Wake-up: Steelers propose new NFL rules
March, 22, 2012
By Jamison Hensley
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
The Pittsburgh Steelers have proposed two rule changes that will be voted upon at next week's NFL owners meetings.
The Steelers are asking that the new overtime rules for the playoffs get extended into the regular season. In the regular season, the first team that scores wins. In the playoffs, each team is guaranteed at least one possession unless the team receiving the ball first scores a touchdown. Of course, that's exactly what happened in the Steelers' overtime playoff loss at Denver where Tim Tebow's 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage ended the game.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, this probably came at the request of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and has a good chance of passing. At least 24 of the 32 owners have to vote in favor of a proposal for it to pass.
The other Steelers' proposal would increase protection for the quarterback. The Steelers are asking that horse-collar tackles on quarterbacks within the pocket become a penalty. For some reason, it's not currently illegal for a defender to bring down a quarterback when he's in between the tackles.
Also, Steelers free-agent cornerback William Gay, who started 15 games last season, posted on Twitter that all of his free-agent visits are complete and will decide between Pittsburgh, Denver, Arizona and Tennessee.
Hensley's slant: I'm old school and like the regular-season overtime rules where the first team that scores wins. Call it sudden death or sudden victory, but that's football to me. I don't, however, like different overtime rules for the regular season and playoffs. Pick one and make it the rule for every game.
BENGALS: Andre Caldwell, who played four seasons for the Bengals, became the first free-agent wide receiver added to Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos. The No. 3 receiver for the Bengals last season, Caldwell agreed to a two-year deal with Denver, according to his Twitter account. He caught 37 passes last season and scored three touchdowns. Hensley's slant: Caldwell wasn't expected to return to the Bengals, who have depth in the slot with Jordan Shipley, Andrew Hawkins and Ryan Whalen. Cincinnati still needs to find a No. 2 wide receiver, but Caldwell wasn't going to fill that role after making a total of 62 catches the past two seasons.
BROWNS: Giants free-agent middle linebacker Jonathan Goff visited the Browns on Wednesday, according to Sirius NFL Radio. Goff, 26, tore his ACL the week before the 2011 season opener, when he reportedly knocked knees with a teammate during practice. He missed the entire season. In 2010, Goff started for the Giants and recorded 80 tackles. Hensley's slant: The Browns don't have a backup to D'Qwell Jackson after the team declined to tender a contract to exclusive rights free agent Titus Brown. But it's surprising that Goff visited Cleveland because it appeared like he would have a chance to regain his starting job if he re-signed with the Giants. Goff won't start there for the Browns unless they have plans for him elsewhere.
RAVENS: Free-agent defensive end Mark Anderson signed a four-year, $27.5 million deal (included $8 million guaranteed) with the Buffalo Bills a day after his visit to Baltimore. Meanwhile, free-agent inside linebacker Jameel McClain said he's hopeful that he can re-sign with the Ravens. "That's up to the powers that be and my agent to figure out that happy medium," McClain told the Carroll County (Md.) Times. "I'm staying patient. I'm waiting for the perfect move at the perfect time. Patience is a virtue." Hensley's slant: It's been an unproductive free-agent period so far for Baltimore. The Ravens have had three reported free-agents visits (Anderson, guard Evan Mathis and receiver-returner Ted Ginn Jr.) and they have yet to sign any of them. There is still a shot at Ginn, who remains unsigned.