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Five things to watch at the NFL Annual Meeting

Posted Mar 20, 2016

Owners, executives, head coaches and other officials gathered in Boca Raton, Fla., on Sunday to begin the league's annual meeting.

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The lobby at the palatial Boca Raton Resort here teems with faces familiar to any football fan.

Just by strolling past the check-in desk; you witness a who's who of NFL and team cognoscenti. In a span of five minutes, I glimpsed Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and, of course, members of the Broncos' brain trust, led by Head Coach Gary Kubiak and Executive Vice President/General Manager John Elway.

They'll be busy, and so will we. Here's five things we'll be watching from this week's meetings:

1. Assessing where the Broncos stand.

Head Coach Gary Kubiak has not spoken on the record since Peyton Manning's retirement press conference March 7, so his first public comments regarding the state of his team, Brock Osweiler's departure, the composition of the quarterback position and myriad other topics will come when he meets media at the AFC Coaches Breakfast Tuesday morning, beginning at 7:15 a.m. EDT and continuing for an hour.

Full video and coverage of Kubiak's remarks will be available here on DenverBroncos.com.

2. Eliminating the chop block?

Although the cut block will remain, one of the most pertinent rules tweaks on the agenda is to ban the chop block in instances where the defender does not initiate contact, and if the blocker is trying to "escape his opponent," as Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay of the Falcons noted last Thursday.

The Committee itself proposed this change, increasing its chances of ratification, citing player safety.

"We think this is an important rule change for us," McKay said.

Safety is a concept also at the heart of some proposed procedural changes.

3. Changing game-day roster procedures?

Arizona proposed increasing the game-day active roster from 46 players to 48. Washington proposed increasing the game-day roster size from 46 to 49 for games played on short weeks (all days other than Sunday or Monday), as well as international-series games.

Washington also proposed placing a player not yet cleared by the league's post-concussion protocol on the Exempt List, allowing for a promotion of a player from the practice squad on a game-by-game basis until the concussed player is cleared to return.

4. Laying the groundwork for future communication and potential deals.

For teams' top football executives, the meetings provide a chance for face-to-face meetings with each other that often leads to the ability to make trades in the coming months, including at the draft. This is as much about making clear how needs match up as it is building relationships with fellow executives.

The status of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the subject of rampant speculation, could be discussed in the coming days.

5. Adding more technology to the game?

Players and coaches can now use tablet computers on the sideline, but they cannot use video on them. So all images must be stills, just as they have been since time immemorial, when players began poring over Polaroids on the sideline.

Bylaw Proposal No. 10, submitted by the Competition Committee, would allow players and coaches to watch video on their tablets during games, giving them a chance to not only review formations, but the movement of players, allowing for better in-game adjustments. The technology is more than capable; it's just a question of whether the teams want to move into the 21st century or linger in the 20th.

Gary Kubiak

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