*Several rule changes were made on Wednesday at the NFL Owners Meetings.
On Wednesday's "Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford," co-hosts Vic Carucci and Michael Reghi, who is filling in for Nathan Zegura, turned to Twitter to address NFL rule changes that were posed to them by the listeners.
Scott Petrak, from the Elyria-Chronicle Telegram, weighed in on some new legislation being discussed at the owners' meetings, along with his thoughts on the path the Browns will take with a quarterback. Brian Baldinger, from the NFL Network, anticipated the moves the Browns will make in the draft, along with his reactions to their moves thus far in free agency.
Mark Gaughan, sportswriter for the Buffalo News, reflected on the life and legacy of the late Ralph Wilson, Hall-of-Fame owner of the Buffalo Bills who passed away on Tuesday. Nathan wrapped up the show with Vic and Michael with his reservations on restricting player conduct on the field.
Here are some highlights:
Vic Carucci: "The league has been making reference to the workplace environment of the players. It's the same concept and idea that you and I should feel about the environment we work in and it is largely due to the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito incident (in Miami). …The extra point has been a rule that has been brought up on several occasions and I think what we are going to see happen is the length pushed back for a couple of preseasons games. I don't know if I like that. I feel like that is an issue that falls under unnecessary tinkering. I have no problem with (encouraging) players (to return kicks), either. That's an issue that has been reviewed as being banned, but it's an exciting play that I don't think needs to be dealt with."
Michael Reghi: "The Johnathan Martin/Richie Incognito thing has thrown player conduct into a real dilemma with (NFL Commissioner Roger) Goodell and the NFL owners. It brought up and awakened so many demons about player conduct in the NFL and in the locker room. If you are going to establish these lines of demarcation, why don't you really get the players' input in it? Let the players have a heavy hand and say-so in the matter, since is essentially revolves around them. …I have a problem with the various amounts of cameras that are used. Why not assign a goal-line, sideline, and backline camera. You can get a constant for every game. …Defenseless hits have always been an issue, but if you start putting too many rules on it, you see players start to think almost too much. Most fans would agree with the return restrictions, but the studies show that the volume of injuries that occur, occur on kickoff returns. That's going to be hard to overlook."
Scott Petrak:"I know at the owners meeting the discussion on expanding the roster came up. I think it should happen. It makes sense to me. If you have a couple injured guys, you don't want to have to force the issue. The main focus is so much on player safety, there should be more concession in that direction. It just seems like a common-sense rule and I like whatever team suggested it. I'm trying to get a read on what (Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer) are going to do to address the quarterback situation and what they are going to do at number four. I get the sense they are fine with Brian Hoyer, but they don't know exactly what they have in him. Their interest in Matt Schaub shows that they are not one-hundred-percent comfortable with (Hoyer) as their guy. We know they will draft one; we just don't know where. Whoever they draft, if he comes in and plays great, then he steps in front of Hoyer and starts, but I think they will open the offseason with Hoyer as their starter."
Brian Baldinger:"I don't believe that any of the quarterbacks are worthy of the first or fourth pick in the draft. We've seen enough failures throughout the years to know when we see someone who will change the franchise. I don't think there is any guy who will do that this year. I think there are more pressing needs that the Browns have than trying to reach for a guy who you know you will have to play in order to work and develop. I believe a franchise quarterback is someone who literally makes everyone else around them better, while hiding the team's weaknesses. Those players are rare and it takes a rare skill set and talent that doesn't come along in every draft. The Browns basically replaced parts that they lost, which in return they upgraded (in free agency). They have to still upgrade the offensive line and maybe even the wide receiver. I don't know if anyone believes that Josh Gordon can be a model citizen throughout his career. If you don't believe he is capable of doing that, then you should go out and address another receiver."
Mark Gaughan:"It's sort of cliché, but Ralph Wilson severed as the conscience of the NFL. That's the role he evolved into. He was one of the most influential owners in the American Football League, which helped make pro football a national pastime. He had many key roles in making the AFL a success and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because of those successes. He believed there was a pact between teams and their constituencies. He was one of the only owners who voted against the Browns moving to Baltimore. He felt that the city of Cleveland was owed another chance to get the stadium deal together. He had a real appreciation for the roots of the game, and I don't know if that really exists anymore. The future is uncertain for Buffalo now. Nothing will happen quickly, but it will be sold eventually. They have a lease for another seven years, but in 2020, all bets are off. Who will be owning the team at time is the great question."
Nathan Zegura:"I don't know how much I like the restrictions on player conduct. I think emotion is a part of the game, and we know it's a violent game with plenty of emotions. They will have a tough time regulating that, but when it starts to impact the game itself, I think you will see coaches getting into the players and threatening their playing time. I just don't know if I'm a fan of turning everyone into robots. I like there to be fun in football. These guys risk a lot to go out there and play, so let them have some fun. I think it's going to be tough to legislate."