NFC title game while being injured?

Allow the referee to consult with members of the NFL officiating department during replay reviews. The referee would be able to speak with the command center in New York to help in reviewing a play—Can you tell I don’t like the replay process? This would let officials in New York do quality control over the review process and they could get a head start on the process while the referee is talking to the coach, making the announcement of the challenge, jogging to the replay booth, and getting the headset on. Better replay calls in less time? Sign me up.

Extend the goal posts an additional five feet above the cross bar—If it increases the accuracy of calls—and this clearly would—just do it and move on. Surprised this needs a three-fourths vote of the owners to get changed. It’s common sense.

Enforce defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage from the previous spot, rather than from the end of the run or from the spot of the foul—This makes perfect sense. If a team tackles the quarterback by the facemask deep in the pocket, it could only end being penalized five yards past the previous spot. A personal foul penalty should hurt. But if they do this, they need to mark off offensive personal fouls on the offense that are behind the line from the spot of the foul. If there’s a chop block five yards behind the line, enforce it from there.

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Timeline

—It’s been 82 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 170 days until they play another one.

—Days until: Offseason workouts start 17; NFL Draft 48; Training camp starts 124

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]