NFL changes catch and targeting rules

Dez Bryant catch against Packers 2015

The owners voted on a pair of significant rule changes at the NFL’s annual meetings in Orlando, Florida. Both of which have affected the Packers in recent years.

Most notably would be the catch rule. Green Bay was the beneficiary of the old rule back in 2015 when a catch by Dez Bryant was overturned on review because the Cowboys wide receiver did not “survive the ground.”

That language was removed form the catch rule in an effort to simplify how referees judge whether or not a player finished the catch. Now the wording of the rule was changed so that a player must have control of the ball with one or both hands, have two feet inbounds, and “perform an act common to the game” or they maintain control of the ball long enough to do so.

This past season the Packers found themselves dealing with another issue that has become a concern in the league, concussions and targeting. Wide receiver Davante Adams had to leave two games early due to concussions on plays that both could have been considered targeting. The first ended with Adams being taken off on a stretcher, the latter against Carolina essentially ended his season.

The owners have now rewritten that rule, saying that if a player uses the crown of their helmet it’s a 15-yard penalty. A defender could be thrown out of the game, but it is not mandatory like in college football at this time.

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