Ravens propose two rule changes to discuss at league meetings


The NFL announced Thursday an extensive list of proposed rule changes for the 2016 season that will be discussed at the league meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., and the Ravens offered two of their own.
The Ravens were one of a few teams to propose changes to the instant replay challenge system as they would like to see coaches have three challenges instead of two and for the system to be expanded. Under Baltimore’s proposal, replay would cover all play situations except offensive or defensive holding, offensive or defensive pass interference, illegal contact, illegal use of hands, whether a forward passer has been forcibly contacted, whether a defenseless receiver has been forcibly contacted, whether a kicker has been forcibly contacted, and unsportsmanlike conduct.
The second proposal is the silliest of the entire list of proposed rule changes on the docket and would require an offensive player to wear a jersey vest with a number appropriate to the position at which he’s lining up for a given play. In other words, instead of an offensive player with an ineligible number reporting as eligible to the referee — or one with an eligible number reporting as ineligible — the Ravens are suggesting that the player instead put on a pinnie matching the team uniform with a number not already issued to another player that would then make him “eligible” or “ineligible” for that play.
This likely stems from last season’s incident against Arizona in which offensive lineman John Urschel clearly reported as an eligible receiver to referee Ron Torbert but was then penalized after catching a pass on the play. The NFL admitted the officiating mistake after the game.
Of course, many predictably mocked the Ravens’ latest proposal with the fresh memory of John Harbaugh’s strong objection to New England’s use of eligible and ineligible receivers — which was perfectly legal at the time — in the 2014 postseason. Last offseason, a rule was passed requiring an eligible-numbered player lining up as ineligible to do so inside the tackle box.
If the specific mistake committed by Torbert was a common occurrence around the league with players trying to report as eligible or ineligible, the Ravens might have a real argument. Instead, the proposal comes across as excessive and wouldn’t figure to garner much support, but you never know.
At the very least, the Ravens don’t appear to care about being chastised for their complaints related to eligible-ineligible situations and could just be trying to send a message to the league.
Below is a full list of the proposed changes and you can read the entire document HERE:
1. Permanently move the line of scrimmage for try kicks to the defensive team’s 15-yard line and allow the defense to return any missed try for two points.
2. Permit the offensive and defensive play callers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system, regardless of whether they are on the sideline or in the coaches’ booth.
3. Makes all chop blocks illegal.
4. Disqualify a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
5. Change the spot of the next snap after a touchback on a kickoff from the 20-yard line to the 25.
6. Require players to wear jersey vests with numbers appropriate for their positions.
7. Provide each team with three challenges and expand reviewable plays.
8. Permit a coach to challenge any official’s decision except scoring plays and turnovers.
9. Expand the definition of intentional grounding.
10. Add penalty yards to the distance needed to gain a first down on half-the-distance situations.
11. Prohibit quarterbacks from falling to the ground, getting up, and throwing a forward pass.
12. Eliminate the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two instant replay challenges in order to be awarded a third.
13. Eliminate overtime periods in preseason games.
14. Subject personal foul penalties to instant replay review.
15. Expand the horse collar rule to include when a defensive player grabs the jersey at the nameplate or above and pulls a runner toward the ground.
16. Make it a foul for delay of game when a team attempts to call a timeout when it is not permitted to do so.
17. Eliminate the five-yard penalty for an eligible receiver illegally touching a forward pass after being out of bounds and reestablishing himself inbounds and make it a loss of down.
18. Eliminate multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.