Saturday, July 21, 2018
Sports

Chop blocks outlawed at meetings

BOCA RATON — The chop block has been entirely outlawed from NFL games, and extra-point kicks snapped from the 15-yard line are now permanent.

NFL owners voted Tuesday to approve both proposals by the competition committee. They also passed a resolution to expand what is a horse-collar tackle to cover the nameplate on the back of jerseys.

In all, seven rule proposals were approved. The others involved coach-to-player communications from the sideline as well as the press box; adding a delay-of-game penalty to a team that calls a timeout when it has none remaining; removing a 5-yard penalty for a receiver illegally touching a pass after being out of bounds; and eliminating multiple spots of enforcement for a double foul after a change of possession.

The chop block, in which a player blocks an opponent low while the opponent is engaged high with another player, had become more limited in the league because of various rule changes. Now all forms have been banned, with violators drawing a 15-yard penalty.

Some NFL coaches believe eliminating the chop block will affect the ground game.

"It definitely changes some things," Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. "That definitely changes some of your teachings of your techniques."

PAT snaps from the 15 were an experiment for 2015 that worked so well that making it permanent was a given. Efficiency on extra points from the 33-yard line dropped from more than 99 percent to just more than 94 percent.

"We made it a meaningful play," said Rich McKay, president of the Falcons and co-chairman of the competition committee.

Like the chop block, the horse-collar tackle can lead to serious injuries.

Also, information from the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips players wore during the 2015 season will be available to teams in May, perhaps leading to new stats and ways of analyzing them. A measure to move the free kick after a safety from the 20-yard line to the 25 failed, and a "yellow card" proposal much like soccer's foul rules didn't get enough support for a vote.

Chief star's injury: Chiefs star pass rusher Justin Houston could miss much or all of next season after having ACL surgery. The team, which didn't specify which knee, said the ligament was not fully torn.

Moves: The 49ers signed former Jaguars guard Zane Beadles to a three-year, $11.75 million deal. … The Cowboys agreed to terms on a two-year contract with former Redskins and Florida Atlantic running back Alfred Morris.

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