NFL delays decision on this curious rules change. How will it impact the LA Rams?

Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Cameron Dicker
Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Cameron Dicker / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The LA Rams may be impacted by multiple NFL rule changes this season. We have already touched base on the fact that the NFL has tweaked the game-day roster limit, allowing those NFL teams who have three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster to carry the third quarterback on game day without restriction (46+one game day QB3 roster exception). But there are more rule changes afoot as well that have yet to be decided.

One such NFL bylaw proposal that is yet to be decided involves touchbacks on punts and fair catches on kickoff returns. Well, actually the rule change is a bit more complex. I'll flesh out the details after you see for yourself, thanks to a Tweet by NFL Insider Tom Pelissero:

The basic premise is to enhance the safety and injury reduction measures of the game by mitigating the full-speed collisions that often occur during coverage of punts and kickoffs.

What the current rules do:

Currently, a punt that is kicked into or through the endzone, known as a touchback, is placed at the 20-yard line where the offense will take over with a first down and 10 yards to go. The current rule for kickoffs is that if a player who is receiving the kickoff signals for a fair catch, he is no longer allowed to advance the football. In return, coverage players must allow him unhindered access to catch the football. When a fair catch is made, the football is spotted at the site of the fair catch, and the offense takes the field with a first down and 10 yards to go.

What the proposed rules will do:

For a punt, the rule change is both simple and straightforward. If the punt is kicked into or through the endzone, known as a touchback, the ball will now be spotted at the 25-yard line.

However, on a kickoff, if a fair catch is signalled for and the catch is made, any fair catch made behind the 25-yard line by the receiving team will be spotted at the 25-yard line. Essentially, for kickoffs, the strategy will be changed to negate all 'short kickoffs' completely, as the kicking team has complete incentive to kick the football into or through the endzone.

The LA Rams are completely redesigning their special teams unit this season, and if the NFL changes the rules, the Rams, in theory, should be well positioned to address those changes in their special team's strategy and roster build. The Rams will be incentivized (like all teams) to get a booming kicker who will send the football into the endzone repeatedly. For a punter, that will incentivize the Rams to emphasize a coffin kicker even more.

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Small changes that can have big impacts on the game. Let's see how this one develops. Stay tuned . . .