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Cheese Curds, 2/17: NFL to discuss making some COVID rules changes permanent

Don’t expect the NFL to simply go back to the way it operated in 2019 after seeing how some of their new rules functioned in 2020.

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Super Bowl LV Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Fans will be back in the stands. Preseason games will happen again. And, hopefully, masks and daily nasal swabs will not be around forever.

But for all of the changes the NFL made in 2020 to protect its players and its product from the COVID-19 pandemic that will be going back to normal, there are plenty that should stick around for a while. In Tuesday’s Cheese Curds we discussed the league’s expanded roster rules — and the Green Bay Packers’ creative use of them — and that area appears to be one where the league is open to keeping some of the changes in place for future years.

Likewise, the offseason program, specifically the more virtual structure that it took in 2020, may be another place where the league looks to maintain its 2020 model. Then there is college scouting, where online videoconferences between teams and players became the norm; that would save a lot of money and would allow teams to get more face time with players even when Pro Days and the NFL Combine return to normal.

It’s intriguing to puzzle through which changes will stay and which will go, but these are just a few of the things that the NFL will consider in its next round of owners’ meetings.

Now on to curds.

Joe Barry must adapt Rams’ scheme to Packers’ personnel | (subscription)
The Packers have at least one stud at most position groups, but one area that is a question mark is at inside linebacker. The Rams had good, solid linebackers in 2019, but saw Cory Littleton leave in free agency for 2020. They were still an elite defense, though, so perhaps Barry can find a way to develop the players at that position while putting them in positions to succeed.

Choosing the MVP of MVPs: Which was the best from the Lombardi years? |
Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, and Bart Starr each won an MVP award in the 1960s. So which one was the true MVP? I'm definitely going with Starr, who led the team to a title without either of those two backs in 1967 and still (somehow!) holds the NFL's career postseason passer rating record.

Making the case for and against the Packers re-signing C Corey Linsley | Packers Wire
The case for it is pretty simple: Linsley was the All-Pro center in 2020 and is a tremendous anchor in the middle of the line. The case against it largely comes down to age, money, and some nagging injuries that have limited him a bit lately.

NFL's pandemic season prompts changes that may stay – The Athletic (subscription)
The pandemic forced changes to NFL offseason workouts, scouting methods and the draft. Not everything will be coming back -- hopefully the expanded roster rules stick around, while players seemed to really appreciate the flexibility of the virtual offseason program.

A running back renovation? Packers could lose Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams in free agency | WI State Journal
The Packers offered Jones deals more than once during the season with high average salaries, but he reportedly wanted more guaranteed money. Meanwhile, Williams evidently never received an offer for an extension.

N.J. man set fire to his lawn to get rid of snow and ice, cops say -
A good friend of mine says he wants to buy a flamethrower to clear his driveway. That would be a much smarter way of going about it than this New Jersey man, who poured a half-gallon of gasoline on his yard and lit it.