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Proposed NFL rule change could have significant implications for Colts

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A proposed rule change that the NFL Competition Committee has proposed this year would allow coaches to communicate from the booth to the field, which would benefit the Colts and Rob Chudzinski.

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Next week, the NFL owners meetings will take place and a number of rule changes will be voted upon.  In advance of that, the Competition Committee has submitted a list of the proposed changes, which includes 19 potential changes submitted both by the Committee and by individual teams.

My personal favorite proposed change is the one the Redskins' submitted that would eliminate overtime in preseason games (that one should be a given), while I also like the one the Bills' proposed (and it's proposed by someone every year) to make everything reviewable.  Another significant one is that players would be automatically ejected if they racked up two of a certain group of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls in a game.  You can view the entire list of proposed rule changes here, but one in particular could have big implications for the Colts.

One change that was proposed by the Competition Committee "Permits the offensive and defensive play callers on the coaching staffs to use the coach-to-player communication system regardless of whether they are on the field or in the coaches' booth."  In other words, it would allow coaches in the booth to communicate with the player on the field who has the headset in his helmet.  Currently, only coaches on the sidelines can communicate to players on the field, but the proposal would allow coaches in the booth to do so as well.

This is relevant to the Colts because offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski likes to operate from the booth.  Last season, he was in the booth to start the season in his role as associate head coach, providing whatever help was needed to the other members of the coaching staff (especially Chuck Pagano).  Mid-season, however, Pep Hamilton was fired and Chudzinski was named the interim offensive coordinator.  He remained in the booth and called plays from there, which is where he prefers to operate.  As a result, the Colts had to make some changes in the way the plays were called.  Chudzinski called the plays from the booth and relayed them down to quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen on the sideline, who then relayed the play call in to the quarterback on the field.  As you might imagine, this process can be a bit lengthier than normal and, when dealing with a specific play clock, could sometimes be the difference between getting a play off and getting a delay of game.  It seemed to work out alright for the Colts last year, but it wasn't ideal.

Now, Christsen is gone and it's unclear whether Chudzinski will continue to work from the booth or not.  This rule change, though, could have an impact on his decision, as if it is approved it would allow Chudzinski to remain in the booth yet still call the plays in to Andrew Luck directly on the field rather than having to go through a middle-man on the sidelines.  This rule change might not have as big of an impact on the result of games, but it could certainly have a significant impact on the way the Colts' offense operates next season if it is passed.