Denver’s heavy hitters have joined top team personnel from around the league in New Orleans for the annual owners meetings, and thereâ€™s a dark cloud hanging overhead; this is day 10 of the NFL Lockout.
The Broncos’ contingent not only includes owner Pat Bowlen, but team president Joe Ellis, general manager Brian Xanders, coach John Fox, and John Elway.Â
Commissioner Roger Goodell, the recent and ongoing subject of harsh criticism from players, is taking a break from the PR battle to meet with owners, general managers, and coaches in attendance.Â Given labor uncertainty and litigation, expect some changes at this yearâ€™s conference.
Two announcements usually made at the owners meetingsÂ wonâ€™t be revealed this year.Â The leagueâ€™s 2011 preseason schedule and Week 1 schedule will not be released.Â There is currently no timetable when that may happen â€“ a sensible decision since weâ€™re unsure there will even be a season.Â Unlike years past, donâ€™t expect any announcement today on compensatory draft picks.Â That will also be unveiled at a later time.
Later today, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash will address the media.Â Weâ€™ll also hear from the competition committee about proposed rule changes.Â The two possible considerations generating the most buzz:
- To reduce kickoff return injuries, the committee suggests moving the kickoff line from the 30 to the 35-yard line.Â This would also impact where players line up on the field for kickoffs.Â A touchback would now place the ball on the 25-yard line â€“ not the 20.
- The committee recommends a two-pronged change to instant replay.Â The third challenge would be eliminated and the onus to review a scoring play would be up to the official and not the coach.
The competition committee will also discuss changes to player fines and a clearer definition of defenseless players.
The owners meetings conclude tomorrow.
Kickoffs, like this one at Soldier Field, may move if a proposed rule change happens. (Courtesy: Joon Han)