Packers Daily Links: Proposed Rule Changes Include Moving Kickoffs

Several rule changes were proposed yesterday by the NFL's competition committee. That and more in today's Daily Links...

The NFL's competition committee has proposed moving kickoffs up from the 30 to the 35-yard line. Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin writes about how that may affect the Packers. "The rule change isn’t being suggested with the Packers, who over the past two seasons have had a penchant for allowing momentum-turning kickoff returns while ranking 15th and 20th in the league in return average allowed, in mind," writes Wilde. "Rather, Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, the chairman of the competition committee, said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday that it’s because of the number of injuries sustained on kickoffs." Under this proposal, touchbacks would be placed at the 25-yard line, although touchbacks on other plays such as punts would remain unchanged and be brought out to the 20. Additionally, wedge of blocking of any kind, even two-man wedges, would be outlawed. And players other than the kicker could line up no further back than five yards behind the kickoff.

Rule changes involving player safety is the focus of an article from Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In 2011 players will be made aware that illegal hits will be subject to suspension. "The suspensions will be used as deterrents to limit the growing number of ugly helmet-to-helmet and defender-on-defenseless player shots," writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "According to [NFL director of football operations Ray] Anderson, offenses will be traced over a two-year period for the sake of determining repeat violators." Silverstein goes onto say how it's possible safety Nick Collins would have been suspended for three unnecessary roughness penalties last season.

Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has more information on the proposed re-write of the "defenseless player rule." Demovsky writes, "In the defenseless player rule, the idea is to standardize the protection for all eight categories of the defense player. Those eight categories are: the quarterback or the player in the act of or just after throwing a pass, the receiver attempting to catch a pass (including the receiver who hasn’t completed a catch or had time to protect himself), the runner who’s already in the grasp of a tackler and whose forward progress has been stopped, a kickoff or punt returner attempting to field a kick in the air, a player on the ground at the end of a play, a kicker or punter during the kick or during the return, the quarterback at any time after a change of possession and a player who receives a blindside block."

The rules involving instant replay are also under consideration, according to Bill Huber of Packer Report. "All scoring plays would be reviewed without a coaching having to use one of his challenges," writes Huber. "The change does not apply to non-scoring plays, meaning, for instance, if a receiver is ruled to have not gotten both feet inbounds in the end zone, the coach would have to challenge the ruling of no touchdown." Furthermore, under this proposed rule, coaches would only have two challenges per game. Current rules state that if a coach is successful on his first two challenges, he is granted a third.

During an online chat over at ESPN, Nick Collins said the Packers should target the offensive line during the upcoming draft. "Probably get another OL guy," Collins is quoted as saying by Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. "I think that's the direction I would go if I were the GM. But who knows what they're going to go after." Of course he didn't say safety.

Outside linebacker Erik Walden paid a visit to his alma mater at Middle Tennessee State University during their spring practices. "Walden is spending his offseason in both Murfreesboro [Tenn.] and Florida," writes Adam Sparks for the Tennessean. "He routinely works out in MTSU's weight room. Walden has one year left on his contract with the Packers, but he said he's hoping to get an extension." Walden also said he hasn't received his Super Bowl ring yet and don't know when he will due to the labor uncertainty.

Several mock drafts are looked at by Rick Klauer of the Journal Sentinel who notes the names coming up for the Packers are Adrian Clayborn, Justin Houston, Brooks Reed, Muhammad Wilkerson and Martez Wilson.

Punter Tim Masthay's 2010 season is evaluated over at AllGreenBayPackers.com.

The offensive line draft class is looked at from a Packers point-of-view by Michael Davidsen of Green Bay Packer Nation.

Mount Union wide receiver Cecil Shorts cites Greg Jennings and Donald Driver as players he watches and learns from.

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Comments (4)

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hyperRevue's picture

March 17, 2011 at 08:38 am

I get all the "defenseless player" definitions except for "the quarterback...in the act of throwing a pass."

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dgtalmn's picture

March 17, 2011 at 10:15 am

Brian, please review your very first sentence. I think those numbers should be reversed.

Thanks for all you do!

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ohenry78's picture

March 17, 2011 at 10:20 am

Shouldn't it read from the 30 yard line to the 35 yard line? Otherwise they'd be moving it backward.

I'm sure TT is fine with this. No need to try to get a kick returner this way -- having the guy kneel in the endzone would give them better field position (at the 25) than they had most of last year having guys return, I'm sure.

Edit: egtalmn got his post in before mine. Oh well.

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 17, 2011 at 06:17 pm

I guess if they have to have 18 games, they have to change some rules for the sake of safety.

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