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The NFL’s decision to again let players celebrate touchdowns, both roundly, and deservedly, praised, was also akin to a layup for the league. We’re hearing the interpretation of the new rule may not be as easy—at least not initially.
“When you read the language, you’ll understand,” Falcons president and competition committee chairman Rich McKay said Tuesday at the spring league meeting of the NFL’s revised TD celebration allowances. “And when you see the video, which we’ll share with all the players in the preseason, you’ll have a clear explanation.
"Doesn’t mean that it covers everything, because you’ll still have players that are creative. We’ve seen guys go get popcorn; they’ve done a lot. Good for them, but in our case we just want to try and make sure we bring as much clarity as we can.”
Clarity is obviously a good thing, but the Way We Hear It, there’s gray area yet to come into focus. Is it as ambiguous as the catch rule? Thankfully for all of us, it isn’t, but new senior director of officiating Alberto Riveron acknowledged while the rule generally should make his official’s lives easier, certain acts will be subject to interpretation.
“No doubt about it,” said Riveron.
Since sexually suggestive acts aren’t allowed, interpreting one thrust vs. two, as one veteran scribe joked Tuesday, won’t be of concern to officials. Moreover, with choreographed celebration no longer subject to penalty, officials won’t spend time trying to decipher whether the imaginary photo shoot last year involving Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, for instance, happened organically, or whether it was premeditated.
After listening to McKay, Riveron, commissioner Roger Goodell and executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent discuss the intended changes Tuesday, it’s clear maintaining sportsmanship within celebration is of the utmost importance. And with a clear prioritization on eliminating taunting, despite the language remaining unchanged, we expect this to be one potential area of potential subjectivity.
“If we feel that you are performing an act at an opponent, directly at their bench, there will be a foul,” Riveron explained. “There’s no change in that language. Players also talked about standing over their opponent.”
Vincent thinks the preseason will be a critical time for continuing to develop a consensus on what forms of celebration will and won’t be considered acceptable.
“I think we’ll have a better idea [in the] preseason,” he said. “We’re constantly engaging with the player and with the fan. Preseason will give us some indication. Players have said they want to stay involved with this process.”
Indeed, Goodell shares Vincent's sentiment regarding this process being a fluid one.
"There’s a lot more work to be done and a lot more discussion to have with all entities to make sure we implement it correctly," said Goodell. "Also understanding that, whenever we establish a policy, people are going to push the limit. That’s going to be more of a job that we’re going to have to do moving forward to make sure we keep it within the structure of the standards that I think all of us collectively have a strong consensus around, which is what you see today."
That is what some experts are warning us about when we mix some of our favorite foods with prescription medications. The National Consumers League and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say a medicine can change the way your body uses food, and any of these changes can be harmful.
LOGAN-- Trees are an integral part of landscaping, and it’s important to know the basics of starting them out right so they will flourish for many years to come. Here are answers to three frequently asked questions about tree planting.
The Bears' former director of college scouting, Greg Gabriel has over 30 years of experience in NFL scouting and he'll be breaking down the top NFL prospects and other NFL news each week here at Pro Football Weekly. You can follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
Without question, one of the most exciting players in college football is Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. The excitement he brings to the football field is one of the reasons he won the 2016 Heisman Trophy and will make him among the favorites for the 2017 Heisman.
As exciting as Jackson is, does that make him a top NFL quarterback prospect? The answer is both yes and no.
In the 2017 season, Jackson will be a third-year junior who has been starting since midway through his freshman year. When you look at him physically, he doesn’t look like a quarterback but rather a wide receiver or a corner. He is tall with a lean, long frame. In football terms he is what we call “high cut," which means he has long legs and a short torso. He also has long arms.
While he has a lean frame, he is a lot stronger than he looks. When running with the football, he consistently gets yards after first contact and seldom gets knocked backwards. He is an exceptional athlete with great speed, change of direction and overall body control. He also has very quick feet and an instant burst.
Louisville runs a read-option offense and Jackson is the perfect quarterback for that style of offense. He makes excellent reads and decisions and is a big-play threat every time he decides to run with the ball. His run instincts and elusiveness are exceptional and he consistently makes defenders miss both in tight and in space. He ran for over 1,500 yards in 2016, that stat alone tells you his effectiveness.
When dropping back to pass, that same instinctiveness and quickness allow him to keep plays alive and/or extend plays. Defenses have to be aware of where he is and account for him on every play. That in turn helps the passing game, as defensive backs often play a bit too loose in coverage.
As a quarterback, Jackson is more of a thrower than a passer. He has very good arm strength but he also has a slow delivery and lacks consistent accuracy. In 2016 he completed 230 of 409 throws for 3,543 yards, 56-percent completion rate, 30 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. His completion percentage in 2015 was only 54 percent. That percentage in the type of offense Louisville runs just doesn’t cut it. He needs to be closer to 65 percent than 56.
Being 2017 will be his second year as a full-time starter, I expect that his accuracy will improve, but whether it gets to NFL standards remains to be seen. From a mechanical point of view, he needs to tighten his delivery and that will help improve his accuracy. Timing his throws better will also help his accuracy.
Looking at Jackson, the player he is closest to as a college player is Michael Vick. When Vick was at Virginia Tech, he was not an accomplished passer but his big-play ability was rare. That is also the best way to describe Jackson.
I suspect NFL clubs will be all over the board as far as what/where Jackson is as an NFL prospect. Some will like him far more than others because of his leadership, playmaking ability and overall talent. There will be some clubs that will feel he needs to play another position in order to have success in the NFL. Right now, I would leave him at quarterback. He will grow and improve with the added year of experience. He has some special attributes that few have. 2017 will be very important as to where he gets drafted if he decides to enter the draft early. He has to show imporvement in his game and if he does, most NFL clubs will see him as an ascending player. Jackson is both unique and unorthodox and that is what makes him a compelling prospect.