As reported by Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, The NFL Competition Committee is proposing some major rules changes for next season. Two of them are yet another round of rules changes to kickoffs in an attempt to prevent more serious injuries.
Last season, the NFL prohibited anything more than a two-man wedge on returns. This year, they are strongly considering “eliminating all wedge blocks and shortening the field.” Kickoffs would be moved up to the 35 -yard line and coverage players would be limited to 5 yard running starts. To compensate the return teams, a touchback would be brought out to the 25 yard line instead of the 20.
Committee Chairman Rich McKay explained that the average kickoff was fielded at the 5.5-yard line last year. He also said the average starting position for receiving teams was the 27.6-yard line. “The idea was to change the play, but not to disadvantage either side. We tried to even out the effect to both the kicking team and receiving team,” McKay said.
As far as I’m concerned, you can call this the “Packers rule.” Green Bay can now trot out their assortment of pedestrian kick returners, take a touchback whenever possible and start at the 25. Hell, Air McCarthy doesn’t really need great field position, now does it?
No, if enacted, these changes would certainly be a boon to the Packers as they are currently constituted. Now, if we could only do something about punt returns…——————
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.