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Redskins’ proposed rule changes deserve serious consideration by NFL

Redskins’ proposed rule changes deserve serious consideration by NFL

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 Redskins.com. 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.

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Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Redskins' Jay Gruden is looking for Kirk Cousins to become a coach on the field this year

Gruden is looking for Cousins to become a Redskins coach on the field

While it’s still possible for the Redskins to trade quarterback Kirk Cousins, team president Bruce Allen has said that no talks have taken place and coach Jay Gruden is looking forward to having Cousins at the helm for the third straight year.

“He’s getting ready, he’s excited about the season, been in contact about what he wants to work on,” said Gruden on Tuesday at the NFL meetings in Phoenix. “We’ve addressed that so when OTAs hit we can hit hard. It’s great to have a guy who’s been in the system for two years now can just jump right in to hard core situational work, just really fine tune the other things like cadence, just the little things you want to fine tune without starting from scratch. He can be a big part in the teaching process also with the young players.”

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Actually, Cousins has been “in the system” for all three years that Gruden has been the head coach in Washington. He started five game in 2014 before turnover problems sent him to the bench. The following seasons Gruden named Cousins the starter at the end of August and he has played every meaningful snap since then.

Cousins has played well, passing for over 9,000 yards and leading the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1997-1997. Gruden will be looking for more out of his quarterback, who will be making $24 million this year if he plays on the franchise tag.

“In a perfect world, you want your quarterback to be an extension of the coaching staff,” said Gruden. “I think that’s why you look at the great quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, they’re extensions of the coaching staff. The coach doesn’t have to go out and tell everybody what to do all the time. Sometimes the quarterback can just go right out and whisper it to them. It helps that we’re saying the same thing and speaking the same language and that takes time.

“It’s not perfect yet but being in the third year of the system I think he’ll be a lot more comfortable in that role. I hope he does because we can’t see everything out there on the field all the time and it’s good to have the corrections come within the team and not just from the coaches all the time.”

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Although Cousins’ future with the team is very uncertain—even if he is around this year there is a good chance he will be able to leave as a free agent in 2018—the quarterback and Gruden will do the only thing that they can do. The will get ready for the coming season and let the chips fall where they may after that.

Gruden pointed out that Cousins is not the only player on the roster with just one year left on his deal. Indeed, WR Terrelle Pryor, OT Morgan Moses, CB Bashaud Breeland, and C Spencer Long are all set to be free agents a year from now.

“We’re going to have a number of guys on one-year contracts and I fully anticipate them coming in and working their tails off and being prepared and doing everything they can to win a championship,” said Gruden. That’s what it’s all about. And at the end of the year we’ll come back to the negotiating table to try to get something done. But ideally, you’d like to have everybody under long-term contracts and that’s obviously not possible.”

Gruden confirmed that Cousins was in Tampa yesterday along with some of his receivers including Pryor, Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder getting in some work with Gruden’s brother Jon. It looks like it will be business as usual unless and until something happens change things.

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

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Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Need to Know: Redskins' rule change rejected but others will make game safer, move faster

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 29, 29 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 19
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 44
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 56
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 108
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 156

Rule changes with commentary

—Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

Tandler: While it’s a fun play when it’s executed properly I can see the player safety angle of it. I’m not sure why teams didn’t just run some placement kicks with delayed snaps to get a free five yards because once a player has committed to the leap he can’t stop.

—Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. 

Tandler: One of the few times that this came into play was in Week 3 when Giants center Weston Richburg got the boot for multiple penalties against the Redskins. I suppose most Redskins fans will be fine with it until a Washington player gets kicked out of a key game. Last year the rule was experimental and this makes it permanent

—Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only. 

Tandler: I think this is kind of a dumb rule but it's designed to reduce kickoff returns and they did go down from 1,138 in 2015 to 1,012 last season. That’s an 11 percent drop and they want to give the experimental rule another year to see if that was just a statistical anomaly. It should be noted here that the Redskins’ proposal to place a kickoff that goes through the uprights at the 20-yard line did muster 11 votes but that’s far short of the 24 needed to pass it. The No Fun League indeed.

—Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection. Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped. 

Tandler: These are two different rules but I’m combining them into once comment—good for player safety, not sure why it took them so long to pass these rules.

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—Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews. 

Tandler: This is good for so many reasons. We should get better, more consistent decisions (although there’s no guarantee that my evergreen “Siri, what is a catch” tweet will be retired permanently). And the time that replay uses up should be greatly reduced.

—Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock. 

Tandler: This keeps teams from grabbing multiple receivers to prevent a Hail Mary attempt at the end of half or a game and prevents them from holding multiple players on a punt attempt to run out the clock at the end of a game. It’s a loophole that was closed, forcing a team to play defense or execute a punt instead of committing intentional penalties. The key is that the clock is reset to where it was when the ball was snapped.

—Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Tandler: This just takes the penalties that result in 10-second runoffs in the last minute of a half, mostly false starts when the clock is running, and makes them illegal any time after the two-minute warning.

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

Tandler on Twitter

Responding to a tweet saying that the rule to put replay in the hands of official at the NFL offices:

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