"The Sunday Five" is a loosely-titled piece where I talk about five NFL- or Browns-related topics related to this past week. In today's edition, we take a look at some more potential rule changes that the owners will be discussing, as well as a nugget or two more about the draft.
A few days ago, I mentioned a few potential NFL rule changes, including adjustments to the 12 men on the field penalty, changes to the replay review system, changed to injured reserve, and all turnovers being reviewed. I read some more details about two of those potential rule changes. Having too many men on the field would be called if the defense is lined up with more than 11 players for more than three seconds, or at the snap by the offense. With the injured reserve system, a player that goes on injured reserve would be able to practice six weeks later, and then come off the injured reserve two weeks after that. This was deemed as an "injured reserve exemption," so it might only apply to one player. I'm not too clear on that yet.
There were more proposed rule changes listed by Pro Football Talk. Kicking a loose football would result in an automatic loss of down, in addition to the current penalty. The "defenseless player" rule would be extended to defenders, making it illegal to hit them in the head on crackback blocks. Regarding changes to roster proposals, there are a few of them. The trade deadline could be moved from Week 6 to Week 8. Training camp rosters could expand from 80 players to 90 players, but would include unsigned draft picks. A team would be allowed one roster exemption each week for a player who has a concussion.
In the next few days, my pick for the Cleveland Browns will appear over at Mocking the Draft in the annual SB Nation Community Mock Draft. There shouldn't be much suspense as to who my pick will be, but looking past the failed opportunity with trading with the Rams, the Browns still seem to be in a no-lose situation when it comes to this year's draft. The one thing we can be pretty sure about is that the Browns won't be trading up, so we're not going to lose any draft picks. The most favorable opinion still seems to be drafting Blackmon at No. 4, but if you decide to go elsewhere, there should still be a good selection of receivers available at No. 22. Bernie19Kosar has discussed a few other possibilities, such as trading down and gaining a lot more picks (similar to last year's deal with Atlanta), or just saying "screw it" and draft cornerback Morris Claiborne. Jeff Schudel of the News Herald coincidentally made a similar argument for Claiborne this morning.
Will we ever have a season with a greater volume of changes at the quarterback position than the upcoming one? Think how much different the Colts, Redskins, Broncos, Seahawks, Jets, Jaguars, and Dolphins are going to be next season. The more and more that I look at Cleveland's front office, the more I get the sense that they setting up for the one year that they are going to make a major push. When they have just the right amount of the young players in place, they can really try to come out of nowhere to attract free agents. They tried to get a young player they wanted in RGIII, but when that didn't work, they apparently had no interest in acquiring Manning, Flynn, or Tebow. Some teams are able to have dramatic turnarounds in one year, so it's frustrating as Browns fans not to share that same fortune. If Holmgren and Heckert's vision pays off, it could make this team built for a long time. If not, they will have been another chapter in the failure of Cleveland front offices since 1999.
The summer-like March in Cleveland is finally coming to an end. After several weeks or temperatures in the high 70's or low 80's, it doesn't look like we'll crack 60 degrees on this Sunday, and Monday's high is only scheduled to be about 45 degrees. That's okay -- I think weather is just normalizing itself for April baseball weather, like when the Cleveland Indians get set to begin this season not too long from now. Remember to head on over to Let's Go Tribe for all of your baseball needs! And congratulations to the Buckeyes for moving on to the Final Four with a nice win over Syracuse last night.