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Cheese Curds, 3/29: Will the NFL’s efforts to make football safer actually work?

Related: will they turn fans and players away from the game?

NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Football is, inherently, a dangerous sport.

Let’s get that out of the way immediately. There is risk associated with playing football, risk that every player accepts when they put on a helmet and step onto the field. However, there should be ways to mitigate that risk level while still putting forth an entertaining product.

The NFL’s competition committee has been looking at head injuries and is attempting to reduce the risk of serious injuries by instituting rule changes. However, these attempts are often seen as an attempt to ruin or soften the game overall, which the committee disputes. One NFL head coach this week spoke out in support of a new rule, saying that it will not fundamentally change the game but should eliminate certain actions and plays that have the very highest risk of causing major injury.

Of course, the application of the new rule will determine how effective it is in both maintaining a physical and entertaining sport and also making it safer for those participating on the field.

Then again, while the league is trying to make steps to reduce the number of concussions that take place, it still has dragged its feet in supporting players with CTE and significant effects after their playing careers are done. With that in mind, it’s not time to start praising the league universally for these changes when they still have yet to really take the lead in helping out former players as well as current and future ones.

NFL free agency: Packers playing the long game | Packersnews.com
Yes, the Packers have signed just one cornerback, a 35-year-old who is very familiar to the organization. But with a look at all the moves and trades and cuts that happened last year between March and August, there should still be plenty of opportunities to continue improving the roster - not to mention the fact that there are still some quality free agents available.

5 impact players Packers could sign during second wave of free agency | Packers Wire
For example: Jordan Matthews and Delvin Breaux have visited or will visit the Packers, while safeties like Eric Reid or Tre Boston could be an interesting fit in Green Bay.

NFL competition committee says if kickoffs aren't made safer, it will recommend eliminating it | ESPN
Even though the league moved touchbacks up to the 25, reducing the number of kickoffs that are returned, the rate of injury on that play is still far too high for the committee's liking -- Mark Murphy said that concussion risk is five times higher on kickoffs than any other play, leading the committee to consider recommending their elimination entirely.

NFL catch rule: What if Dez Bryant, Jesse James non-catches had counted? - SBNation.com
We all know that if Dez had actually caught it, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense would have driven straight down the field and won the game anyway.

Sean Payton: Helmet rule shouldn't end 'physicality' - NFL.com
Come for Payton's comments about the NFL remaining physical even despite the helmet rule; stay for a tweet from one NFL player about how the rule is "Sugar Coding" the game.