Working On The Islands

 
DallasCowboys.com Columnist 
March 17, 2004, 6:24 p.m. (CST)   

blocks subject to an unnecessary roughness penalty. The example here being Denver offensive lineman George Foster's backside block on Cincinnati's Tony Williams that broke the defensive lineman's ankle and put him out for the remainder of the season. 

And closer to home, McKay said there will be discussion on if something should be done about the "horse-collar tackling," meaning the grabbing of a ball carrier on the collar of his shoulder pads from behind - how Cowboys safety Roy Williams caused injuries to Tennessee's Tyrone Calico (preseason), Baltimore's Musa Smith and then the high-profile one to Philadelphia's Terrell Owens when tackling them from behind. 

"There is a concern the tactic causes injury," McKay said, "and we're going to definitely look at it." 

There will be five rule proposal changes, but really only two of significance: Kansas City is proposing the NFL adopt the college defensive pass interference penalty, substituting the spot foul with a 15-yard penalty - unless the infraction is flagrant; and reducing illegal contact on the defense to just a five-yard penalty instead of the current five-yard penalty and an automatic first down. 

Speaking of illegal contact, McKay supplied these numbers from the 2004 season: With emphasis on illegal contact last year, those calls rose from 79 in 2003 to 191 last year. And when it came to defensive holding, the numbers were also up, from 181 to 201. Interestingly enough, though, interference went down, going from 238 to 202. 

But maybe the emphasis on those calls - and McKay says these points will be reemphasized this season - caused this: The NFL averaged 43 points a game in 2004, the sixth highest total in the past 37 years. There was an average of 4.95 touchdowns a game, the second highest total since the strike-interrupted 1987 season. 

"I think our points of emphasis worked well and will be reemphasized again this year," McKay said. 

In some other league meeting matters, new prospective Minnesota owner Reggie Fowler is not expected to attend the meetings, Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells will not participate in the annual NFC coaches breakfast with the media and there is a good chance the deadline to reduce final rosters will be moved from 3 p.m. the Sunday before the season opener to 11 a.m. 

Also, the New York Jets have submitted a proposal to play host to the 2010 Super Bowl, contingent on their West Side stadium being built, and a vote on the matter could take place on Tuesday. By the way, the vote on the site for the 2009 Super Bowl will take place at the May 24-25 meetings in Washington D.C., with the candidates being Houston, Atlanta, Tampa and Miami. The Cowboys are hoping to attract the 2011 Super Bowl at their new stadium to be constructed in Arlington. 

The league also plans to hold discussions on the status of putting a team in the Los Angeles area, three of the locations under consideration being the Rose Bowl, Coliseum and Anaheim.   

MICK SHOTS

 
  While Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden said there was a bunch to be explained about Quincy Carter's past, he remains "intrigued" about the possibility of signing the former Cowboys quarterback who made a free-agent visit with the Bucs this week. Said Gruden of Carter, who finished out last season with the Jets, "Here's a guy who has some well-documented history in the league as a player, and he's had some off-the-field problems. But we have an interesting environment here for a quarterback with (new quarterbacks coach) Paul Hackett, I have coached the quarterbacks and Doug Williams is here. You want to bring in the best players available and he's clearly, in my opinion, one of the best players available at that position." Gruden wants a fourth quarterback to go along with Chris Simms, Brian Griese and recently-signed Akili Smith. 
  There are a lot of mock drafts sending Maryland LB/DE Shawne Merriman to the Cowboys. Hey, bring him on. In his recent pro day workout in College Park, Md., he

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