Regardless of how fun (and agonizing) it is to discuss the inconsistent catch rule, it isn't the only rule the NFL is taking a closer look at. In an interview with John Kryk of the Toronto Sun, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino discussed three specific rules the league is emphasizing this season.

To be clear, these three rules don't involve any drastic changes. They're just points of emphasis, meaning officials will be watching these three rules more carefully during the upcoming season.

Note: All quotes were said by Blandino, per the Toronto Sun.

Point No. 1. Low hits on the quarterback:

"One is low hits on the quarterback in the passing posture. That was something that we did see an increase in last year, so the competition committee wants us to emphasize that. The quarterback in the passing posture in the pocket gets protected from hits in the knee area or below -- forcible hits. And it's incumbent on the defender to avoid (that area) when the contact is avoidable. That will be an emphasis point. We've spent a lot of time with coaching staffs, and spent a lot of time looking at game video with our game officials."

Quarterbacks are certainly the unofficial kings of the league, which means protecting them is high on the NFL's priority list. Hits like these, which left Marcus Mariota hobbled, are the kind of hits the NFL will watch closely:

The rule makes sense, but that doesn't mean defenders will approve of the extra emphasis. They already can't hit a quarterback near the head, which leaves the midsection as pretty much the only legal hitting area.

Point No. 2. Protecting runners when sliding feet first:

"We're emphasizing runners -- quarterbacks for the most part -- who slide to gain additional protection. So any runner can slide feet first and gain special protection, and actually be treated like a player who's down by contact. But the key is you have to slide feet first, and you have to slide before contact is imminent ... If they slide any other way than feet first, they don't get additional protection."

Again, this is primarily a quarterback rule. Again, it makes life difficult for defenders, who'll be forced to hesitate whenever a quarterback begins running down field.

Case in point: During Blaine Gabbert's tying touchdown run against the Bears in Week 13 of last year, he juked more than a few defenders, with one of those victims being Bears safety Adrian Amos (No. 38), who hardly offered any resistance. After the game, Amos revealed that he thought the 49ers quarterback would slide on the play.

He hesitated, but Gabbert didn't.

Preparing to hit a quarterback and then being forced to pull up just as he begins his slide isn't exactly the easiest task in the world.

Still, like the rule above, this also makes sense. A sliding runner is basically defenseless and the league shouldn't want defenseless players taking hits.

Point No. 3. Crown-of-the-helmet hits:

"We're also looking at crown-of-the-helmet hits by defenders on runners outside the tackle box. That rule was put in in 2013, and that will be an emphasis point. In the past the defender had to line up the runner, lower his head and use the crown to make forcible contact. The committee looked at that and we're eliminating the line-up provision, so any forcible contact with the crown of the helmet -- the very top of the helmet -- to a runner outside of the tackle box will be a foul, regardless of the path the defender takes."

The key part there: Defenders don't need to line up the runner before using the crown of their helmet to draw a flag. Any "forcible contact with the crown of the helmet" outside the tackle box will result in a penalty.

With the NFL taking more steps to make football safer, this one shouldn't come as a surprise.

Wink of the CBS eye to the Toronto Sun