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Rules changes and national anthem demonstrations seem to have folks inside and outside the NFL obsessed as the opening kickoff of the season approaches.
Yes Youth Su'a Cravens Jersey , the Super Bowl champion Eagles and Atlanta Falcons will open things on Thursday night in Philadelphia. What many folks wonder: Will there be any social injustice protests during "The Star-Spangled Banner?" And if players, coaches and officials will have a handle on the adjustment to use of the helmet in making a hit.
Not to mention the new kickoff rules and, at last, a catch rule that seems to make sense.
Those are enough issues to grab attention away from Philly's quarterback situation, as well as the progress of the five first-round QB draft choices expected to make their debuts sooner or later.
Or from the return from injuries of Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt, Richard Sherman, Deshaun Watson, David Johnson and Odell Beckham Jr., to name a few.
Or Jon Gruden's return to an NFL sideline in Oakland.
Plus, Adam Vinatieri's pursuit of the career points and field goals marks.
What's ahead through the penultimate day of the 2018 calendar?
The preseason has been dominated, even overridden, by discussion of and doubts about the "helmet rule." Basically, any player on offense or defense lowering his head and making contact with any part of the helmet is subject to a 15-yard penalty, a fine, and even an ejection. It's a player safety adjustment for which "the goal long term is to make the game safer and take out some of these hits that should not be part of the game," says Giants owner John Mara, a member of the competition committee that recommends rules changes to the owners.
The concerns on many levels focus on players adjusting to the tackling requirements and officials mastering such calls at full speed.
Gene Steratore, who recently retired as an NFL (and college basketball) referee, expects the critical tempest to die down quickly.
"Players will adjust because they are that good," says Steratore, now an analyst for CBS after 15 seasons in the league. "Officials will, too, because they are that good. There will be a learning curve for all of them, but I think in a fast period of time, a trigger moment will come that will show right before that contact if it is worthy of a flag."
The fix to the phrasing of the catch rule should eliminate the kind of calls 鈥?on Jesse James, Dez Bryant et al 鈥?many found bogus.
"Control. If it looks like a catch and smells like a catch, it's a catch," says Troy Vincent, the NFL's chief of football operations. "(The rule) had become convoluted: what you should do, what you shouldn't do. It should be clear as day. So our job was to simplify and we put it in practical terms."
The other major rule alteration is on kickoffs, where coverage team players no longer can take a running start, and there are regulations on where kick team players can be overall and how they can block.
"This is certainly a way of trying to keep the kickoff in the game and attempting to cut down on high-speed collisions Alex Pietrangelo Jersey Kids ," Mara says. "There are a lot of us who don't want to take the kickoff out unless we can't find ways to make it safer. It is our most dangerous play."
Anticipation of whether players will demonstrate during the national anthem again this year is high, fueled in part by reactions from President Trump. Players argue that their message about the need for change in communities nationwide has been misconstrued by the president and his followers, including many team owners.
With the unilateral policy banning players from any on-field protests during the anthem on hold as owners and players discuss the issue, no one can be sure what's ahead.
Everyone can be sure the topic won't disappear.
"I think part of the problem is that when you continue the rhetoric that this is controversial or this is somehow a negative thing, people treat it as such," Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins says. "But we've seen in other leagues when they've decided to amplify the voices of their players to also emphasize the importance of the issues that we're raising, and change the narrative away from the anthem, that not only is it more acceptable, the fan base gets educated on what we're talking about, and we can actually make some movement."
Before we reach 2019, it's a near-certainty that Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson will get onto the field. Some likely will be starters, maybe even stamp themselves as stars.
Only in Baltimore, where Joe Flacco is the incumbent, is the rookie (Jackson) a long shot to become the No. 1 quarterback this season. The others 鈥?Cleveland's Mayfield, Buffalo's Allen, the Jets' Darnold and Arizona's Rosen 鈥?are with teams considered outsiders in the playoff chase and it makes sense as early as prudent to see if they are the franchise QBs they were drafted to be.
New coaches in charge of the Cardinals, Titans, Lions, Giants, Bears and Raiders include four newbies to being in charge: Detroit's Matt Patricia, Chicago's Matt Nagy, Tennessee's Mike Vrabel and Arizona's Steve Wilks. All of them made their marks as proficient coordinators and bring freshness and toughness to their franchises.
Vrabel, of course, has three Super Bowl rings as a player with New England, which surely earns him some respect in the locker room. If he's considered a product of the Belichick coaching tree, though, Vrabel could struggle; few of the Patriots coach's prot茅g茅s have had much success as a head man in the NFL.
So the same goes for Patricia, although he has far more experience in coaching.
New York's Pat Shurmur had a short stint in charge in Cleveland and probably didn't get a fair shake. The Giants desperately needed a culture change after the 2017 debacle.
"I have seen just about all I co Su’a Cravens has found happiness, harmony and himself just in time for his do-over in Denver.
Elated over John Elway’s call and Von Miller’s text, the former standout safety from Southern Cal celebrated his trade from the Redskins to the Broncos by posting ”A Whole New World” from the Disney movie ”Aladdin” on his Twitter account.
”I felt like it was perfect Jason Spezza Jersey ,” said Cravens, who missed all of last season and even mulled retirement while dealing with the lingering effects of a head injury.
Selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft, Cravens played in 11 games his rookie season but he sustained a concussion in Week 4 and later suffered an elbow injury. He said he felt off-kilter heading into training camp last year, and things only got worse after he underwent knee surgery in August to repair a torn meniscus.
Cravens had to be talked out of retiring in early September during a meeting with team President Bruce Allen, and the Redskins placed him on their exempt list, forcing him to miss the entire season. They sent him to see sports concussion expert Micky Collins in Pittsburgh, who had an answer for all of his mood swings, personality changes and feelings that something just wasn’t quite right: post-concussion syndrome.
”I didn’t really know what was going on until I went to see Dr. Collins and he made me fully aware of the situation,” Cravens said. ”At first I just thought that something was wrong with me, something’s not right and I didn’t feel the same. Once he explained, `This is why you feel this way,’ he’d ask me questions, I’d tell him, `Yes,’ and he’d say, `Well that’s a correlation to this.’ Everything started making sense and once we started working on it progressively I got better and better.”
Cravens said he never lost his love for the game but did succumb to feelings his football career was finished.
”Certainly. I was going through something that I wasn’t even aware I was going through,” Cravens said. ”The mindset that I had last year was just completely different from how I am now. Once I got cleared, I took a step back and looked at the way I was acting and the way I was treating my loved ones. The way my whole thought process was, it was a stranger.
”It was just crazy that I didn’t realize that I was in a predicament I was completely unaware of. So yeah, there was a point that I thought I was done with football, but that love for it and that need to compete, that need to be on the field and be with your brothers, that never went away.”
Cravens even had to deal with accusations that he’d quit on his teammates.
He was finally cleared in December and the Redskins began shopping him during the NFL combine last month.
The Broncos essentially sent a fifth-round selection in this year’s draft for the safety-linebacker hybrid whose instincts and athleticism wowed scouts two years ago.
Cravens is eager to put his past behind him and start anew in Denver.
”I think there’s a false narrative on what exactly happened,” Cravens said. ”Right now my focus is just on being a Denver Bronco. One day I’ll be able to speak a little further on that, but I’m not a quitter. I’m not a guy who lacks love for the game. I definitely don’t know where the `quitting in college’ came from, but like I said, I’m here to play for the Broncos and do whatever I can to help this team win games.”
He sees himself as a strong safety but is willing to play wherever the Broncos feel he fits best in a revamped secondary that lost standout safety T.J. Ward last fall and elite cornerback Aqib Talib this spring.
”I’m just grateful to be on the field,” Cravens said, adding that last season made him appreciate his chance to play pro football and he has no qualms about getting right back into the fray.
”We’re all grown men and I know what I’m signing myself up for. I’m aware of the situation that I was in and I’m aware of the dangers of the game,” he said. ”I’ve experienced it firsthand and I’m still willing to go out there and put everything I have on the line. I wanted a fresh start just because I don’t like the way things happened. It wasn’t a part of my plan. I never thought at 22 years old that I’d be at the house watching football instead of playing football.”