April 20, 2024

NFL Owners Meet this Week – This Is What to Expect

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This week in Orlando Florida the NFL Owners will meet for their annual meetings. Rule changes and game format changes are usually discussed at these meetings. But for Cleveland Browns fans they will be hoping for rehabilitation updates for key players on offense.

Both quarterback Deshaun Watson and running back Nick Chubb are rehabbing this offseason from season-ending injuries. Both general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski will be at these meetings. Local beat reporters and fans will be inquiring about the progress of both players in their off-season rehab. I would not expect much of an update from either Berry or Stefanski.

Since 2020 the Cleveland Browns have been led by both Berry and Stefanski, they have not been ones to give out a lot of information unless they were required to do so. That will not change this week. Browns fans can expect the usual generic answers from both Berry and Stefanski. What you can and should pay attention to is the personnel moves to the team’s roster. That will tell you more than any interview at a league function. That will be their tell on what they expect from Watson and Chubb in 2024. So far, they have shown that they expect them to play and be available for most or all of 2024. Also, fans can expect the owners to vote on a proposed kickoff rule change.

Last season the NFL had a 22% kickoff return rate which was the lowest in NFL history. The proposed rule change is to increase actual kickoff returns. It was described to resemble the XFL kickoff. That will not sit well with the owners to vote on it. The kicker would place the ball on the 35-yard line. The coverage team lines up on the 40-yard line and cannot be loaded to one side of the field. Also, it proposes to have teams announce the on-side kick while trailing in the fourth quarter. That seems ridiculous to me. Another rule concerning player safety was voted on Monday.

The hip-drop tackle was banned by NFL Owners unanimously this week. The rule will prohibit a tackler who wraps the ball carrier to drop their weight and use their hips to assist in the tackle. The hip of the tackler would be undercutting the legs of the runner and can cause serious injury. The only problem with that rule proposal is the subjectivity of the rule interpretation. But we will have to see how the officials enforce the rule. We will also have to see how the owners proceed with the kickoff proposal. I’m sure any other changes will be greeted with scrutiny as they should be.

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