Lunchbreak: NFL’s Annual League Meeting to Include Talk of Replay Expansion

The 2019 NFL Annual League Meeting kicked off Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona, and will continue through Wednesday.

NFL.com’s Judy Battista provided a primer for the meetings and explained that “owners will consider whether to expand replay to allow pass interference – and perhaps even roughing the passer and defenseless player fouls – to be reviewable.” Battista wrote:

In the past, owners have been reluctant to make judgment calls reviewable. But the league’s own data shows that defensive and offensive pass interference account for the most officiating errors on impactful plays. Defensive pass interference accounted for 70 percent of fouls with the largest impact on a game-winning chance in games from the 2016 through 2018 regular seasons. Of the 50 biggest incorrect calls made during that span, 24 were defensive pass interference. Offensive pass interference is the most common mistaken non-call.

Battista quoted NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent, who said the goal is “to correct clear officiating errors on impactful plays.”

According to Battista, owners will be asked “to separately consider” if just pass interference would be reviewable or if the proposed change would also apply to roughing the passer and defenseless player class. She noted that if any adjustments are approved, the new rule(s) would be implemented for the 2019 season and reviewed afterward.

But Vincent and one member of the Competition Committee said that there remains no appetite for allowing review to address non-calls, meaning that even if these rules had been in place for the NFC Championship Game, nothing could have been done to address the missed pass interference call [against the Rams] that started the controversy.

The committee briefly considered adding a “sky judge” after the idea surfaced during meetings with coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine last month. That idea … has generated little support.

[…]

Vincent, though, believes the most significant rules change that will be made in Arizona will be the complete elimination of blind-side blocks. The league's data shows that 63 percent of concussions from punts and blocks are caused by blind-side blocks, and the Competition Committee believes their elimination is a significant safety advancement and a considerable change in the culture of the game.

Keep an eye on Vikings.com for continued updates on rule changes.

Hill among top-rated CBs by passer rating allowed

Cornerback Holton Hill allowed a passer rating of just 67.0 when targeted during the 2018 season.

William Moy, who writes for analytics site Pro Football Focus, recently highlighted the top 10 cornerbacks by passer rating allowed last season, and Hill was ranked sixth. Moy gave the following disclaimer ahead of the rankings:

This is by no means a list of who the “top corners” were from a season ago. … This list is simply a final look at which cornerbacks yielded the lowest passer ratings throughout the regular season.

He wrote the following of Hill, who played in all 16 games during his rookie campaign and started three:

Hill’s playing time was sporadic throughout the season, but when it was all said and done the rookie out of Texas allowed just 16 catches on 31 targets for a total of 183 yards and a touchdown to go with one interception. On a per-snap basis, Hill was one of the best cornerbacks in the league in 2018 when it came to disrupting the catch point; he ranked second among all qualified cornerbacks with a 25.8 forced incompletion percentage.

The other nine cornerbacks on Moy’s list were New England’s J.C. Jackson (42.0), Philadelphia’s Avonte Maddox (59.9), Miami’s Xavien Howard (62.6), Denver’s Chris Harris, Jr. (63.6), Chicago’s Kyle Fuller (66.6), Miami’s Minkah Fitzpatrick (69.0), Baltimore’s Brandon Carr (69.8), Cleveland’s Denzel Ward (70.7) and New England’s Stephon Gilmore (71.8).

Mackensie meets McGregor

Vikings players are accustomed to drawing the attention of fans, but one player spotted a celebrity himself over the weekend.

Cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who is entering his fourth pro season, posted a photo to Twitter Sunday evening of himself with two-division UFC World Champion Conor McGregor.

Alexander added in the caption, “Think he would make a good addition to the Viking secondary?”

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