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Friday, August 07, 2009

Friday odds and ends

The Steratore brothers, Gene and Tony, are here as part of the officiating crew that was assigned to the Steelers practice to help out with interpretation of new rules and points of emphasis.

Gene and Tony are both Washington County guys and we in the media had a good meeting with them early this afternoon after they showed us the NFL film on the new rules in place for 2009.

The Hines Ward block on Cincinnati's Keith Rivers was shown prominently when the new rule outlawing blocks behind the play to the head and shoulders were talked about.

Gene Steratore explained that those kind of blocks will still be legal as long as there's no blow to the head or shoulders delivered. What the league wants is a block to the torso. He also said that whether the blocker is coming back toward the line of scrimmage will come into effect.

Shots to the quarterback's knees will also be penalized this season - unless the defender is attempting to wrap up the QB.

Groups of more than two players in a wedge is also outlawed. Blockers cannot be set up in groups of three on kickoffs if that third blocker is within two yards of the other two players. Teams covering kickoffs must also have three players on the outside of both hash marks.

© Also of note was that the officials, when asked, explained why more holding calls aren't called against players trying to block James Harrison.

According to the officials, if a defensive player puts himself in a position to be held - ie. goes to a rip move which puts him up underneath the offensive player - then they won't call it unless the defensive player clearly gets his feet past the offensive player.

If at that point, the arm is still around the neck, it's a hold.

In this case, Harrison's lack of height works against him. Since he rips a lot, he's forcing the arm up around the neck. But until he gets his feet past the defender, it's not a hold.

At least that's the league's story and they're sticking to it.

© Gene Steratore brought Washington County judge Mark Mascara and his family out here for the morning practice. It was nice to see Mark out and about. He was recently diagnosed with cancer and my thoughts have been with him during his trying time.

I coached Mark's son, Jameson, in baseball a couple of years ago and got to know him and his family. They're good people and hopefully he can beat this.


Collin Williams said...

You can't tackle a quarterback by the knees. That's stupid

Dale Lolley said...

You can if you wrap him up, or swipe, as they said.
You can't go blunt-force to the knees or dive at them.

kelly said...

You know there's going to be even more tough calls on hits to the QB this season... Hopefully it's at least consistent.

It's getting to the point where you can't even sack a QB anymore... Where the hell are you supposed to hit them??

kelly said...

I think the knee thing was in there before anyway, wasn't it???

Patrick said...

I don't have a problem with the QB knees rule. If what happened to Brady last year happened to Ben, we would be ok with it. These are some of the most entertaining, yet defenseless, players in the game and if we have top QB's risking career ending injuries every season, something out of the game will be lost.

At the same time, I agree a lot of these rules are losing the physicality that is inherent to the game. I don't like many of the roughing the QB calls, but we can't have people going at their legs. And I'm not even sure last year's hit on Brady was intentional, or Palmer's. But it's a rule that tries to limit it and I'm ok with it. These aren't rules for players in motion carrying the ball, like a RB or WR. Its designed for players who are standing there with their whole body exposed and trying to complete a pass.

The wedge rule I don't agree with and practically eliminates the wedge buster role. The hash requirements will change the way onside kicks are done too. And they were hard enough to accomplish as it was.

Anonymous said...

What does "He also said that whether the blocker is coming back toward the line of scrimmage will come into effect." mean? That it is illegal for an offensive player to block coming back towards the line of scrimmage? That the judgment on a Hines Ward block is tighter if the offensive player is coming back towards the line of scrimmage? If not, what?

Captain Cocktail said...

A good percentage of blows to the knees is from the defenseman being blocked into the knees.

I'm not buying into the holding explanation

Glad to see that Mark was out and about

Anonymous said...

Yeah, wasn't that rule already put in place after the Kimo hit on Palmer? What's the story with that?

Ben said...

Wow does the holding on Harrison "explanation" ring like a big barrel of crap or what?

Ok so what's their excuse for all the holds not called for blatant holds on Lamar Woodley?

Effectively what they're saying is it's only a hold on James Harrison if the OLineman tackles him from behind? BS. I would have more respect for officials if they just came out and said "look if we blew the whistle every time someone held Harrison the games would be 6 hours long"

Anonymous said...

so I guess in the SB Harrison suddenly got his feet past the blocker where he hadn't most of the season?
something is very wrong here.

Dale Lolley said...

Well, that was just one group of officials. Others may have different interpretations - in regards to the non-holding penalties on Harrison.
Some officials call more of a certain penalty than others. That's a fact of the game.

As for the line of scrimmage thing with the blocks, as it was explained to us, if the receiver is coming back toward the play and hits the guy in the head/neck with his head or shoulder, it's going to be a penalty. Of course he also can't go low on him. They're looking for a block to the torso there.

Now, if he's running even with the play or down the field, it's OK.

I asked the officials if they thought this was adding more judgment on their part to the game and they answered yes.

Anonymous said...

Steratore brothers might live in Washington County but they're from Fayette County.

Tim said...

I agree with Ben. A hold is a hold. But the officials know that if they call holding every time Harrison is even blatantly held, there'd be 5 or 6 flags per game on ONE offensive lineman. That in addition to any sacks Harrison gets. The game would be dramatically impacted. It would cripple the opposing team, and the refs would be pegged as the reason. Referees don't want to be seen, they want to disappear. If they get no attention, they think they are doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

Just read where the Steelers signed They waived Refrett.