“NFL-Camps Open-Question Marks Everywhere”
NFL training camps are opening this weekend, and there are tons of storylines to pay attention to, around the NFL, if not just with individual teams.
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM…The NFL will meet with the Union on Monday to find a middle ground as to how the league and its players should handle the salute to the flag. Some owners are mandating their players stand, others say it will be the players individual choice, others think they should just stay in the locker-room. As much as Roger Goodell may want a common policy, he really wants to get away from the spray fire criticism of President Trump and the on-going fallout in public.
NFL IN TROUBLE….Attendance has dropped, TV ratings are off, but the league this past week distributed 255M-per team in shared revenue, and gross revenue went up again this past season, controversies not withstanding. The big issue is the poor play of so many teams, and the QB-crisis that seems to have enveloped some teams.
HALL OF FAME…The ceremonies will not include outspoken ex-49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens, but not one seems to care. Honor those who want to be there, ignore the idiot that won’t be there.
THE HELMET RULE….As the NFL evolves with more rule changes, to make the game safer, now comes the gray area, how they are going to police the new ‘you can’t lead with your helmet to make a tackle rule’. NFL refs concur this will be hard to police, because of how fast the game is played and all the contact among players going towards blocks and tackles.
TARGETING-EJECTIONS….It was in the rule book last year, but hardly used. Yes flags and penalties, but no really ejections to note. Maybe a year into it, with the new addendum rule, use of NFL replay to review a targeting hit, we may see an increase in ejections. The game will be fast, refs can miss some of these calls, but slo-motion replays can show intent to hit or injure. Now they can toss the Vontaze Burfect’s of the world if they wish after a look-see at the video..
WHAT IS A CATCH….New rule, three items. Catch, 2-feet down, make a football move. Nothing else. Not possession, not juggling, not point of contact. This has to be better than the gray area that cost teams touchdowns and dragged long instant replay reviews into the game. Der Bryant has time on his hands to help the refs determine all this.
KICKOFF RETURNS….It’s not extinct, but it might be going there soon. Now you can fair catch a kickoff and place it at the 25. There will no longer be wedge blocking to blow up kick cover guys. There won’t be unbalanced overloaded lines for the kicking team to try and get down field. There won’t be running starts for the outside gunners. The blocking will occur within 15-yards of the kickoff. Maybe we’ll see more ‘Billy White Shoes Johnson’ TD returns, with less injuries.
BATTLE FOR LA….Year two of the Rams-vs-Chargers in Los Angeles. The Rams have a legitimate NFC Super Bowl contender, a rich owner, an aggressive front office, a dynamic young coach, and lots of firepower on both sides of the ball. The Chargers have Philip Rivers and Dean Spanos and sons, little money, playing in a soccer stadium they couldn’t sellout last year. The Rams are coming off an 11-win season with kid QB-Jared Goff. The Chargers failed to make the playoffs again, and Team Spanos has just 14-winning seasons in 35-years of ownership. Who do you think will garner most of the attention in 2018?.
Here comes NFL football. Take a look at how these storylines evolve in the next couple of months.