By Tony Grossi
Extra points …
Palm Beach, Fla.
Another slant on Browns trade offer: For the first time, somebody has given a reasonable explanation of why the St. Louis Rams snubbed the Browns and chose Washington’s trade offer for the No. 2 spot in the draft.
If you believe both teams offered three No. 1s and one No. 2 it came down to this – St. Louis preferred to have No. 1s in three consecutive years rather than two in 2012 and one in 2013. And that’s why Washington’s offer was better.
“It was part of it, yeah, considering our needs,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday at NFL owners meetings. “If you look at it from this perspective: I haven’t met the players yet, haven’t seen them on the field, and I realistically don’t know what we have. We’ll have a much better idea after the season what kind of team we have. And our needs very well may change.
“To have an opportunity to have two 1s in ’13, ’14 was really important to us.”
Fisher sloughed off Mike Holmgren’s contention that friendly relationships between the Rams and Redskins trumped any offer the Browns would have made.
“We didn’t make a decision because of my relationship with Mike or anyone’s relationship with anybody else,” Fisher said.
Cross off the Rams – in pencil -- as a trade partner for No. 4: Not because of any ill will caused by Holmgren’s comments. Because the Rams are more interested in moving down from No. 6 rather than moving up.
“We could go up or down,” Fisher said. “(But) I think it probably would be more realistic for us to move down than it would up.”
The Rams are in the same boat as the Browns. They need players and are not zeroing in on one player or position at No. 6. So those who think the Rams will give up a second- or third-round pick to move up to grab LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne or Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon may be disappointed.
Overtime rule extended: NFL owners agreed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and changed the overtime rule for regular season to match the one adopted last year for postseason. So now, all overtime games will have both teams receiving at least one possession – unless a team scores a touchdown on the first possession. Coaches didn’t want to consider one strategy for regular season and another for the playoffs.
Instant replay expanded: Replay keeps growing, but it didn’t expand to the degree some wanted.
Owners voted to allow turnovers to be automatically reviewed by the instant replay official without a coaches challenge.
But like last year’s change on scoring plays, only plays that are ruled on the field as turnovers are automatically reviewed. A controversial ruling against a turnover still will have to be challenged to be reviewed.
Also, the proposal to have the replay official preside over all replay decisions was voted down. So the field official still will go “under the hood.”
Tabled for another day: Three roster proposals that made a lot of sense were tabled for another meeting in May.
These would: 1. Expand training camp rosters to 90, up from 80; 2. Allow one designated player on injured reserve to return to active status after the eighth week; 3. Create a roster exemption for a player with a concussion.
The proposals were tabled because the players union has to first sign off on them. All are expected to be passed because they are good ideas.
Scott Fujita still in limbo: Commissioner Roger Goodell held off on discipling 20 to 25 players implicated in the Saints’ Bountygate scandal until the union can get involved. Goodell said the league is scheduling even more hearings to decide which players he may suspend.
Fujita has admitted to paying teammates for forcing turnovers and making big plays – but not for injuring other players – while a member of the Saints in 2009. Fujita joined the Browns in 2010.
Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com.
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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