INDIANAPOLIS — Dez caught it.
The NFL competition committee has reached a “unanimous” agreement that some of the league’s most-debated catch controversies should have been ruled complete, according to committee member and New York Giants owner John Mara.
They include plays involving Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant in the 2014 playoffs and Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in 2010, Mara said, and have prompted a discussion during meetings here at the scouting combine geared toward rewriting the rule for the 2018 season.
“I think where we are unanimous,” Mara said Tuesday, “[are] plays like the Dez Bryant play in Green Bay, going to the ground, the Calvin Johnson play from a couple of years ago. I think all of us agree that those should be completions. So let’s write the language to make them completions.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has directed the committee to study the issue, prompted by yet another controversial incompletion ruling against Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James late in the 2017 season. Mara said the committee is not in complete agreement on the James play, and acknowledged that past efforts to tweak the rule have failed.
What is different in 2018, in addition to Goodell’s insistence on change, is the consensus to find a way to avoid inorganic rulings caused by the requirement to maintain control throughout the process of going to the ground.
“The Jesse James play, I think should be a completion,” Mara said, “but I’m not sure we’re unanimous on that. But plays where guys seem to make the catch and then make a football move with it, I think most of us agree those should be completions. Now it’s just a question of coming up with the right language.”
Typically, the competition committee continues rule change discussions through the spring and makes proposals to owners at league meetings, scheduled this year for March 25-28. Mara said he couldn’t be sure that a new catch rule would be ready by then, but said, “We’re going to try.”
He added: “It’s easy to say the rule has got to be changed, but coming up with the right language is a challenge.”
Meanwhile, Mara said the committee has discussed the possibility of adding a targeting rule to enhance player safety. But Mara downplayed the possibility of proposing a rule that mirrors the college version, which mandates ejection for a player who hits a defenseless opponent in the head or neck area.
“We’ve had a lot of discussion about it,” Mara said. “I’m not sure we’ll ever get to the college rule. But there’s been a lot of discussion about it and we’ll have some more.”
Chiefs vs. Steelers – Game Summary – August 17, 2019
(9:09) (Punt formation) I.Berryman punts 37 yards to KC 30, Center-K.Canaday, out of bounds.
No Scoring Plays
Data is currently unavailable.
Jags’ Lee returns after missing ’18, eyes opener
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee practiced for the first time in nearly a year on Saturday, and he plans on being in the lineup for the Sept. 8 season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
That would complete his comeback from a severe left knee injury that wiped out his entire 2018 season.
“My goal is honestly to be ready,” Lee said. “As far as the doctors, I can’t speak for the doctors and the coaches as far as what they plan for me to be. As far as me, I’m going to continue to take it day by day, try to improve, try to pick up my volume as far as the workload and hopefully be out there by the time it’s time to go.”
Lee, who had been doing rehab work off to the side during OTAs and training camp, stepped into a huddle Saturday for his first play since Aug. 25, 2018.
He was injured during the first quarter of the Jaguars’ third preseason game last year when Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee drove his helmet into Lee’s left knee, which resulted in torn anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments.
Lee, who has missed 27 games with various injuries since the Jaguars drafted him in the second round in 2014, said being back on the field was a special moment.
“I’ve been unable to be out there and work with them and sweat with them [and] it’s been quite difficult for me,” Lee said. “Now I’ve got the opportunity to be back and sweat with them and grind with them. I don’t [have] no worries no more.”
Lee does have a lot of work ahead of him if he is going to play in the opener against the Chiefs. While he has a good understanding of coordinator John DeFilippo’s new offense on paper, it’s another thing to run it on the field. Plus, he said he still has to build a rapport with quarterback Nick Foles.
Lee is unlikely to play in the two remaining preseason games against the Miami Dolphins (Thursday) and Falcons (Aug. 29), so it may take a while for him to make an impact even though he’s the Jaguars’ most experienced receiver (171 catches for 2,166 yards, 8 TDs).
“It’s all mental at this point,” Lee said. “I feel like, the physical aspect of it, I did all the rehab and things I need to do, so now I just got to make sure I stay calm and take it slow. It’s no worries. I think I’m going to be fine as long as I just manage and take care of myself.”
AB takes walkthrough reps, ‘didn’t miss a beat’
NAPA, Calif. — From running routes and catching passes on Thursday in Arizona to taking part in a Saturday morning walkthrough in wine country to being a full participant in practice as soon as Sunday?
When asked on Saturday if he saw Brown being a full participant in practice soon, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said, “I think so, yeah.”
“He took all the reps today in our walkthrough. He showed great retention, and we’ll see what happens here with this afternoon; we’re going to have a walkthrough today as well. We have a lot of guys that can’t practice so we’ll pick it up tomorrow.”
As far as quarterback Derek Carr is concerned, Brown doing “everything with us just now” bodes well for his own development and preparing for the regular season.
“The man’s recall is unbelievable,” Carr said of Brown. “He came in and no mental errors, and in this offense, that’s not easy to do. Especially, whenever you have a day off … you come back and you’re like, you’ve got to stay on Coach Gruden’s offense all the time. You can tell Antonio’s been studying because he came out and didn’t miss a beat.
“He was a part of everything we did today.”
Which is a far cry from what Brown did for the two weeks he was away from the team, not returning until last Tuesday as he sought treatment for his frostbitten feet, suffered in a cryotherapy mishap in France last month. Brown also lost a grievance to wear his old helmet, which is no longer certified, and has found a replacement.
And while the Raiders are expected to practice Sunday and Monday before breaking camp and playing a “home” preseason game in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on Thursday against the Green Bay Packers, few, if any, starters will play on the artificial turf.
Carr will continue connecting with Brown in walkthroughs and, when he returns, in practice.
“I can get to all my checks and do all that kind of stuff like I’ll do during the season and then I have … Tyrell [Williams] and [Darren] Waller and our running backs and Antonio, they’re all one-on-one, what do you do, who do you go to?” Carr said.
“That’s the mental game we’re going to have to play, me and Coach Gruden … but it’s nice to have him and I can play it like a real game and where I’d go and what I’d do.”
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