The owners meetings in Orlando came to a close yesterday, and in addition to the new overtime policy that was put in place during the three-day session, a few other rules were passed as well.
Two of them center around player safety, and one centers around umpire safety.
The rule that will draw the most attention entering this season will be one that was added to prevent defenseless players from being hit in the head or neck area. As of this season, it will be illegal for a player to launch himself and use his helmet, shoulder or forearm to make contact to an opponent's head.
In addition to a receiver who has just made a catch, this also now protects a player who has just thrown a pass or a runner whose forward progress has been stopped.
Also new this year - if a player running with the ball has his helmet come off, the play will be blown dead immediately and the ball will be placed at the spot where the helmet came off.
And finally, umpires will no longer be located in the area of the linebackers, they will be situated in the offensive backfield to prevent those awkward collisions with ball carriers and receivers running crossing routes.
I give all that my stamp of approval.
Meanwhile, another tidbit to come out of the owners meetings is that one of my favorite shows, HBO's Hard Knocks, will feature a familiar face this year - Jets coach Rex Ryan.
Word is the Jets will announce today that they will be the focus of the yearly training camp show, a show which I find incredibly entertaining.
Well, with Rex likely playing a prominent role in this year's episodes, the entertainment level might reach a new peak. The amount of foul language should reach a new peak too, so I hope HBO executives have prepared themselves.
Finally, below is a list of the Ravens' five picks in next month's draft, a total which was not bolstered by any compensatory picks.
The Ravens lost their third and fourth-round picks in the Anquan Boldin trade (although they received Arizona's fifth-rounder in return) and also gave up their seventh-round pick in the trade for Marques Douglas two years ago. As you can see, the Ravens currently have back-to-back picks in the fifth round.
Here are the five picks:
First round: 25th overall
Second round: 25th in round, 57th overall
Fifth round: 25th in round, 156th overall
Fifth round (acquired from Arizona): 26th in round, 157th overall
Sixth round: 25th in round, 194th overall