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Mid Week Nuggets

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Browns' GM Phil Savage decided to increase his offer to QB Derek Anderson because he feared a potential 3 way deal.  About this deal, Savage said:

"It didn't matter if I was pretty convinced or just slightly. The threat of that being there [influenced him to raise the Browns' offer]."

So what exactly was the deal?  Apparently, Savage believed that the Cowboys would sign Anderson to an offer sheet that included a "poison pill" that Cleveland couldn't match.  Dallas would then give Cleveland their #28 pick and their 3rd rounder as compensation.  The Cowboys would have then turned around and sent Anderson and the #22 draft pick to the Dolphins for the #1 overall pick, which they would have obviously used to select Darren McFadden.

Interesting, huh?  Why did Savage get this feeling?  According to the paper, Savage said that he believed Bill Parcells really liked Anderson and he got worried when Parcells wouldn't answer phone calls prior to the February 29 tender deadline.  That's what supposedly tipped Savage off.  He also felt the Cowboys were out to get the Browns because of the success they had last year, lowering their draft pick that was to be sent over to Dallas in the Brady Quinn deal last draft day.

Now, nobody really knows if any of this is accurate.  Nobody in the Dolphins' organization has ever come out and said a word about Derek Anderson.  But the fact that Savage, who is a smart guy and knows how to run a team, was that paranoid really shows the kind of respect this Dolphins organization is getting around the league with this new regime in town.  And that's what excites me the most.  Other teams fear what Bill Parcells and company might do.  I doubt Randy Mueller ever got this much respect from other teams.

As far as the actual trade, I wonder if there is any truth to it.  I personally hope not, as I don't think Anderson and the #22 pick is enough to move up to the first overall pick.  And like I said, I really didn't want any part of Anderson in Miami.

But we don't have to worry about that now.  The most important thing to take out of this is that Bill Parcells scares other teams.  And that's something that will benefit the Dolphins for as long as Bill remains in Miami.

At the Owners Meetings yesterday, a couple key rules changes were made.  The biggest rule changed was the rule formerly known as the "force out" rule.  

In the past, if a receiver was pushed out of bounds while leaping into the air to catch a pass, the referee could call the play as a reception if he felt the player would have landed in bounds had he not been pushed.  Well not anymore.  Probably due to how hard it was to judge this, no longer will a receiver be allowed to come down without two feet inbounds and get credit for the reception due to a "force out."  Now, the receiver must come down with 2 feet in bounds, regardless of if he is shoved out of bounds in the air.

I think that this is actually a very big rule change, as it now kind of shrinks the width of the field a little bit.  Cornerbacks and safeties will now be taught to really try and get a big hit on a receiver who goes airborne along the sidelines to make a catch.  It also means that scoring inside the redzone will be a little bit tougher now, as it'll be much more challenging for a receiver to make a catch along the sidelines or in the back of the endzone.

Personally, I have mixed feelings on this.  But I guess it removes one aspect of a potentially unfair human judgment call by refs.  But I do want to hear what you guys think about this.

Another noticeable rule change for the upcoming season will be the abandonment of the "5 yard face mask" penalty.  Major face mask penalties will remain 15 yard penalties.  However, the minor face mask penalty, described as accidentally grabbing the face mask and then immediately letting go, will no longer be a penalty.  A good decision, in my view, though I'm sure it will create some kind of controversy at some point during the season.

There were also a few more minor rule changes that you can read about here.

Thoughts below...