Change is coming, and while it might be a little too late for some, I suppose the old “better late than never” applies:
New NFL catch rule passes unanimously.
— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) March 27, 2018
Say goodbye to the “surviving the ground” element of the previous rule and prepare for catches to be ruled as catches, according to NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron. What a concept!
Moving forward, the new rules that will define a catch include:
- Control of the ball.
- Two feet down inbounds or a body part (you know, like a knee)
- A “football move” that could include a third step, reaching for the line-to-gain, or simply the ability to perform the act.
The league’s Vice President of Football Communications Michael Signora shared the rest of the approved rule changes here:
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) March 27, 2018
- For all the excitement that comes with the first round of free agency, there’s also reason to be cautious with your feelings. Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report offers up each team’s worst-case scenario, and for the Bears, the pressure is there for performance in the passing game. Whether it’s Mitch Trubisky’s growth, receivers like Cameron Meredith or Allen Robinson not fully recovering from their injuries, or Trey Burton not playing to his potential, the worst-case scenario for the Bears would be the passing game not taking a notable step forward.
- Going into the offseason, a worst-case scenario for the Bears would have involved team President Ted Phillips meddling in the team’s search for a head coach. In the second part of a series of interviews with The Athletic, Phillips addresses his reputation as a meddler, among other things. However, the most intriguing anecdote is something he shared regarding a phone call from a fan in Austin, Texas who called the team’s fan service department simply to talk to Phillips about football. It definitely sounds like an interesting and unexpected exchange.
- In the first part of Kevin Fishbain’s Q&A with Phillips, the Bears’ president discusses upgrades to Halas Hall, Soldier Field’s future, and a possible Ring of Honor that could include Brian Urlacher since the team can no longer retire uniform numbers.
- Over at Pro Football Weekly, Hub Arkush hears the Bears are receiving high marks from around the NFL during the league’s owner meetings in Orlando. One NFC rival coach told Arkush, “Your hometown guys have got to feel pretty good about what they’ve gotten done so far this offseason.” Arkush also heard praise for the Bears’ use of the transition tag on Kyle Fuller, getting defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to stick around, and the aggressive nature of the coaching and free agent searches. In a league where fans have plenty to be upset about, Arkush sees the Bears as one of the “happiest” teams in the league.
- Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune has a rundown of 10 things he learned about the Bears’ new offense from Matt Nagy’s time with the media on Tuesday. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what the new crew can do. But I’d also like to dig into some of the new concepts, looks, and even terminology. Campbell notes the Bears will use a “U” tight end, which was formerly known as the “F” or “move” tight end, to go along with the “Y” tight end, which is more commonly known as an in-line. The terms for receivers stay the same (“X” for the split end and “Z” for the flanker) except for the slot, which is known in this offense as the “Zebra.” It’s a role made for Taylor Gabriel, as it’s not a traditional slot usage as the position is moved around the formation and designed to create mismatches.
- Ryan Pace looks like he knows he did well in free agency … and that he’ll have to do that again in the draft in order to get the Bears where they want to go in 2018:
— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) March 26, 2018