Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Officials Here to Talk Rule Changes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NFL Officials Here to Talk Rule Changes

Article excerpt

An NFL officiating crew headed by referee Bill Leavy made a rules presentation to the Rams on Thursday evening and to the media on Friday morning.

The crew, which also included field judge Boris Cheek, head linesman John McGrath, side judge Keith Parham and developmental head linesman Patrick Turner, worked during Rams' practices Thursday and Friday and also will work at the Fan Fest workout today at the Edward Jones Dome.

Some notable NFL rule changes for 2013.

* Players are no long allowed to make contact with the crown of the helmet outside the tackle box. If a player lines up an opponent, lowers his head and delivers a forcible blow, a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty will be assessed.

"There's huge potential for injuries on plays like this and when you see them on tape, they're pretty obvious," McGrath said, noting that in an NFL review of plays from last year, just five fit the new rule.

Rams running back Daryl Richardson doesn't think the new rule will impact his game.

"You run on instinct, depending on the situation you're in. As far as making contact, I'm going to keep my head up and drop my shoulder," the 5-foot-10, 206-pound second-year back said. "Really, I've never tried to run over anybody anyway."

* The infamous "tuck rule" is no more. Once the quarterback stops his passing motion and the ball comes free, it's a fumble.

"There's still a fine line there, obviously, but now when the play is ruled a fumble on the field, it'll more than likely stay a fumble," Leavy said.

* On all kicking plays, defenders can no longer block below the waist or push other players into the line. In addition, teams will no longer be able to stack one side of the line of scrimmage with more than six players.

* Also on kicking plays, the long snapper is now considered a defenseless player and may not be engaged until he becomes an active blocker. …

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