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Saturday, August 2, 2008
Could force-out rule change affect play calls?


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

On my first stop on my first trip around the AFC South, I asked Tony Dungy about the abolition of the force out-rule judgment. Receivers have to get both feet down in bounds, or passes will be ruled incomplete.

A piece of Dungy's answer made my ears perk up: "I think it'll change where you throw the ball, definitely."

"I think it will be bigger for the offense, just having to understand that some of those jump balls you threw on the sideline and the things right on the boundary may not be completions this year," Dungy said. "But I like the rule. I think it will be much easier to officiate consistently. And you won't have those plays that get reviewed or maybe don't get reviewed -- is it a force out? Isn't it? What constitutes that? I think everyone knows now you have to get two feet down and that will make it easier."

I was surprised that he suggested the rule change could actually impact some play calls, and left eager to see what the other three coaches had to say on the subject.

But Gary Kubiak, Jeff Fisher and Jack Del Rio all lined up on the other side. Each said he don't envision the change influencing any decisions regarding pass plays.

Among players, defensive backs certainly feel like a rule alteration has finally gone their way.

"I think it's a good rule," injured Houston cornerback Dunta Robinson said. "A lot of things have gone against us as DBs in the past. To get one of these rules on our side is a good thing. If he's in the air, I'm going, I'm pushing him out, I'm doing everything I can."