Belichick gives the boot to NFL's kickoff proposal

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Belichick gives the boot to NFL's kickoff proposal

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

NEW ORLEANS - The NFL's Competition Committee hatched a proposal that would radically change kickoffs. Bill Belichick hates it. The proposal, which would move the line of scrimmage on kickoffs from the 30 to the 35, would result in more touchbacks. Yet the line of scrimmage after a touchback would now be the 25 instead of the 20. Additionally, the kickoff team would only be allowed a 5-yard runup before the kickoff - currently there's no limit. And there would be no wedge-making. Currently, two players are allowed to join together to block for a kickoff return. "It's a very complicated proposal," Belichick said to a group of reporters in the hallway at the Roosevelt Hotel. "I dont like the idea of removing the kickoff from the game. I think it's one of the most exciting plays in football. It seems to me the Competition Committee wants to eliminate that from the game."Belichick went a step further, noting that the notion it's proposed for player safety didn't come through in the commuttee's presentation Sunday night. "I dont know that its because of head injuries, Belichick said. The ones they showed, there werent very many of them. I think you should talk to the Competition Committee. They are the ones that really proposed the rule. Talk to Rich McKay, whoever else is on the committee and see what they have to say about it. There are a lot of components to it, four different elements to it. Its a complicated rule."One thing that isn't complicated - Belichick's feelings on the proposal.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

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Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo still has faith in New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones.

The cornerback, who was the Patriots' top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, struggled mightily in his rookie season. He fumbled his way out of a role on special teams, where he served as a returner.

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He then failed to perform at nickel cornerback, and the Patriots traded for Eric Rowe, who pushed Jones down the depth chart and often onto the inactives on game day. Jones' emotional outburst during Week 5 when he got ejected for punching Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins didn't help.

Despite all that, Mayo thinks Jones will turn things around.

"I think Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year," Mayo said in the latest edition of "The Ex Pats" podcast. "I want people to remember a rookie [Matthew] Slater. A rookie Matt Slater was terrible. He would sit here on this podcast and tell you he's terrible, and I think Cyrus Jones is more athletic than Matthew Slater. I think -- I know for a fact, because I've seen it time and time again, the biggest leap not only in athleticsm but also in confidence is from year one to year two."

Jones admitted to the Baltimore Sun that his rookie was "hell." He added he felt "embarrassed." The 23-year-old cornerback said he didn't feel like he was a part of New England's Super Bowl LI win.

“Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently,” Jones wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.

Mayo seems to think Jones has learned his lesson, and will rebound with the help of Bill Belichick. And the Patriots may need Butler to be the most-improved player. Malcolm Butler's future with New England has become uncertain, and the remaining top cornerbacks are over 6-feet.

The Patriots need a slot corner. Jones is the next man up.

"As much as the media has kind of battered this young kid, Bill's going to boost him up this entire offseason," Mayo said. "Bill -- he's the best at putting lowlights up after a game . . . But during the offseason, he kind of -- it's individualized coach. He knows this guy's confidence is in the toilet. He's going to boost him up as much as possible.

"You know [Jones] can play football. He played in the SEC. He played on the top team on the country, and was a standout performer. So this is a confidence issue. This entire thing is a confidence issue, and I think they fix that."