Rule change has QBs passing fancy

Thanks to a new rule emphasis, seven quarterbacks are on track for 4,000-yard seasons.

Originally Published: November 5, 2004
By Joe Theismann | ESPN Insider
One of the more significant rule changes in the NFL this season has been the new emphasis on the 5-yard chuck rule for cornerbacks. Officials have been focusing more on illegal contact from defensive backs, and passing yardage has risen proportionately.

The league has given considerable liberty to wide receivers -- as a defender, it's almost as if you can't touch them. The new rule emphasis has essentially taken the term "shut-down corner" out of commission.

In fact, I said earlier this fall that I expect there to be at least five 4,000-yard passers this season.

Joe Theismann

Football analyst
Former college and pro football star Joe Theismann has served as an analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Football since 1988. He also is frequently heard on ESPN Radio, regularly contributes to and has contributed to the NFL Draft.