Owner Gene Klein of the San Diego Chargers will carry the best wishes of every offensive lineman when he presses for a rule change at a meeting of the National Football League beginning Monday in Palm Springs, Calif.
Klein proposes that "subtle" holding be allowed. He would prefer making holding legal "except in flagrant cases" and have the penalty reduced from 10 to five yards.
Klein's objection to the present rule is that "it just blocks too many scoring drives. The defense is allowed to do a lot of things . . . grab a man . . . throw him down like a sack of potatoes. The offense needs ways to offset this."
Mike Brown, assistant general manager of the Cincinnati Bengals, wants to make it easier for passers "by prohibiting 'situation substitutions (the nickle defense, for instance),' except in short-yardage and goal-line plays."
As an instance, on third-and-one a team still could bring in an extra defensive lineman. But in third-and-10 a fifth defensive back would be illegal.'
Brown's father, Paul, is a member of the competition committee, which makes recommendations about rules changes.
The younger Brown says the league has compiled statistics from 1970 through 1977, demonstrating that passing has fallen off sharply, thus cutting down on the entertainment factor for fans.
He also proposes that defenders be prohibited from bumping any pass receiver who is split five or more yards from the offensive tackle. He noted that cornerback Pat Fischer of the Redskins started the bump-and-run pass defense more than 15 years ago, when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Besides considering changes to stimulate scoring, the club owners will hear recommindations about several other proposed rules changes.
There will be reports on the use of a seventh official, or "slide judge," used during eight exhibition games in 1977 and the feasibility of using a form of instant replay to assist game officials.
Tie-breaking procedures to determine playoff participants and game sites will be reviewed, as will tie-breaking procedures to determine in which order teams can draft college players.
Preparations will be made for converting from a 14 to 16 game regular season, the addition of two wild card teams, and squad limits, trading dead-lines and waiver procedures.