The NFL Competition Committee will have plenty to discuss at next week's NFL Annual Meeting, which begins Sunday in Boca Raton, Florida.
The NFL will conduct a conference call on Thursday with Troy Vincent, executive VP of football operations, and Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay to announce the agenda, but we already have an idea of what will headline the gathering.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the automatic ejection rule suggested by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to pass, per two members of the Competition Committee. The new rule would eject any player flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls in a game. The key to that discussion is determining which two personal foul penalties would count toward an ejection. The committee will pick from a short list of infractions -- fewer than five.
Here's what else will be discussed and potentially voted on by the owners next week:
- Sorry, NFL fans, but the catch rule won't change. Rapoport was told the league will make a continued effort to offer more public education on the rule and how it's officiated.
- The Competition Committee has proposed to make all chop blocks illegal. The NFL remains uncomfortable with elements of the rule and plans to tinker with some of the language around what constitutes of an illegal low block.
- Per Rapoport, the horse-collar rule will also be tweaked, "perhaps to include when a player pulls at a nameplate just below the shoulder pads," meaning officials could throw a horse-collar flag "even if shoulder pads aren't pulled, because the effect on the ball carrier is the same."
- Changes to instant replay aren't expected, despite the Competition Committee eyeing several options and different ways to expand replay and make other penalties reviewable. Don't expect much change to what plays are reviewable, but it's worth noting that the Ravens have proposed a rule change to provide each team with three challenges and expanded review options.
- There will be a vote to clarify the rule on low hits to the quarterback. Specifically, per Rapoport, hits that put the quarterback in danger, including driving the head or shoulders into the lower body of a signal-caller. Some of that language already exists in the rule book.
- The Competition Committee is proposing to change the spot of the snap after a touchback resulting from a free kick to the 25-yard line.
- Listen up, Peyton Manning: The Chiefs have proposed a rule tweak that would prohibit quarterbacks from falling to the ground, getting up, and throwing a forward pass.
- We can get behind this: The Redskins have filed a proposal to eliminate overtime periods in preseason games.