As we reported yesterday, the Redskins proposed eight rule changes for the NFL’s consideration. Let’s take a look at them in the light of whether they would have helped or hurt the team in 2013.
Moving kickoffs to the 40 yard line (from the 35)—Kai Forbath ranked 31st in both number of touchbacks and net kickoff average. It goes without saying that the Redskins would have benefitted from kicking five yards closer to the end line.
Making personal fouls reviewable—The 2013 Redskins were hit with nine unnecessary roughness penalties and four each for roughing the passer and horse collar tackles. A few of them were borderline and may have been overturned on replay.
Eliminate overtime in the preseason—This is a common-sense idea that won’t have any effect on the regular season. Actually, Mike Shanahan decided to do this on his own in the Redskins’ preseason opener. After a late TD put his team down by a point against the Titans, Shanahan went for two to eliminate the chance of playing extra minutes needlessly.
Increasing the number of active players on game day from 46 to 49 for non-Sunday or Monday games, excluding Week 1. (The change would therefore apply to Thursday and Saturday games)—This potentially would have helped them in the only game where it would have applied last year but not for the intended reason. For their Thursday night game in Minnesota, the Redskins had healthy inactive players while every Viking who was inactive and even two who dressed were too injured to play. The Redskins would have had a five-man advantage. Of course, they lost the game despite have two more healthy bodies available.
Increasing the practice squad from eight to 10 players—This would cost the Redskins and every other team an extra $12,000 per week (2 players X $6,000 salary) or $204,000 per year. That would have squeezed the Redskins penalty-reduced cap a bit more so it might not have been a good thing in 2012 and 2013.
Permitting players to be traded prior to the start of the league year (better known as the opening day of free agency)—I suppose this might let teams line up free agents after making trades but I’m not sure I see the point here. Business opens when the league year opens. When the light turns green, go.
Eliminating the first cut (from 90 to 75) during training camp. The only cut would be from 90 to 53—I never saw the point of cutting 15 players, but I would increase the first cut to 25 rather than eliminating it.
Allowing more than one player to be “designated to return” from injured reserve—The Redskins didn’t use their one permitted “IR with designation to return” spot last year so they had no need for any more of them. But there’s no reason why they shouldn’t let players return from IR after a certain period of time.