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NFL AM: Rules Proposals Range From Great To Foolish

The rules committee is evaluating proposals, the Browns are evaluating quarterbacks, and the Jaguars will have competition at left tackle.

Pat Donovan

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Competition committee mulls rule proposals:

The NFL Competition Committee met with the media last week and described some of the 15 proposed rule changes that the committee will address during the owner’s meetings.  There a couple of rather interesting ideas that could make some sense, and other’s that well, don’t.

Let’s start with the absurd; The Baltimore Ravens actually proposed a rule that a player checking into the game as an eligible receiver (seen usually when teams run a tackle eligible play) would have to wear something over his jersey to declare him as eligible. This is among the worst ideas the committee has ever had to ponder, and would likely have almost no chance to pass, especially because the committee knows this is simply a petty jab at the New England Patriots after the Ravens had trouble adjusting to the Patriots shifting eligible players in the playoffs a couple seasons ago.

One proposal that makes a ton of sense, and has been brought up by Patriots coach Bill Belichick for some time now, but was actually proposed to the committee this year by the Buffalo Bills is to “permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision except scoring plays and turnovers.” (which are automatically reviewed)

The Washington Redskins proposed that personal fouls be added to the list of reviewable plays.

Whether it’s the Redskins proposal for personal fouls or the Bills proposal to allow teams to challenge anything at all, the rules should move in that direction. A pass interference or personal foul call can be as big as any turnover, especially in key moments. Those kind of plays and penalties should be reviewable.

Another proposal that makes a lot of sense came from the Kansas City Chiefs, who propose that yards should be added to the distance needed to pick up a first down when a team is penalized with a half the distance to the goal penalty. It seems crazy that a guy can get a personal foul at the two-yard-line and only cost his team a yard. Adding the 14 yards on the other end only makes sense.

Hue Jackson has “great meeting,” with Robert Griffin III:

The Cleveland Browns need a quarterback. There’s no debate about that. However, if you listen knew head coach Hue Jackson, it seems Cleveland could be in the market for a pair of signal callers.

While he won’t say that the team will use its first-round pick, the second-overall on a quarterback, Jackson has made it quite clear he expects the team to address the position in the upcoming NFL Draft next month. However, despite their interest in drafting a signal caller, the Browns have been looking to add a more veteran quarterback to the roster as well as the team has weighed the options of trading for disgruntled San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who had reportedly expressed interest in playing for Cleveland, and free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Recently it seems the Browns have backed away from the idea of trading for Kaepernick as they’ve met with Griffin, which according to their new head coach went very well.

“It was a great meeting. I think he’s obviously a tremendous talent and a great young man,” Jackson told NFL Media’s Steve Wyche. “He had a lot of success early in Washington and then things just didn’t work out. Those things happen in the National Football League. But at the same time we are going through our process. We are going to be very diligent in what we are doing — trying to make sure that we put the right quarterbacks on our football team and in that quarterback room. And that’s one of my biggest responsibilities and also one of our organization’s biggest responsibilities.”

It’s been the handling of quarterback Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals offense which helped Jackson land his second head coaching gig, and there’s no question the handling of, and success of the next Browns quarterback will have a great impact on how successful Jackson is at this crucial moment in his career. While there’s no way Jackson should have suffered the fate he did in Oakland, people won’t remember how unfair that situation was if he flames out in Cleveland. While the Browns gig may be Jackson’s second, if it goes horribly wrong, it may also be his last.

Luke Joeckel and Kelvin Beachum to compete for left tackle spot:

Some problems are good to have. As strange as it seems to write this, and it likely feels for you to read this, the Jacksonville Jaguars have one of those good problems, because they’ve got two players they feel could start for them at left tackle after the team signed Kelvin Beachum who will compete with former first-round pick Luke Joeckel for the starting left tackle spot.

While some may have assumed that Beachum would have been promised the position in attempt to sign the free agent, general manager David Caldwell says there will be a competition for the important spot.

“They’re going to compete and that’s been the central theme of our team since [Head Coach] Gus [Bradley] got here, is competition,” Caldwell said. “Wherever we can find somebody to come in and compete at a reasonable rate, we’ll do that no matter what the position is.”

While some would assume the signing of Beachum was bad news for Joeckel, Caldwell says he responded to the news “very favorably.”

“I think it’s great for him,” Caldwell said. “He likes competition, and a lot of credit to Kelvin, too: here’s a guy [Joeckel] who was the No. 2 pick in the draft and has started a lot of games for us. We told him, ‘If you want to come in and compete for it we’ll give you every opportunity to compete for it.’’

Caldwell says the team will let the competition at left tackle play out before deciding if the player who loses out will move to guard, or if right tackle Jeremy Parnell would be moved inside, but it’s a safe bet that you’ll see all three on the field for the team. Suddenly the Jaguars who were left thin on the offensive line after injuries a season ago are incredibly deep at tackle.

Jacksonville has had a very strong offseason, and as much as much of the talk has been about the defensive signings like Malik Jackson, the flexibility the Beachum signing has given the offensive line should not be overlooked.

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.

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