Thoughts on the Lockout and Proposed NFL Rule Changes

This sucks. This should be the time of year when teams like the Vikings and Redskins make headlines for the latest washed up veterans they are overpaying in free agency.

Instead, the owners have locked out the players; the players are suing the owners and the only people smiling are the lawyers who get to duke it out in court and bill them outrageous amounts for their time.

While there's a chance everyone comes to their senses by draft time, the more likely scenario is this thing drags along until August or September. If that happens, the Packers will be on a short list of teams who won't be hampered by a shut down offseason. The coaching staff is in place, as is the core of the Super Bowl champs.

With a number of key players coming back from injury, you can argue that getting the rookies up to speed will be less important to the Pack than it is in most years. Sure they could use an impact guy with their first round pick, but it won't be huge if they can't count on the rookie class this season.

It looks like we won't see any changes in playoff seeding this season, but kickoffs might look a lot different. There's a groundswell of support for moving kickoffs to the 35, and touchbacks to the 25. Also, players wouldn't be able to line up deeper than the 30 to get running starts--the hope here is that it will reduce injuries.

The owners are also looking into making all scoring plays reviewable by the booth--coaches would not have to use the red flag on these plays; they would automatically get looked at. I love this. Would it slow down the game a bit? Yes. But the bottom line is these plays need to be officiated correctly. If a coach has used his two challenges and can't question an obviously blown call that results in a score, nobody wins.

The other change being discussed is punishing repeat illegal hit defenders with suspensions and outlawing players launching their bodies when they tackle. I'm one who believes that fines don't prevent illegal hits. Suspending players will do the trick. There is a proper way to tackle. Most guys know how to do it--the dirty play has to end before we witness tragedy on the field.

My Mock Draft II will be up next Friday, the 25th.


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