(Rewritten throughout, updated with Rex Ryan quotes from today)
NFL owners have approved a modified kickoff-rules package and instant-replay review of all scoring plays, the Washington Post’s Mark Maske has reported.
The kickoff proposals as detailed by NFL Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay last week received a few tweaks after league coaches at the owners meetings in New Orleans raised objections to many of the recommended changes.
Specifically, kickoffs will be moved from the 30-yard line back to the 35. But the owners voted to keep the touchback spot at the receiving team’s 20, not moving it as recommended to the 25. And they also decided to reject the committee’s recommendation of wiping out all wedges and keep the two-man wedge in front of the returner, which was introduced in 2009.
Among those coaches not thrilled with the original proposals was Jets head coach Rex Ryan, who spoke with reporters for more than an hour this morning.
“I’m personally not in favor” of eliminating the wedge from the game, Ryan said. “The two-man wedge protects the returner on mortar kicks, and if we’re trying to eliminate injuries, I think that helps the returner. It also gets bigger players on the field. You don’t always have to have ‘space’ players on the kick team. It allows you to have some linemen back there. I’m also in favor of leaving the touchback the way it is.”
But Ryan wasn’t too concerned about the outcome because of his teams coordinator back home.
“The great thing about our system is we have Mike Westhoff, who I think is the best special-teams coach in football — maybe in the history of football,” he said. “So we’ll make it work one way or the other. He’ll make it work. He does a great job. We have some guys with return ability, so you’d kind of like to see the rules stay the same. If it’s voted the other way, that’s fine.
“Now, we don’t want to major in kickoff returns, I’m just telling you that right now.”
NFL.com also confirmed the owners’ votes on the rule proposals. The league’s Website said the owners voted on the kickoff rules above and also approved replay modifications that would remove the necessity for coaches to use replay challenges on any scoring play. Just as scoring plays have been reviewed upon recommendation of the replay assistant in the booth in the final two minutes of halves and in overtime, now all plays in which points are scored will be reviewed.
However, NFL.com says that the third replay challenge that all teams have if they win their first two challenges in a game will still be available. The original proposal was to do away with the third challenge, considering that many challenges were already being spent on scoring plays.
Owners also tabled the vote on changing some of the language in the proposed clarifications and modifications in the “defenseless player” rules language.
Hard Knocks Legacy
HBO just announced today that it has received 22 nominations — second-highest total among all networks — for the 32nd annual Sports Emmy Awards, and that the Jets helped out as last August’s “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets” received four of those nominations.
The HK nominations were in outstanding edited sports series/anthology, outstanding editing, outstanding camera work, and outstanding post-produced audio/sound.
The Sports Emmys will be passed out May 2 at the Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Center in New York.
Tags: Competition Committee, Hard Knocks, New Orleans, owners meetings, Rex Ryan, Sports Emmy Awards
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