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NFL replay under review: Teams to vote on 24 rule changes at upcoming meetings

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NFL replay under review: Teams to vote on 24 rule changes at upcoming meetings

The NFL owners, head coaches, and other executives are getting together in Arizona for their annual meetings. The focus is frequently on rule changes, tweaks to the way the game is played on the field and how it is administered. Here are the 24 proposed changes (via NFL.com) with some comments were warranted.

A vote of 75 percent of the owners (24) is needed to pass any rule changes.

Of the proposed modifications, 13 would affect the instant replay review process:

  • Allow coaches with available timeouts and challenges to challenge any official’s decision except scoring plays and turnovers. Comment: Why not? If a coach believes there is indisputable visual evidence that the officials got any call (or non-call) wrong he should be able to throw the challenge flag. If they burn their challenges early, so be it.
  • Subject every foul that is called to instant replay review.
  • Give teams three challenges, eliminating the need for a team be successful on each of its first two challenges to be awarded a third. Comment: This one was proposed by the Redskins. Why, so Jay Gruden can have even more fruitless challenges? He had one successful challenge in eight tries in 2014.
  • Use instant replay to review personal foul calls.
  • Review any penalty that results in an automatic first down.
  • From Tennessee and Indianapolis: Use instant replay on fouls against defenseless players. Tennessee proposes that fouls for hits on defenseless receivers can be created in replay when a completed pass is reversed to  incomplete . Indianapolis proposed that coaches be allowed to challenge fouls against defenseless players without losing a timeout on an unsuccessful challenge. Comment: Perhaps something needs to be done here. It’s such a tough call for the officials to make at full speed. We often see a player get flagged on a Sunday and then not fined during the following week, an indication that replay review found no violation.
  • Let replay officials initiate reviews of plays that would result in a score or change of possession if the on-field ruling is reversed.
  • Allow replay to be used to resolve clock issues. Tennessee wants review to apply to the status of the game clock on the final play of either half or overtime; its proposal would be in effect for only one year. Chicago wants replay to apply to the status of the play clock.
  • Place fixed cameras on all of the field’s boundary lines. Comment: The NFL couldn’t afford that! Oh, wait, they could. Easily. Make it happen.
  • Let stadium-produced video be used for instant replay review.

Two proposals would affect the PAT process:

  • From Indianapolis: Reward teams that score a touchdown and successfully convert a two-point conversion with an opportunity to attempt a 50-yard field goal for an additional point (creating a chance for 9 total points: 6+2+1). Comment: Un, no.
  • Move the line of scrimmage for PAT kicks to the 15-yard line. Comment: I’d go with the 25 but anything that makes the PAT a little more difficult is fine with me.

Other proposals:

  • Allow both teams to have at least one offensive possession in overtime, even if the team possessing the ball first scores a touchdown. Comment: Hey, how about this—play some defense in overtime. Or, better yet, win the game in the 60 minutes that precede overtime. From here it’s not too far down the slippery slope to giving out participation trophies.
  • Prohibit defensive players on punts from pushing teammates into the offensive formation at the line of scrimmage.
  • Allow any offensive player to be called for an illegal “peel-back” block when the blocker goes below the waist toward his own goal line.

Which rule changes do you support? Let us know in the comments!

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Projecting the Redskins' 2017 roster—Defense

Projecting the Redskins' 2017 roster—Defense

The Redskins are looking at potential free agents and continuing with the draft process as they try to move team from residing in the middle of the pack in the NFL to becoming annual contenders to go deep into the playoffs. The process is all about trying to build a solid 53-man depth chart. Let’s get out the crystal ball and see what that depth chart might look like.

Earlier this week we looked at the offense; today the defense is up. Although there could be a change to a 4-3 base defense in the making depending on who the coordinator is, we’ll line them up in a 3-4 until there is word to the contrary.

*Pending unrestricted free agent

Defensive line

Starters: Chris Baker*, draft pick/free agent X 2
Backups: Matt Ioannidis, Ricky Jean Francois, Anthony Lanier

It seems that Baker wants to stay and give that the Redskins would be starting their D-line virtually from scratch without him the chances of coming up with a deal seem strong. I will spend the entire 99 days between now and the draft saying that it’s not a given that they will take a defensive lineman, or any defensive player, with their top draft pick. But someone like Malik McDowell of Michigan State sure would fit in well here along with a free agent like Bennie Logan of the Eagles. The organization will be looking for leaps forward from Ioannidis and Lanier.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Outside linebacker

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Backups: Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Lynden Trail

Although nothing is certain until pen is put to paper, the chances of Galette giving it another go after two torn Achilles in two years are strong. Trail and Houston Bates will battle for a fifth spot, if there is one. Given Smith’s inconsistency and the uncertainty of Galette’s health it wouldn’t be surprising to see them draft an edge rusher.

Inside linebacker

Starters: Will Compton, free agent
Backups: Martrell Spaight, Mason Foster, draft pick

I’m putting Compton there in dry erase marker, not in Sharpie. They love his leadership and work ethic but he must make more plays. I have a free agent starting beside him because it’s a tough position for a rookie to learn. But if they spend a high draft pick that player could jump into a starting job quickly.  Foster moves into the nickel role that he performed well after Su’a Cravens went out with an injury. Steven Daniels, a 2016 seventh-round pick who spent the year on injured reserve, could push Spaight for a job.

Cornerback

Starters: Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar
Backups: Kendall Fuller (nickel), Tharold Simon, free agent/draft pick

This could go in a lot of different directions. The only spot set in stone is Norman’s. I have Bashaud Breeland moving to safety, which is something of a speculative hot take. If they make that move, they could spend a high draft pick or substantial free agent money on a corner or they could stay in-house with Dunbar or Fuller. Simon could make the team and contribute or he could be cut.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Safety

Starters: Su’a Cravens, Bashaud Breeland
Backups: Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, draft pick

Safeties are hard to find. In college, potentially good safeties gravitate towards cornerback, where the NFL money is better. If a good one hits the free agent market, the laws of supply and demand push the price up beyond the value of the position. For those reasons, the Redskins might try Breeland at safety. Some in the organization have believed for a couple of years that safety is his best position. Cravens announced that he would be moving to safety so that change is firm. Duke Ihenacho, who is a free agent, could be back but I think he moves along. Blackmon is a good veteran reserve who can play nickel also. Even though he made a key interception when forced into duty against the Eagles, it still seems that they don’t trust Everett at safety and perhaps a mid-round pick will replace him.

Specialists: LS Nick Sundberg*, P Tress Way, PK Dustin Hopkins

I predict that Sundberg will be the first of the team’s pending free agents to agree to a contract. Hopkins may get some camp competition but it is unlikely to be of more than the token variety.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 18, 99 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 43
NFL free agency starts 51
First Sunday of 2017 season 236

The coordinator search and more

Did the Redskins underachieve this year? I know that a metric like Football Outsiders' DVOA is not the final word in the quality of a team but looking at it year after year it usually does work out that the teams with the better numbers in DVOA usually win more games than those with worse numbers. The Redskins finished 2016 eighth in DVOA. Considering that 12 teams make the playoffs, that could be considered a playoff quality team. Yet 15 teams finished with a better record than they did. I’m sure there are some holes in the formula for the stat but just looking at that it sure appears that the Redskins did leave some wins out on the field.

John Keim is reporting that the Redskins are prepared to switch to a 4-3 defense if that is what their new defensive coordinator prefers. They have been in the 3-4 since Mike Shanahan arrived in 2010. Whether it is because of the scheme or lack of draft and free agent resources spent on the line and at safety, the defense hasn’t been very good. As Keim notes, they will need to make some personnel changes if they do change but with a full load of draft picks and $62 million in cap space this may be the time to do it.

I expected the angst that was all over Twitter when word of the Rob Ryan interview got out. But it’s pretty dumb to get all worked up over an interview (with all due respect to readers here who may have been upset). It’s not a hiring. Look, somehow or another Ryan managed to stay employed as an NFL defensive coordinator for 12 straight seasons. I don’t know how to research it without going through some very time consuming and tedious steps but I’d be willing to bet that only about a few dozen men in the history of the league have been able to remain a defensive coordinator for that many season in a row. The organization can learn something from sitting down and talking to him for a few hours.

I understand that we want things to talk about in a relatively slow time. But I just don’t see why there is fear out there over the possibility that Kyle Shanahan will get hired as the coach of the 49ers and somehow steal Kirk Cousins away to be his quarterback. The Redskins can maintain his rights via the franchise tag. They could tag Cousins and trade him to the 49ers but there would be a heavy price in terms of draft picks. But while it’s possible, it’s unlikely. The chances are very, very good that Cousins will be in a Redskins uniform this year via either the tag or a long-term deal. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.