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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 Playbook: 3 quotes that stood out during OTAs

Redskins Playbook: 3 quotes that stood out during OTAs

With Memorial Day weekend between now and the Redskins next batch of OTAs, let's look at the three best quotes from the first organized team session. For Redskins fans, the biggest looming issue remains the contract negotiations between Kirk Cousins and the organization, but there are plenty of other spots worth watching. 

1) Bad recruiting - A long-term deal might not get done, but that doesn't mean the talks aren't moving along. Cousins sounded almost optimistic but also knows that football is never a sure thing. To explain, he told a story from his high school days:

I’ve just kind of learned from previous experiences and if you know my story going back to high school, I played my senior year of high school with no scholarship offers, in fact there was a coach here from Northwestern today who was my recruiting coach at Northwestern, he’s still the running backs coach 10 years later at Northwestern and I was getting recruited by Northwestern, wanted a scholarship, they didn’t offer me, and it was just a reminder that you never know what’s going to happen. 

2) Sky's the limit - Despite the high-cost addition of Josh Norman, the Redskins secondary in 2016 was hardly a strength. Much of that came from poor safety play, where the team had few experienced options and spent little. This offseason, Washington invested in the position, bringing in D.J. Swearinger from the Arizona Cardinals. The new safety thinks the secondary can become a strength, quickly.

We have a lot of talent. If we work day in and day out I think this group can be one of the best. We just got to keep working, keep gelling to get everybody on the same page, the sky’s the limit.

3) Does it even matter - The NFL gives out a lot of awards, but at least publicly, there is no hardware for the funniest head coach. If there was a trophy, Jay Gruden should win it. Earlier this week the league announced a number of rule changes, most noticeably a change to stodgy TD celebration penalties. Another rule change: Overtime will shrink from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. Gruden wasn't impressed when asked about it. 

Who cares?

Bonus - Who you calling fat? Gruden is too funny to only make the list once. Asked about second-year running back Robert Kelley, the coach made sure people know the difference between a nickname and reality.

That was just a nickname, he wasn’t actually fat. I think when you’re a 22-year-old kid, 21-year-old guy out of Tulane and you understand the wear and tear that the NFL is going to give you, you better get yourself into shape if you want to maintain a career in the NFL as a running back.

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Need to Know: Are the Redskins one of the 10 most talented NFL teams?

Need to Know: Are the Redskins one of the 10 most talented NFL teams?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 26, 18 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 145 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 107 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 18
—Training camp starts (7/27) 62
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 76

A top 10 team? Or No. 22?

Former Cowboys VP and current SiriusXM commentator and NFL.com writer Gill Brandt did a list of his top 10 NFL teams in terms of talent. At the top of the list was the consensus pick for the best team in the league, the New England Patriots. Also on the list were some of the regulars on lists like this one—the Steelers, Falcons, Cowboys, etc.

But the team at No. 10 on the list was something of a surprise. Since it’s being mentioned here you’ve probably figured out that it’s the Washington Redskins.

Brandt points out that they have a significant number of quality players in what should be the prime seasons of their careers, which he says, “portends good things”.

Judging talent is always subjective, especially when you don’t know how new players who arrived as free agents or draft picks will fit in. But good players are good players. Do the Redskins really have enough of them to stack up as a top-10 team?

One way to gauge this is to try to figure out how many of a team’s players could start for at least half of the other teams in the NFL. That is subjective but that’s what we do here so here we go.

On the offensive line, Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses could start for most teams. Of the skill players, Kirk Cousins, Jordan Reed, Terrelle Pryor, and Jamison Crowder are on the list.

Defense is a little trickier since not all the players in the front seven would be scheme fits everywhere. But I think it’s safe to say that most teams could find some way to utilize Jonathan Allen, Ryan Kerrigan, and Zach Brown as starters. Josh Norman is probably the only member of the secondary who would qualify here although with as weak as the safety position is around the league you could make a case for D.J. Swearinger.

Not counting the safety, that makes a total of 10 who start for at least 16 teams, just less than half of the starters. There are some who could make it there is they take some steps towards reaching their potential. Brandy mentions Josh Doctson and Preston Smith. I would add Spencer Long and, if healthy, Junior Galette.

On the other side of the coin, where are the Redskins clearly below average? Left guard is the weak spot on the O-line. While the running backs aren’t awful I’m not sure many teams would trade their group for Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson. Despite the addition of Allen, the D-line remains suspect.

It is interesting to note that the Redskins are one of three NFC East teams on Brandy’s list; the Cowboys are fifth and the Giants are sixth.

You can look at the strong and weak points of the Redskins and write almost any 2017 storyline you want to. Peter King of The MMQB has his doubts about Pryor and Doctson being able to adequately compensate for the free agency losses of Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson and his power ranking have Washington at 22nd.

Two respected analysts, two very different views of how the Redskins stack up in 2017. We have a little more than 100 days before we start to find out who’s right.

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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