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Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Transitional" Players



by LosAngelis
PackerChatters Staff

I like the Franks signing, because I see him as an important transitional player between the ending of the Favre era and the start of the Rodgers* era.

The end of the Favre era could be the end of this year, or more likely the end of 2006. Maybe further, but I doubt it.

I do not see Green as being as important of a transitional player. As much as I love him, three-four years from now, I don't see him being able to contribute as he has.

I see Walker and Fergie as important transitional players, but due to Driver's age, he may not be as key.

Obviously, Tauscher and Clifton probably factor into being an important transitional players, but Flanagan probably do not.

So, offensively, the players I would hope to see three years from now surrounding Rodgers* would be:

Walker
Ferguson
Franks
Tauscher
Clifton

Not including Green, Davenport, or Fisher bothers me. Is this a need once Favre retires, or should one of these guys be considered important pieces of the future?

Obviously, we could make a list of such players on defense, but I was looking mostly at offense right now. Defense still seems to be in a bit of flux..hard to say who we would want three years from now, other than perhaps Barnett.

To me, the definition of a "transitional" player is a proven solid starter or contributor that is young enough to continue a high level of play over the next four years.

Just thought I'd throw it out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Random Thoughts from 8-22 Training Camp


by Lare
for PackerChatters

Attended TC practice yesterday with my son and his girlfriend under beautiful sunny skies in GB. It was hard to cover the entire practice field with so many people watching and so much going on at any given time, but here are some of my impressions from what I saw.

QBs- Favre is looking as sharp as I've ever seen him. The only incompletions I saw from him were dropped balls or good defensive plays. Also, in my opinion Rodgers looked better than Nall and O' Sullivan, although they also had their moments. However, that may have been due to the fact that Rodgers mostly threw to his shorter receivers instead of throwing downfield. Got to give Rodgers credit for sticking around after the practice and signing autographs for the kids for about a half an hour.

RBs- They appeared to work quite a bit on the running game yesterday. Green looked good as did Harris and Johnese (Davenport didn't practice). They had a full-contact scrimmage at the end of the practice with mostly the 2nd and 3rd string offensive and defensive players. Both Harris and Johnese had some good runs showing good change of direction and vision in traffic.

WRs- Walker didn't practice, so Driver, Chatman, Thurman and Breeden got a lot of work. Both Driver and Chatman seem to be right in tune with Brett as he repeatedly hit them in stride for completions.

TEs- I only saw one dropped ball from the TEs yesterday (Fleming), and they were passed to often in dump-off situations. I don't know if that was by design to see what they could do with Franks, Martin and Steele out, or if it was just good coverage from the defense.

OL- Hate to single him out, but I can't see any chance of Morley making the team. He played quite a bit yesterday, but looked lethargic and disinterested to me. I even saw one play where he could have made a block on a sweep around his end and he just quit and let the LB make the tackle at the line of scrimmage. I would say that Ruegamer is a lock to make the team. He was the starting center yesterday with Flanagan not suited up, and he also alternated with Davis as the long snapper early in the ST practice. Hard to really judge the OL's performance because there wasn't any full-contact until the end, but one thing I do know, there's some real beef on the line when Barry and Whitticker are playing next to each other on the right side.

DL- Lee and Washington played quite a bit with the 1st and 2nd string defenses, and neither was too impressive in my opinion. On several of the plays they just got blown off the line of scrimmage, and Washington just never seemed to be giving 100%. We noticed Bates working by himself with Grady Jackson on some drills across the field and Grady seemed to move pretty well. Overall, I never saw any real pressure on any of the QBs and several good runs by the RBs, so that's probably an indication of how much of a weakness this area is going to be this season unless Jackson and Hunt come back healthy and enthused.

LB- Don't know if it means anything but Sherman spent a considerable amount of time watching the LB's during their team drills. Of all the defensive positions, I was probably more impressed by the play of the LBs than any other. Manning, Barnett and Lenon played well and were singled out for praise by the coaches.

DBs- Collins, Roman, Harris and Carroll were the starting defensive backfield in practice, although Roman only played a short while and then was on the sideline with an ice bag on his hamstring. Carroll looked very fast on all the drills and ST's portion of the practice, although he seemed to have trouble grasping one of the drills forcing Bates to show it to him several times before he understood. Dendy made a great play on one pass, knocking it away at the last minute. Collins' ankle was heavily taped and you could tell he wasn't able to run full-speed, but as he was riding a bike over to the practice I asked how it was as he passed us and he said it was alright.

ST- Don't know if it was due to their poor play Saturday night, but Bonamego was pretty loud and animated during the ST portion of practice. They mostly worked on coverages for directional KOs and downing punts within the 20, and both Sander and Longwell looked good although it was hard to judge distance from our angle.

Other- After the practice, I was able to talk to Jim Bates for a couple of minutes walking across the parking lot as he was autographing a football for my son. I asked him how things were going and he expressed frustration in not being able to really judge where the defense was at with so many starters out with injuries. Although it was unsaid, I got the impression that was also a sign of frustration in how many of the young players (probably on the DL) haven't developed as they'd hoped. I told him we had faith that he'd get it done, and he smiled and said thanks, he hoped so.

Remembering...Why Cut Sharper?



by Mark Quarderer
PackerChatters Staff


It was midway through the 2003 season that the redoubtable Dave in Texas began the "Cut Sharper" movement over at Zbuds. At the time, I was thinking...what? He'd just been in the Pro Bowl the previous season.

But I knew Dave to be a knowledgeable person, so I started really paying attention to Sharper after that and you know what? His legend was bigger than his actuall contribution on the field. He freelanced and it paid off sometimes.......but it also hurt us quite a bit.

As a tackler, he'd always taken poor angles and he now seemed to have lost just enough speed that it was hurting him. And as a cover guy he seemed like he was just a step slow in bringing the safety help on the deep routes.

So by the end of the season, I was in Dave's corner on this. I thought the Packers should cut him, save the money, and move in a new direction at safety.

But Dave and I were in the minority on this, and the prevailing sentiment was that Sharper was one of our few playmakers on defense and we should keep him. Which we did.

As the 2004 season went through one bad performance by the secondary after another, it was clear when reviewing the films that we were getting bad play from our safeties. They were frequently out of position, whether by design or miscommunication, they tackled poorly which enabled numerous plays to become long gainers, and Sharper in particular was a liability in coverage. Teams like Indy and Minnesota and Philly were just lining up a slot receiver and forcing us to cover with a safety.

IF we covered with Roman, Sharper played deep safety and just didn't have the speed or range to help out. If we covered with Sharper, he just couldn't keep his man covered. So either way we were screwed.

So as the season wound down I was really hoping we'd part ways with Sharper, which we ultimately did. A number of people were in favor of keeping Sharper at a reduced rate....the number of $2 million/year was thrown around.....but my attitude is that a guy that can't play isn't a help at any price.

And now he's followed the money to Minnesota. Personally, I think that Minnesota wasted money on this guy and that makes me happy, but sometimes new settings can rejuvenate a vet and perhaps that'llhappen with Sharper.......time will tell.

But I have absolutely no regrets about parting company with Sharper and bring in guys like Collins, Underwood, and Little. Not only are these guys a fraction of the cost but they're faster and better tacklers....and younger, which means they'll improve.

It's hard to say goodbye to our favorites, and Sharper had been a favorite of mine, but in the NFL you're either improving or you're declining.....you never just stand still.....and Sharper's best football was clearly behind him. Time to move on.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Buffalo Post-Mortem



by Mark Quarderer
PackerChatters Staff

The Packers second preseason game gave this observer a lot to be happy
about, but there’s still some significant areas of doubt regarding this
team.

On the plus side, I guess you’d start with the opening possession by the
first offense. Working against a pretty good Buffalo defense that had most
of its starters in uniform, they moved the ball down the field pretty
effectively and converted the drive into a touchdown. The drive was a good
mix of pass and run, using multiple formations, had good tempo and rhythm,
and really looked very much like the effort of an elite NFL offense.

I think this much is true: The only things that are going to stop the
offense this year are if the opponent plays 14 men on defense, or the Packer
offense themselves. This is a group which I have taken to task in past
seasons for being a very error-prone group…penalties, fumbles,
interceptions, dropped passes, etc, but it’s very clear that if they don’t
stop themselves they aren’t going to be stopped very often.

The Packer offensive line continues to look like the strength of this team,
talented and deep. Although Klemm and Whitticker started for the 2nd
straight game, there wasn’t any real dropoff when Wells and Reugamer came in
the game. My best guess as to the interior of our line this year is
Klemm-Flanagan-Whitticker with Wells and Reugamer as backups. White and
Coston are both strong candidates for the practice squad and it looks like
O’Dwyer is probably the odd man out.

Driver had a drop near the end zone on the initial drive. The defender did
make a nice play by hitting Driver before he could put the ball away, but
IMO, this is a catch that Driver can make, and should. Driver was
obviously Favre’s target du jour as Favre eschewed an easy toss to Javon
Walker for the first down to throw to a well covered Driver in the back of
the end zone. Chatman also had a nice catch and run for a first down. A
very high percentage of Chatman’s catches result in first downs and although
he continues to take a beating in the Packer fan forums for his supposed
limitations he’s doing a very solid job as a returner and receiver.

The Packers caught the Bills unaware when they lined up in an empty
backfield, then shifted Ahman Green and snapped on a quick count. He bust
up the gut for 11 but other than that it was another relatively unproductive
night for Ahman Green. This is most definitely an area of concern because
I just do not see how the Packers can be legitimate contenders for anything
if they can’t establish Ahman Green early and often. Najeh Davenport had a
number of carries and once he turns the corner and gets headed upfield he’s
a pretty good looking runner. However, he rarely defeats the first tackler
and doesn’t get as many yards after first contact as you’d think a guy like
him would get.

At this point, I would think that running the ball has to be an area of
concern for the Packers.

Another area of concern has to be the backup quarterback positioin. For
the second straight week Rodgers has looked tentative and mechanical. The
interception he threw was a simple case of him turning, locking onto the
receiver, and the defensive back anticipating the throw all the way. He
doesn’t really appear to be seeing what’s going on downfield and is
satisfied with short dump offs. The problem with that is that unless you
hurt teams downfield they’ll sit on the short routes and that’s what is
happening with him right now. He doesn’t look very much like the
confident, aggressive quarterback who sliced and diced the defense of the
number one team in the country last year. A pocket analysis would be……he’s
thinking too much.

Whatever the cause of the problem is, it’s difficult to see how the Packers
can enter the season with him as the #2 quarterback at this point.
Unfortunately, Craig Nall isn’t really a lot better at this point and even
though he looks a little more self-assured out on the field he doesn’t have
nearly the upside of Rodgers.

When you saw how Rodgers looked last night, and then you saw how JP Losman
looked last night……..it shows that a year of experience counts for quite a
lot.

Rodgers could simplify everything by coming out and having a good game and
moving the team, but he hasn’t done it so far and unless he does it soon the
Packers are going to have a difficult decision to make: Do we put Rodgers
at #2 so he gets the practice reps with the first team, or do we relegate
him to the scout team?

Defensively, I think the Packers showed a variety of things that have to be
considered encouraging.

First, they held JP Losman to a QB rating in the first half of 61.7….that’s
good. And they didn’t surrender a single long play. They got some good
pressure on Losman. They covered well. And they landed some very nice
hits that elicited a spontaneous “Oooohh!!” from the crowd. The Generals,
Washington and Lee, did a good job of clogging the middle on the run.

This really looks very much like the “bend but don’t break” defense that is
part and parcel of what Bates is trying to do. Unfortunately, at some
point you have to make a play to get off the field. Buffalo’s first three
possessions all resulted in scores, although two of them started well inside
Green Bay’s territory courtesy of some sloppy special teams play (more on
that later).

Buffalo converted a first and twenty , a second and 17, and a third and 7.
Although the Packer defense did an excellent job of containing Buffalo, when
you have an offense on the ropes you have to close the deal and the Packers
just didn’t do that.

A big part of that problem was mistakes by the defense. Although they
weren’t penalized a lot, they had a couple of critical penalties, none more
damaging than Hannibal Navies call for holding which negated a safety.
Buffalo went on to get a field goal on that drive. On another TD drive, the
Packers helped out the Bills by jumping offsides.

And of course, the most successful play the Bills ran on this night was the
quarterback scramble. I have long argued that containing the QB and not
letting him hurt you with scrambles is probably more important than getting
sacks and I can’t think of a single thing in the game that would change my
mind on this.

I repeatedly get on our offense for making critical mistakes, but on this
night a few critical mistakes by the defense undid what was for the most
part a pretty good effort.

Our special teams had a rocky night. We gave up a long kick return, a long
punt return, and our kick returner repeatedly got hit inside his own 20.
That’s not good. However, the worst of the worst would be the Roy Manning
“ineligible downfield” penalty which negated a fumbled punt recovery.
Again, in this game, mistakes hurt…..probably a lot more than people think.

A poster in a former work place of mine once said “One Oh Shit wipes out
1000 Attaboys.” While I don’t think the ratio is quite that bad, it’s
clear that two or three or four good plays don’t balance out very well
against one critical error.

Next week is the third preseason game of the year, against World Champion
New England. Traditionally, the third game is when you really put your
best team out there and try to play your best, resting your key people in
the fourth game. In my opinion, the Packer offense needs to show it can
duplicate what they did against Buffalo, they need to establish the run, the
defense needs to make fewer mistakes and actually make a play or two and
they’ll need to play better than they did on special teams. After this
game, there’s going to be some cuts as the Packers trim their roster and
some of these guys on the bubble are going to have one last chance to show
why they belong.

But the Packer season isn’t going to be defined by the bubble guys. The
Packers are going to be defined by what our skill position players on
offense do this year. If they move the ball and look like they did on the
first drive against Buffalo, the Packers are going to have a very good
season. If they look like the error-plagued and ineffective group that
turned it over 4 times and scored 17 against Minnesota last January, we’re
probably going to have a tough time.

And that’s the view from the pool.

Some Things That I Think I Think, Buffalo Game



by LosAngelis
PackerChatters Staff

* Brett looked great. I won't sit here and complain about the Driver drop. He was still 4/6, 1 TD, no INT, and the only quarterback to throw a TD in the preseason. When he's out of the game, the wheels come off. He looks poised, and if you saw him at the end of the game, he doesn't look like he's about to suffer fools gladly this year, least of all himself. You heard MVP here first.

Aaron Rodgers looks pretty much in over his head for the second week in a row. He has happy feet a bit early, struggles with his progressions, and is simply not throwing the ball accurately. I'm hoping he starts living up to his ballyhooed confidence soon, trust me, but I'm callin' it like I see it right now. Next week, against the Patriots defense, I hope they put Rodgers in third instead of second. He needs to cue it up against some second-stringers and get a flow of the game instead of going against first stringers. He simply hasn't had the game "slow down" for him yet. Threw an interception, too.


Craig Nall
did not lead any scoring drives, and while his protection broke down at the end of the game, he did not do much in the third quarter to redeem himself. As expected, he's the same old Nall. Just enough good plays to tease you along, and too many poor plays to make the staff think he's good enough to be a starter. Trouble is, his performance probably isn't making any other teams stand up and take notice and be willing to offer us higher than a 5th rounder for him.

Running game looked better this week than in past weeks, and if you count screens as runs (like we used to in the Holmgren era), Green had a great night. No fumbles for Ahman, and three nice catches on the scoring drive. The line has a way to go to match last year's perfomers, but they looked a bit better than last week (the first stringers, at least).

Receivers were a bit more invisible this week, other than Driver's "Doh!" drop at the 5. Favre and the QB's seemed to be focusing on plays out of the backfield much more this week. Uma Thurman played with a broken finger, had one drop, one nice catch high above him. Chatty had a nice third down conversion on the scoring drive.

I hope I am not able to refer to "the scoring drive" in a game and people know exactly which one I'm talking about after this week.

Special teams were terrible. Longwell and Sander were responsible for three special team tackles. They should not be even repsonsible for one. Sander looked ticked at the end of the game and gave teh returner on the 30-yard return a bit of extra vim and vigor out of bounds...surprised they didn't throw a flag on it.

Sander looked good...I think he averaged 43 yards, including the 33 yarder that was caught on the 21 yard line. So, other than that one, he probably averaged over 45 again. Trouble is, three of the Bills scores were starting inside the Packer 30. As I watched some of the coverage, the cover guys were still sprinting on a straight line past the returner, who only needed to juke to the left or right and avoid the tackler. Bonmego needs to get his act together, quick. Sherman's interview at halftime was pretty livid. He didn't want to talk about any other squad besides the ST, and his tone was far from happy.

Collins looked good, Underwood had a very nice tackle. Underwood got schmucked you-know-where at the end of the game. I remember that feeling from high school ball (no pun intended). Hawkins, as expected, had some moments of brilliance and some over runs or lost coverages. I still expect he will be starting at corner by the end of the year. Horton also looked like he was in there trying to make a pop. Little also looked good, though inconsistent. I think Little may be the starter alongside Collins if Roman doesn't establish himself. Carroll had one pass allowed, and didn't see any defensed.

Nice to see Poppinga get some playing time. Didn't really distinguish himself, but he needs some time to get in there and get used to it.

The TV guys did a nice job pointing out Bates' scheme as a true 4-3, where they generally do not bring up a lineback as an additional rusher. So, the LB's were back off the line watching the plays develop. The starters seemed to do a pretty good job most of the time, coming up and making plays, many making their first contact near the line of scrimmage.

Linemen were a bit better this week, and far better than the scrimmage. Obviously, they were given fields with their back against the wall, but there were no real huge runs given up through the middle. Kabeer had a nice safety called back on a ticky-tack call. If we have to go to war with Lee and Washington, I guess we could do worse.

I was disappointed with Kampman on a couple of occasions. On Losman's TD run, he was in the backfield and was simply juked out of his shorts. If he has contain on that side, he has to contain, not fall down and allow the runner to score. He seemed to do that on a couple other occasions...get into the backfield but not seal the deal, and not really even make his prescence disruptive. For a guy we had to bid for, he needs to step it up on plays like that.

* I was troubled at the end of the game with the frustration level. Yeah, we got pummelled score-wise on their field, but the mental breakdowns in pass protection, the anger by Sander, even Favre's growing frustration are all some yellow flags that need to be watched. As frustrated as Sherman was at halftime, that frustration can rub off on the team. A coach has to be a problem solver, not just mad and upset, and the same goes for the team.

Football 101...Officials' Jurisdictions, Positions, and Duties



by Mark Lawrence
PackerChatters Staff

Referee - General oversight and control of game. Gives signals for all fouls and is final authority for rule interpretations. Takes a position in backfield 10 to 12 yards behind line of scrimmage, favors right side (if quarterback is right-handed passer). Determines legality of snap, observes deep back(s) for legal motion. On running play, observes quarterback during and after handoff, remains with him until action has cleared away, then proceeds downfield, checking on runner and contact behind him. When runner is downed, Referee determines forward progress from wing official and, if necessary, adjusts final position of ball.

On pass plays, drops back as quarterback begins to fade back, picks up legality of blocks by near linemen. Changes to complete concentration on quarterback as defenders approach. Primarily responsible to rule on possible roughing action on passer and if ball becomes loose, rules whether ball is free on a fumble or dead on an incomplete pass.

During kicking situations, Referee has primary responsibility to rule on kicker’s actions and whether or not any subsequent contact by a defender is legal. The Referee stays wide and parallel on punts and will announce on the microphone when each period has ended.

Umpire - Primary responsibility to rule on players’ equipment, as well as their conduct and actions on scrimmage line. Lines up approximately four to five yards downfield, varying position from in front of weakside tackle to strongside guard. Looks for possible false start by offensive linemen. Observes legality of contact by both offensive linemen while blocking and by defensive players while they attempt to ward off blockers. Is prepared to call rule infractions if they occur on offense or defense. Moves forward to line of scrimmage when pass play develops in order to insure that interior linemen do not move illegally downfield. If offensive linemen indicate screen pass is to be attempted, Umpire shifts his attention toward screen side, picks up potential receiver in order to insure that he will legally be permitted to run his pattern and continues to rule on action of blockers. Umpire is to assist in ruling on incomplete or trapped passes when ball is thrown overhead or short. On punt plays, Umpire positions himself opposite Referee in offensive backfield - 5 yards from kicker and one yard behind.

Head Linesman - Primarily responsible for ruling on offside, encroachment, and actions pertaining to scrimmage line prior to or at snap. Generally, keys on closest setback on his side of the field. On pass plays, Linesman is responsible to clear his receiver approximately seven yards downfield as he moves to a point five yards beyond the line. Linesman’s secondary responsibility is to rule on any illegal action taken by defenders on any delay receiver moving downfield. Has full responsibility for ruling on sideline plays on his side, e.g., pass receiver or runner in or out of bounds. Together with Referee, Linesman is responsible for keeping track of number of downs and is in charge of mechanics of his chain crew in connection with its duties.

Linesman must be prepared to assist in determining forward progress by a runner on play directed toward middle or into his side zone. He, in turn, is to signal Referee or Umpire what forward point ball has reached. Linesman is also responsible to rule on legality of action involving any receiver who approaches his side zone. He is to call pass interference when the infraction occurs and is to rule on legality of blockers and defenders on plays involving ball carriers, whether it is entirely a running play, a combination pass and run, or a play involving a kick. Also assists referee with intentional grounding.

Line Judge - Straddles line of scrimmage on side of field opposite Linesman. Keeps time of game as a backup for clock operator. Along with Linesman is responsible for offside, encroachment, and actions pertaining to scrimmage line prior to or at snap. Line Judge keys on closest setback on his side of field. Line Judge is to observe his receiver until he moves at least seven yards downfield. He then moves toward backfield side, being especially alert to rule on any back in motion and on flight of ball when pass is made (he must rule whether forward or backward). Line Judge has primary responsibility to rule whether or not passer is behind or beyond line of scrimmage when pass is made. He also assists in observing actions by blockers and defenders who are on his side of field. After pass is thrown, Line Judge directs attention toward activities that occur in back of Umpire. During punting situations, Line Judge remains at line of scrimmage to be sure that only the end men move downfield until kick has been made. He also rules whether or not the kick crossed line and then observes action by members of the kicking team who are moving downfield to cover the kick. The Line Judge will advise the Referee when time has expired at the end of each period. Also assists referee with intentional grounding and determines whether pass is forward or backward.

Field Judge - Operates on same side of field as Line Judge, 20 yards deep. Keys on wide receiver on his side. Concentrates on path of end or back, observing legality of his potential block(s) or of actions taken against him. Is prepared to rule from deep position on holding or illegal use of hands by end or back or on defensive infractions committed by player guarding him. Has primary responsibility to make decisions involving sideline on his side of field, e.g., pass receiver or runner in or out of bounds.

Field Judge makes decisions involving catching, recovery, or illegal touching of a loose ball beyond line of scrimmage; rules on plays involving pass receiver, including legality of catch or pass interference; assists in covering actions of runner, including blocks by teammates and that of defenders; calls clipping on punt returns; and, together with Back Judge, rules whether or not field goal attempts are successful.

Side Judge - Operates on same side of field as Linesman, 20 yards deep. Keys on wide receiver on his side. Concentrates on path of end or back, observing legality of his potential block(s) or of actions taken against him. Is prepared to rule from deep position on holding or illegal use of hands by end or back or on defensive infractions committed by player guarding him. Has primary responsibility to make decisions involving sideline on his side of field, e.g., pass receiver or runner in or out of bounds.

Side Judge makes decisions involving catching, recovery, or illegal touching of a loose ball beyond line of scrimmage; rules on plays involving pass receiver, including legality of catch or pass interference; assists in covering actions of runner, including blocks by teammates and that of defenders; and calls clipping on punt returns. On field goals and point after touchdown attempts, he becomes a double umpire.

Back Judge - Takes a position 25 yards downfield. In general, favors the tight end’s side of field. Keys on tight end, concentrates on his path and observes legality of tight end’s potential block(s) or of actions taken against him. Is prepared to rule from deep position on holding or illegal use of hands by end or back or on defensive infractions committed by player guarding him.

Back Judge times interval between plays on 40/25-second clock plus intermission between two periods of each half; makes decisions involving catching, recovery, or illegal touching of a loose ball beyond line of scrimmage; is responsible to rule on plays involving end line; calls pass interference, fair catch infractions, and clipping on kick returns; together with Field Judge, rules whether or not field goals and conversions are successful; and stays with ball on punts.

========================================

Definitions

1. Chucking: Warding off an opponent who is in front of a defender by contacting him with a quick extension of arm or arms, followed by the return of arm(s) to a flexed position, thereby breaking the original contact.

2. Clipping: Throwing the body across the back of an opponent’s leg or hitting him from the back below the waist while moving up from behind unless the opponent is a runner or the action is in close line play.

3. Close Line Play: The area between the positions normally occupied by the offensive tackles, extending three yards on each side of the line of scrimmage. It is legal to clip above the knee.

4. Crackback: Eligible receivers who take or move to a position more than two yards outside the tackle may not block an opponent below the waist if they then move back inside to block.

5. Dead Ball: Ball not in play.

6. Double Foul: A foul by each team during the same down.

7. Down: The period of action that starts when the ball is put in play and ends when it is dead.

8. Encroachment: When a player enters the neutral zone and makes contact with an opponent before the ball is snapped.

9. Fair Catch: An unhindered catch of a kick by a member of the receiving team who must raise one arm a full length above his head and wave his arm from side to side while the kick is in flight.

10. Foul: Any violation of a playing rule.

11. Free Kick: A kickoff or safety kick. It may be a placekick, dropkick, or punt, except a punt may not be used on a kickoff following a touchdown, successful field goal, or to begin each half or overtime period. A tee cannot be used on a fair-catch or safety kick.

12. Fumble: The loss of possession of the ball.

13. Game Clock: Scoreboard game clock.

14. Impetus: The action of a player that gives momentum to the ball.

15. Live Ball: A ball legally free kicked or snapped. It continues in play until the down ends.

16. Loose Ball: A live ball not in possession of any player.

17. Muff: The touching of a loose ball by a player in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession.

18. Neutral Zone: The space the length of a ball between the two scrimmage lines. The offensive team and defensive team must remain behind their end of the ball.

Exception: The offensive player who snaps the ball.

19. Offside: A player is offside when any part of his body is beyond his scrimmage or free kick line when the ball is snapped or kicked.

20. Own Goal: The goal a team is guarding.

21. Play Clock: 40/25 second clock.

22. Pocket Area: Applies from a point two yards outside of either offensive tackle and includes the tight end if he drops off the line of scrimmage to pass protect. Pocket extends longitudinally behind the line back to offensive team’s own end line.

23. Possession: When a player controls the ball throughout the act of clearly touching both feet, or any other part of his body other than his hand(s), to the ground inbounds.

24. Post-Possession Foul: A foul by the receiving team that occurs after a ball is legally kicked from scrimmage prior to possession changing. The ball must cross the line of scrimmage and the receiving team must retain possession of the kicked ball.

25. Punt: A kick made when a player drops the ball and kicks it while it is in flight.

26. Safety: The situation in which the ball is dead on or behind a team’s own goal if the impetus comes from a player on that team. Two points are scored for the opposing team.

27. Shift: The movement of two or more offensive players at the same time before the snap.

28. Striking: The act of swinging, clubbing, or propelling the arm or forearm in contacting an opponent.

29. Sudden Death: The continuation of a tied game into sudden death overtime in which the team scoring first (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) wins.

30. Touchback: When a ball is dead on or behind a team’s own goal line, provided the impetus came from an opponent and provided it is not a touchdown or a missed field goal.

31. Touchdown: When any part of the ball, legally in possession of a player inbounds, breaks the plane of the opponent’s goal line, provided it is not a touchback.

32. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Any act contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship.

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Summary of Penalties

Automatic First Down

1. Awarded to offensive team on all defensive fouls with these exceptions:

(a) Offside.

(cool.gif Encroachment.

© Delay of game.

(d) Illegal substitution.

(e) Excessive time out(s).

(f) Incidental grasp of facemask.

(g) Neutral zone infraction.

(h) Running into the kicker.

(i) More than 11 players on the field at the snap.

Five Yards

1. Defensive holding or illegal use of hands (automatic first down).

2. Delay of game on offense or defense.

3. Delay of kickoff.

4. Encroachment.

5. Excessive time out(s).

6. False start.

7. Illegal formation.

8. Illegal shift.

9. Illegal motion.

10. Illegal substitution.

11. First onside kickoff out of bounds between goal lines and untouched or last touched by kicker.

12. Invalid fair catch signal.

13. More than 11 players on the field at snap for either team.

14. Less than seven men on offensive line at snap.

15. Offside.

16. Failure to pause one second after shift or huddle.

17. Running into kicker.

18. More than one man in motion at snap.

19. Grasping facemask of the ball carrier or quarterback.

20. Player out of bounds at snap.

21. Ineligible member(s) of kicking team going beyond line of scrimmage before ball is kicked.

22. Illegal return.

23. Failure to report change of eligibility.

24. Neutral zone infraction.

25. Loss of team time out(s) or five-yard penalty on the defense for excessive crowd noise.

26. Ineligible player downfield during passing down.

27. Second forward pass behind the line.

28. Forward pass is first touched by eligible receiver who has gone out of bounds and returned.

29. Forward pass touches or is caught by an ineligible receiver on or behind line.

30. Forward pass thrown from behind line of scrimmage after ball once crossed the line.

31. Kicking team player voluntarily out of bounds during a punt.

32. Twelve (12) men in the huddle.

10 Yards

1. Offensive pass interference.

2. Holding, illegal use of hands, arms, or body by offense.

3. Tripping by a member of either team.

4. Helping the runner.

5. Deliberately batting or punching a loose ball.

6. Deliberately kicking a loose ball.

7. Illegal block above the waist.

15 Yards

1. Chop block.

2. Clipping below the waist.

3. Fair catch interference.

4. Illegal crackback block by offense.

5. Piling on.

6. Roughing the kicker.

7. Roughing the passer.

8. Twisting, turning, or pulling an opponent by the facemask.

9. Unnecessary roughness.

10. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

11. Delay of game at start of either half.

12. Illegal low block.

13. A tackler using his helmet to butt, spear, or ram an opponent.

14. Any player who uses the top of his helmet unnecessarily.

15. A punter, placekicker, or holder who simulates being roughed by a defensive player.

16. Leaping.

17. Leverage.

18. Any player who removes his helmet after a play while on the field.

19. Taunting.

Five Yards and Loss of Down (Combination Penalty)

1. Forward pass thrown from beyond line of scrimmage.

10 Yards and Loss of Down (Combination Penalty)

1. Intentional grounding of forward pass (safety if passer is in own end zone). If foul occurs more than 10 yards behind line, play results in loss of down at spot of foul.

15 Yards and Loss of Coin Toss Option

1. Team’s late arrival on the field prior to scheduled kickoff.

2. Captains not appearing for coin toss.

15 Yards (and disqualification if flagrant)

1. Striking opponent with fist.

2. Kicking or kneeing opponent.

3. Striking opponent on head or neck with forearm, elbow, or hands whether or not the initial contact is made below the neck area.

4. Roughing kicker.

5. Roughing passer.

6. Malicious unnecessary roughness.

7. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

8. Palpably unfair act. (Distance penalty determined by the Referee after consultation with other officials.)

15 Yards and Automatic Disqualification

1. Using a helmet (not worn) as a weapon.

2. Striking or purposely shoving a game official.

Suspension From Game For One Down

1. Illegal equipment. (Player may return after one down when legally equipped.)

Touchdown Awarded (Palpably Unfair Act)

1. When Referee determines a palpably unfair act deprived a team of a touchdown. (Example: Player comes off bench and tackles runner apparently en route to touchdown.)

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Field

1. Sidelines and end lines are out of bounds. The goal line is actually in the end zone. A player with the ball in his possession scores a touchdown when the ball is on, above, or over the goal line.

2. The field is rimmed by a white border, six feet wide, along the sidelines. All of this is out of bounds.

3. The hashmarks (inbound lines) are 70 feet, 9 inches from each sideline.

4. Goal posts must be single-standard type, offset from the end line and painted bright gold. The goal posts must be 18 feet, 6 inches wide and the top face of the crossbar must be 10 feet above the ground. Vertical posts extend at least 30 feet above the crossbar. A ribbon 4 inches by 42 inches long is to be attached to the top of each post. The actual goal is the plane extending indefinitely above the crossbar and between the outer edges of the posts.

5. The field is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide. The end zones are 30 feet deep. The line used in try-for- point plays is two yards out from the goal line.

6. Chain crew members and ball boys must be uniformly identifiable.

7. All clubs must use standardized sideline markers. Pylons must be used for goal line and end line markings.

8. End zone markings and club identification at 50 yard line must be approved by the Commissioner to avoid any confusion as to delineation of goal lines, sidelines, and end lines.



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Ball

1. The home club shall have 36 balls for outdoor games and 24 for indoor games available for testing with a pressure gauge by the referee two hours prior to the starting time of the game to meet with League requirements. Twelve (12) new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked with the letter "k" and used exclusively for the kicking game.

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Coin Toss

1. The toss of coin will take place within three minutes of kickoff in center of field. The toss will be called by the visiting captain before the coin is flipped. The winner may choose one of two privileges and the loser gets the other:

(a) Receive or kick

(cool.gif Goal his team will defend

2. Immediately prior to the start of the second half, the captains of both teams must inform the officials of their respective choices. The loser of the original coin toss gets first choice.

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Timing

1. The stadium game clock is official. In case it stops or is operating incorrectly, the Line Judge takes over the official timing on the field.

2. Each period is 15 minutes. The intermission between the periods is two minutes. Halftime is 12 minutes, unless otherwise specified.

3. On charged team time outs, the Field Judge starts watch and blows whistle after 1 minute 50 seconds, unless television does not utilize the time for commercial. In this case the length of the time out is reduced to 40 seconds.

4. The Referee will allow necessary time to attend to an injured player, or repair a legal player’s equipment.

5. Each team is allowed three time outs each half.

6. Time between plays will be 40 seconds from the end of a given play until the snap of the ball for the next play, or a 25-second interval after certain administrative stoppages and game delays.

7. Clock will start running when ball is snapped following all changes of team possession.

8. With the exception of the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half, the game clock will be restarted following a kickoff return, a player going out of bounds on a play from scrimmage, or after declined penalties when appropriate on the referee’s signal.

9. Consecutive team time outs can be taken by opposing teams but the length of the second time out will be reduced to 40 seconds.

10. When, in the judgment of the Referee, the level of crowd noise prevents the offense from hearing its signals, he can institute a series of procedures which can result in a loss of team time outs or a five-yard penalty against the defensive team.

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Sudden Death

1. The sudden death system of determining the winner shall prevail when score is tied at the end of the regulation playing time of all NFL games. The team scoring first during overtime play shall be the winner and the game automatically ends upon any score (by safety, field goal, or touchdown) or when a score is awarded by Referee for a palpably unfair act.

2. At the end of regulation time the Referee will immediately toss coin at center of field in accordance with rules pertaining to the usual pregame toss. The captain of the visiting team will call the toss prior to the coin being flipped.

3. Following a three-minute intermission after the end of the regulation game, play will be continued in 15- minute periods or until there is a score*. There is a two-minute intermission between subsequent periods. The teams change goals at the start of each period. Each team has three time outs per half and all general timing provisions apply as during a regular game. Disqualified players are not allowed to return.

*Exception: In preseason and regular season games there shall be a maximum of 15 minutes of sudden death with two time outs instead of three. General provisions that apply for the fourth quarter will prevail. Try not attempted if touchdown scored. If there is no score in the 15 minutes, the game shall end in a tie.

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Timing in Final Two Minutes of Each Half

1. On kickoff, clock does not start until the ball has been legally touched by player of either team in the field of play. (In all other cases, clock starts with kickoff.)

2. A team cannot buy an excess time out for a penalty. However, a fourth time out is allowed without penalty for an injured player, who must be removed immediately. A fifth time out or more is allowed for an injury and a five-yard penalty is assessed if the clock was running. Additionally, if the clock was running and the score is tied or the team in possession is losing, the ball cannot be put in play for at least 10 seconds on the fourth or more time out. The half or game can end while those 10 seconds are run off on the clock.

3. If the defensive team is behind in the score and commits a foul when it has no time outs left in the final 40 seconds of either half, the offensive team can decline the penalty for the foul and have the time on the clock expire.

4. Fouls that occur in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter as well as the last two minutes of the first half will result in the clock starting on the snap.

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Try

1. After a touchdown, the scoring team is allowed a try during one scrimmage down. The ball may be spotted anywhere between the inbounds lines, two or more yards from the goal line. The successful conversion counts one point by kick; two points for a successful conversion by touchdown; or one point for a safety.

2. The defensive team never can score on a try. As soon as defense gets possession or the kick is blocked or a touchdown is not scored, the try is over.

3. Any distance penalty for fouls committed by the defense that prevent the try from being attempted can be enforced on the succeeding try or succeeding kickoff. Any foul committed on a successful try will result in a distance penalty being assessed on the ensuing kickoff.

4. Only the fumbling player can recover and advance a fumble during a try.



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Players-Substitutions

1. Each team is permitted 11 men on the field at the snap.

2. Unlimited substitution is permitted. However, players may enter the field only when the ball is dead. Players who have been substituted for are not permitted to linger on the field. Such lingering will be interpreted as unsportsmanlike conduct.

3. Players leaving the game must be out of bounds on their own side, clearing the field between the end lines, before a snap or free kick. If player crosses end line leaving field, it is delay of game (five-yard penalty).

4. Offensive substitutes who remain in the game must move onto the field as far as the inside of the field numerals before moving to a wide position.

5. With the exception of the last two minutes of either half, the offensive team, while in the process of substitution or simulated substitution, is prohibited from rushing quickly to the line and snapping the ball with the obvious attempt to cause a defensive foul; i.e., too many men on the field.

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Kickoff

1. The kickoff shall be from the kicking team’s 30-yard line at the start of each half and after a field goal and try. A kickoff is one type of free kick.

2. A one-inch tee may be used (no tee permitted for field goal, safety kick, or try attempt) on a kickoff. The ball is put in play by a placekick.

3. A kickoff may not score a field goal.

4. A kickoff is illegal unless it travels 10 yards OR is touched by the receiving team. Once the ball is touched by the receiving team or has gone 10 yards, it is a free ball. Receivers may recover and advance. Kicking team may recover but NOT advance UNLESS receiver had possession and lost the ball.

5. When a kickoff goes out of bounds between the goal lines without being touched by the receiving team, the ball belongs to the receivers 30 yards from the spot of the kick or at the out-of-bounds spot unless the ball went out-of-bounds the first time an onside kick was attempted. In this case, the kicking team is penalized five yards and the ball must be kicked again.

6. When a kickoff goes out of bounds between the goal lines and is touched last by receiving team, it is receiver’s ball at out-of-bounds spot.

7. If the kicking team either illegally kicks off out of bounds or is guilty of a short free kick on two or more consecutive onside kicks, receivers may take possession of the ball at the dead ball spot, out-of-bounds spot, or spot of illegal touch.

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Kicks after Safety

1. In addition to a kickoff, the other free kick is a kick after a safety (safety kick). A punt may be used (a punt may not be used on a kickoff).

2. On a safety kick, the team scored upon puts ball in play by a punt, dropkick, or placekick without tee. No score can be made on a free kick following a safety, even if a series of penalties places team in position. (A field goal can be scored only on a play from scrimmage or a free kick after a fair catch.)

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Measuring

1. The forward point of the ball is used when measuring.

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Position of Players at Snap

1. Offensive team must have at least seven players on line.

2. Offensive players, not on line, must be at least one yard back at snap.

(Exception: player who takes snap.)

3. No interior lineman may move abruptly after taking or simulating a three-point stance.

4. No player of either team may enter neutral zone before snap.

5. No player of offensive team may charge or move abruptly, after assuming set position, in such manner as to lead defense to believe snap has started. No player of the defensive team within one yard of the line of scrimmage may make an abrupt movement in an attempt to cause the offense to false start.

6. If a player changes his eligibility, the Referee must alert the defensive captain after player has reported to him.

7. All players of offensive team must be stationary at snap, except one back who may be in motion parallel to scrimmage line or backward (not forward).

8. After a shift or huddle all players on offensive team must come to an absolute stop for at least one second with no movement of hands, feet, head, or swaying of body.

9. Quarterbacks can be called for a false start penalty (five yards) if their actions are judged to be an obvious attempt to draw an opponent offside.

10. Offensive linemen are permitted to interlock legs.

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Use of Hands, Arms, and Body

1. No player on offense may assist a runner except by blocking for him. There shall be no interlocking interference.

2. A runner may ward off opponents with his hands and arms but no other player on offense may use hands or arms to obstruct an opponent by grasping with hands, pushing, or encircling any part of his body during a block. Hands (open or closed) can be thrust forward to initially contact an opponent on or outside the opponent’s frame, but the blocker immediately must work to bring his hands on or inside the frame.

Note: Pass blocking: Hand(s) thrust forward that slip outside the body of the defender will be legal if blocker immediately worked to bring them back inside. Hand(s) or arm(s) that encircle a defender - i.e., hook an opponent - are to be considered illegal and officials are to call a foul for holding.

Blocker cannot use his hands or arms to push from behind, hang onto, or encircle an opponent in a manner that restricts his movement as the play develops.

3. Hands cannot be thrust forward above the frame to contact an opponent on the neck, face or head.

Note: The frame is defined as the part of the opponent’s body below the neck that is presented to the blocker.

4. A defensive player may not tackle or hold an opponent other than a runner. Otherwise, he may use his hands, arms, or body only:

(a) To defend or protect himself against an obstructing opponent.

Exception: An eligible receiver is considered to be an obstructing opponent ONLY to a point five yards beyond the line of scrimmage unless the player who receives the snap clearly demonstrates no further intention to pass the ball. Within this five-yard zone, a defensive player may chuck an eligible player in front of him. A defensive player is allowed to maintain continuous and unbroken contact within the five-yard zone until a point when the receiver is even with the defender. The defensive player cannot use his hands or arms to push from behind, hang onto, or encircle an eligible receiver in a manner that restricts movement as the play develops. Beyond this five-yard limitation, a defender may use his hands or arms ONLY to defend or protect himself against impending contact caused by a receiver. In such reaction, the defender may not contact a receiver who attempts to take a path to evade him.

(cool.gif To push or pull opponent out of the way on line of scrimmage.

© In actual attempt to get at or tackle runner.

(d) To push or pull opponent out of the way in a legal attempt to recover a loose ball.

(e) During a legal block on an opponent who is not an eligible pass receiver.

(f) When legally blocking an eligible pass receiver above the waist.

Exception: Eligible receivers lined up within two yards of the tackle, whether on or immediately behind the line, may be blocked below the waist at or behind the line of scrimmage. NO eligible receiver may be blocked below the waist after he goes beyond the line. (Illegal cut)

Note: Once the quarterback hands off or pitches the ball to a back, or if the quarterback leaves the pocket area, the restrictions (illegal chuck, illegal cut) on the defensive team relative to the offensive receivers will end, provided the ball is not in the air.

5. A defensive player may not contact an opponent above the shoulders with the palm of his hand except to ward him off on the line. This exception is permitted only if it is not a repeated act against the same opponent during any one contact. In all other cases the palms may be used on head, neck, or face only to ward off or push an opponent in legal attempt to get at the ball.

6. Any offensive player who pretends to possess the ball or to whom a teammate pretends to give the ball may be tackled provided he is crossing his scrimmage line between the ends of a normal tight offensive line.

7. An offensive player who lines up more than two yards outside his own tackle or a player who, at the snap, is in a backfield position and subsequently takes a position more than two yards outside a tackle may not clip an opponent anywhere nor may he contact an opponent below the waist if the blocker is moving toward the ball and if contact is made within an area five yards on either side of the line. (crackback)

8. A player of either team may block at any time provided it is not pass interference, fair catch interference, or unnecessary roughness.

9. A player may not bat or punch:

(a) A loose ball (in field of play) toward his opponent’s goal line or in any direction in either end zone.

(cool.gif A ball in player possession.

Note: If there is any question as to whether a defender is stripping or batting a ball in player possession, the official(s) will rule the action as a legal act (stripping the ball).

Exception: A forward or backward pass may be batted, tipped, or deflected in any direction at any time by either the offense or the defense.

Note: A pass in flight that is controlled or caught may only be thrown backward, if it is thrown forward it is considered an illegal bat.

10. No player may deliberately kick any ball except as a punt, dropkick, or placekick.

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Forward Pass

1. A forward pass may be touched or caught by any eligible receiver. All members of the defensive team are eligible. Eligible receivers on the offensive team are players on either end of line (other than center, guard, or tackle) or players at least one yard behind the line at the snap. A T-formation quarterback is not eligible to receive a forward pass during a play from scrimmage.

Exception: T-formation quarterback becomes eligible if pass is previously touched by an eligible receiver.

2. An offensive team may make only one forward pass during each play from scrimmage (Loss of 5 yards).

3. The passer must be behind his line of scrimmage (Loss of down and five yards, enforced from the spot of pass).

4. Any eligible offensive player may catch a forward pass. If a pass is touched by one eligible offensive player and touched or caught by a second offensive player, pass completion is legal. Further, all offensive players become eligible once a pass is touched by an eligible receiver or any defensive player.

5. The rules concerning a forward pass and ineligible receivers:

(a) If ball is touched accidentally by an ineligible receiver on or behind his line: loss of five yards.

(cool.gif If ineligible receiver is illegally downfield: loss of five yards.

© If touched or caught (intentionally or accidentally) by ineligible receiver beyond the line: loss of 5 yards.

6. The player who first controls and continues to maintain control of a pass will be awarded the ball even though his opponent later establishes joint control of the ball.

7. Any forward pass becomes incomplete and ball is dead if:

(a) Pass hits the ground or goes out of bounds.

(cool.gif Pass hits the goal post or the crossbar of either team.

8. A forward pass is complete when a receiver clearly possesses the pass and touches the ground with both feet inbounds while in possession of the ball. If a receiver would have landed inbounds with both feet but is carried or pushed out of bounds while maintaining possession of the ball, pass is complete at the out-of-bounds spot.

9. On a fourth down pass an incomplete pass results in a loss of down at the line of scrimmage.

10. If a personal foul is committed by the defense prior to the completion of a pass, the penalty is 15 yards from the spot where ball becomes dead.

11. If a personal foul is committed by the offense prior to the completion of a pass, the penalty is 15 yards from the previous line of scrimmage.

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Intentional Grounding of Forward Pass

1. Intentional grounding of a forward pass is a foul: loss of down and 10 yards from previous spot if passer is in the field of play or loss of down at the spot of the foul if it occurs more than 10 yards behind the line or safety if passer is in his own end zone when ball is released.

2. Intentional grounding will be called when a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage due to pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.

3. Intentional grounding will not be called when a passer, while out of the pocket and facing an imminent loss of yardage, throws a pass that lands at or beyond the line of scrimmage, even if no offensive player(s) have a realistic chance to catch the ball (including if the ball lands out of bounds over the sideline or end line).

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Protection of Passer

1. By interpretation, a pass begins when the passer -- with possession of ball -- starts to bring his hand forward. If ball strikes ground after this action has begun, play is ruled an incomplete pass. If passer loses control of ball prior to his bringing his hand forward, play is ruled a fumble.

2. When a passer is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional movement forward of his arm starts a forward pass. If a defensive player contacts the passer or the ball after forward movement begins, and the ball leaves the passer’s hand, a forward pass is ruled, regardless of where the ball strikes the ground or a player.

3. No defensive player may run into a passer of a legal forward pass after the ball has left his hand (15 yards). The Referee must determine whether opponent had a reasonable chance to stop his momentum during an attempt to block the pass or tackle the passer while he still had the ball.

4. No defensive player who has an unrestricted path to the quarterback may hit him flagrantly in the area of the knee(s) or below when approaching in any direction.

5. Officials are to blow the play dead as soon as the quarterback is clearly in the grasp and control of any tackler, and his safety is in jeopardy.

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Backward Pass

1. Any pass not forward is regarded as a backward pass. A pass parallel to the line is a backward pass. A runner may pass backward at any time.

2. A backward pass that strikes the ground can be recovered and advanced by either team.

3. A backward pass caught in the air can be advanced by either team.

4. A backward pass in flight may not be batted forward by an offensive player.

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Fumble

1. The distinction between a fumble and a muff should be kept in mind in considering rules about fumbles. A fumble is the loss of player possession of the ball. A muff is the touching of a loose ball by a player in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession.

2. A fumble may be advanced by any player on either team regardless of whether recovered before or after ball hits the ground.

3. A fumble that goes forward and out of bounds will return to the fumbling team at the spot of the fumble unless the ball goes out of bounds in the opponent’s end zone. In this case, it is a touchback.

4. On a play from scrimmage, if an offensive player fumbles anywhere on the field during fourth down, only the fumbling player is permitted to recover and/or advance the ball. If any player fumbles after the two-minute warning in a half, only the fumbling player is permitted to recover and/or advance the ball. If recovered by any other offensive player, the ball is dead at the spot of the fumble unless it is recovered behind the spot of the fumble. In that case, the ball is dead at the spot of recovery. Any defensive player may recover and/or advance any fumble at any time.

5. A muffed hand-to-hand snap from center is treated as a fumble.

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Kicks From Scrimmage

1. Any kick from scrimmage must be made from behind the line to be legal.

2. Any punt or missed field goal that touches a goal post is dead.

3. During a kick from scrimmage, only the end men, as eligible receivers on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap, are permitted to go beyond the line before the ball is kicked.

Exception: An eligible receiver who, at the snap, is aligned or in motion behind the line and more than one yard outside the end man on his side of the line, clearly making him the outside receiver, replaces that end man as the player eligible to go downfield after the snap. All other members of the kicking team must remain at the line of scrimmage until the ball has been kicked.

4. Any punt that is blocked and does not cross the line of scrimmage can be recovered and advanced by either team. However, if offensive team recovers it must make the yardage necessary for its first down to retain possession if punt was on fourth down.

5. The kicking team may never advance its own kick even though legal recovery is made beyond the line of scrimmage. Possession only.

6. A member of the receiving team may not run into or rough a kicker who kicks from behind his line unless contact is:

(a) Incidental to and after he had touched ball in flight.

(cool.gif Caused by kicker’s own motions.

© Occurs during a quick kick, or a kick made after a run behind the line, or after kicker recovers a loose ball on the ground. Ball is loose when kicker muffs snap or snap hits ground.

(d) Defender is blocked into kicker.

The penalty for running into the kicker is 5 yards. For roughing the kicker: 15 yards, an automatic first down and disqualification if flagrant.

7. If a member of the kicking team attempting to down the ball on or inside opponent’s 5-yard line carries the ball into the end zone, it is a touchback.

8. Fouls during a punt are enforced from the previous spot (line of scrimmage).

Exception: Illegal touching, fair-catch interference, invalid fair-catch signal, or personal foul (blocking after a fair-catch signal).

9. While the ball is in the air or rolling on the ground following a punt or field-goal attempt and receiving team commits a foul only before or after gaining possession, receiving team will retain possession and will be penalized for its foul.

10. It will be illegal for a defensive player to jump or stand on any player, or be picked up by a teammate or to use a hand or hands on a teammate to gain additional height in an attempt to block a kick (Penalty: 15 yards, unsportsmanlike conduct).

11. A punted ball remains a kicked ball until it is declared dead or in possession of either team.

12. Any member of the punting team may down the ball anywhere in the field of play. However, it is illegal touching (Official’s time out and receiver’s ball at spot of illegal touching). This foul does not offset any foul by receivers during the down.

13. Defensive team may advance all kicks from scrimmage (including unsuccessful field goal) whether or not ball crosses defensive team’s goal line. Rules pertaining to kicks from scrimmage apply until defensive team gains possession.

14. When a team presents a punt formation, defensive pass interference is not to be called for actions on the widest player eligible to go beyond line. Defensive holding may be called.

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Fair Catch

1. The member of the receiving team must raise one arm a full length above his head and wave it from side to side while kick is in flight. (Failure to give proper sign: receivers’ ball five yards behind spot of signal.) Note: It is legal for the receiver to shield his eyes from the sun by raising one hand no higher than the helmet.

2. No opponent may interfere with the fair catcher, the ball, or his path to the ball. Penalty: 15 yards from spot of foul and fair catch is awarded.

3. A player who signals for a fair catch is not required to catch the ball. However, if a player signals for a fair catch, he may not block or initiate contact with any player on the kicking team until the ball touches a player. Penalty: snap 15 yards.

4. If ball hits ground or is touched by member of kicking team in flight, fair catch signal is off and all rules for a kicked ball apply.

5. Any undue advance by a fair catch receiver is delay of game. No specific distance is specified for undue advance as ball is dead at spot of catch. If player comes to a reasonable stop, no penalty. For penalty, five yards.

6. If time expires while ball is in play and a fair catch is awarded, receiving team may choose to extend the period with one fair catch kick down. However, placekicker may not use tee.

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Foul on Last Play of Half or Game

1. On a foul by defense on last play of half or game, the down is replayed if penalty is accepted.

2. On a foul by the offense on last play of half or game, the down is not replayed and the play in which the foul is committed is nullified.

Exception: Fair catch interference, foul following change of possession, illegal touching. No score by offense counts.

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Spot of Enforcement of Foul

1. There are four basic spots at which a penalty for a foul is enforced:

(a) Spot of foul: The spot where the foul is committed.

(cool.gif Previous spot: The spot where the ball was put in play.

© Spot of snap, backward pass or fumble: The spot where the foul occurred or the spot where the penalty is to be enforced.

(d) Succeeding spot: The spot where the ball next would be put in play if no distance penalty were to be enforced.

Exception: If foul occurs after a touchdown and before the whistle for a try, succeeding spot is spot of next kickoff.

2. All fouls committed by offensive team behind the line of scrimmage (except in the end zone) shall be penalized from the previous spot. If the foul is in the end zone, it is a safety.

3. When spot of enforcement for fouls involving defensive holding or illegal use of hands by the defense is behind the line of scrimmage, any penalty yardage to be assessed on that play shall be measured from the line if the foul occurred beyond the line.

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Double Foul

1. If there is a double foul during a down in which there is a change of possession, the team last gaining possession may keep the ball unless its foul was committed prior to the change of possession.

2. If double foul occurs after a change of possession, the defensive team retains the ball at the spot of its foul or dead ball spot.

3. If one of the fouls of a double foul involves disqualification, that player must be removed, but no penalty yardage is to be assessed.

4. If the kickers foul during a kickoff, punt, safety kick, or field-goal attempt before possession changes, the receivers will have the option of replaying the down at the previous spot (offsetting fouls), or keeping the ball after enforcement for its fouls.

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Penalty Enforced on Following Kickoff

1. When a team scores by touchdown, field goal, extra point, or safety and either team commits a personal foul, unsportsmanlike conduct, or obvious unfair act during the down, the penalty will be assessed on the following kickoff.

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Emergencies and Unfair Acts

Emergencies -- Policy

The National Football League requires all League personnel, including game officials, League office employees, players, coaches, and other club employees to use best effort to see that each game -- preseason, regular season, and postseason -- is played to its conclusion. The League recognizes, however, that emergencies may arise that make a game’s completion impossible or inadvisable. Such circumstances may include, but are not limited to, severely inclement weather, natural or manmade disaster, power failure, and spectator interference. Games should be suspended, cancelled, postponed, or terminated when circumstances exist such that comencement or continuation of play would pose a threat to the safety of participants or spectators.

Authority of Commissioner’s Office

1. Authority to cancel, postpone, or terminate games is vested only in the Commissioner and the League President (other League office representatives and referees may suspend play temporarily; see point No. 3 under this section and point No. 1 under "Authority of Referee" below). The following definitions apply:

Cancel. To cancel a game is to nullify it either before or after it begins and to make no provision for rescheduling it or for including its score or

other performance statistics in League records.

Postpone. To postpone a game is (a) to defer its starting time to a later date, or (cool.gif to suspend it after play has begun and to make provision to resume at a later date with all scores and other performance statistics up to the point of postponement added to those achieved in the resumed portion of the game.

Terminate. To terminate a game is to end it short of a full 60 minutes of play, to record it officially as a completed game, and to make no provision to resume it at a later date. The Commissioner or League President may terminate a game in an emergency if, in his opinion, it is reasonable to project that its resumption (a) would not change its ultimate result or (cool.gif would not adversely affect any other interteam competitive issue.

Forfeit. The Commissioner, (except in cases of disciplinary action; see last section on "Removing Team from Field"), League President, and their representatives, including referees, are not authorized unilaterally to declare forfeits. A forfeit occurs only when a game is not played because of the failure or refusal of one team to participate. In that event, the other team, if ready and willing to play, is the winner by a score of 2-0.

2. If an emergency arises that may require cancellation, postponement, or termination (see above), the highest ranking representative from the Commissioner’s office working the game in a "control" capacity will consult with the Commissioner, League President, or game-day duty officer designated by the League (by telephone, if that person is not in attendance) concerning such decision. If circumstances warrant, the League representative should also attempt to consult with the weather bureau and with appropriate security personnel of the League, club, stadium, and local authorities. If no representative from the Commissioner’s office is working the game in a "control" capacity, the referee will be in charge (see "Authority of Referee" below).

3. In circumstances where safety is of immediate concern, the Commissioner’s-office representative may, after consulting with the referee, authorize a temporary suspension in play and, if warranted, removal of the participants from the playing field. The representative should be mindful of the safety of spectators, players, game officials, nonplayer personnel in the bench areas, and other field-level personnel such as photographers and cheerleaders.

4. If possible, the League-office representative should consult with authorized representatives of the two participating clubs before any decision involving cancellation, postponement, or termination is made by the Commissioner or League President.

5. If the Commissioner or League President decides to cancel, postpone, or terminate a game, his representative at the game or the game-day duty officer will then determine the method(s) for announcing such decision, e.g., by public-address announcement over referee’s wireless microphone, by public-address announcement by home club, or by communication to radio, television, and other news media.

Authority of Referee

1. If a referee determines that an emergency warrants immediate removal of participants from the playing field for safety reasons, he may do so on his own authority. If, however, circumstances allow him the time, he must reach the highest ranking full-time League office representative working at the game in a "control" capacity or the game-day duty officer designated by the League (by telephone, if that person is not in attendance) and discuss the actual or potential emergency with such representative or duty officer. That representative or duty officer then will make the final decision on removal of participants from the field or obtain a decision from the Commissioner or League President.

2. If a referee removes participants from the playing field under No. 1 above, he may order them to their respective bench areas or to their locker rooms, whichever is appropriate in the circumstances.

3. After appropriate consultation under No. 1 above, the referee must advise the two participating head coaches of the nature of the emergency and the action contemplated (if the decision has not yet been reached) or of the final decision.

4. The referee must not, before a decision is reached, make an announcement on his microphone concerning the possibility of a cancellation, postponement, or termination unless instructed to do so by an appropriate representative of the Commissioner’s office.

5. The referee must not discuss a forfeit with head coaches or club personnel and must not use that term over the referee’s microphone (see definition of forfeit under No. 1 of "Authority of Commissioner’s Office" above).

6. The referee must not assess an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on the home team for actions of fans that cause or contribute to an emergency.

7. The referee should be mindful of the safety of not only players and officials, but also of the spectators and other nonparticipants.

8. If an emergency involves spectator interference (for example, nonparticipants on the field or thrown objects), the referee immediately should contact the appropriate club or League representative for additional security assistance, including, if applicable, involvement of the League’s security representative(s) assigned to the game.

9. The referee may order the resumption of play when he deems conditions safe for all concerned and, if circumstances warrant, after consultation with appropriate representatives of the Commissioner’s office.

10. Under no circumstances is the referee authorized to cancel, postpone, terminate, or declare forfeiture of a game unilaterally.

Procedures for Starting and Resuming Games

Subject to the points of authority listed above, League personnel and referees will be guided by the following procedures for starting and resuming games that are affected by emergencies.

1. If, because of an emergency, a regular-season or postseason game is not started at its scheduled time and cannot be played at any later time that same day, the game nevertheless must be played on a subsequent date to be determined by the Commissioner.

2. If an emergency threatens to occur during the playing of a game (for example, an incoming tropical storm), the starting time of the game will not be moved to an earlier time unless there is clearly sufficient time to make an orderly change.

3. All games that are suspended temporarily and resumed on the same day, and all suspended games that are postponed to a later date, will be resumed at the point of suspension. On suspension, the referee will call timeout and make a record of the following: team possessing the ball, direction in which its offense was headed, position of the ball on the field, down, distance, period, time remaining in the period, and any other pertinent information required for an orderly and equitable resumption of play.

4. For regular-season postponements, the Commissioner will make every effort to set the game for no later than two days after its originally scheduled date and at the same site. If unable to schedule at the same site, he will select an appropriate alternative site. If it is impossible to schedule the game within two days after its original date, the Commissioner will attempt to schedule it on the Tuesday of the next calendar week. The Commissioner will keep in mind the potential for competitive inequities if one or both of the involved clubs has already been scheduled for a game close to the Tuesday of that week (for example, a Thursday game).

5. For postseason postponements, the Commissioner will make every effort to set the game as soon as possible after its originally scheduled date and at the same site. If unable to schedule at the same site, he will select an appropriate alternative site.

6. Whenever postponement is attributable to negligence by a club, the negligent club is responsible for all home club costs and expenses, including, subject to approval by the Commissioner, gate receipts and television- contract income. [See Section 19.11 © of the NFL Constitution and Bylaws.]

7. Each home club is strictly responsible for having the playing surface of its stadium well maintained and suitable for NFL play.

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Unfair Acts

Commissioner’s Authority

The Commissioner has sole authority to investigate and to take appropriate disciplinary or corrective measures if any club action, nonparticipant interference, or emergency occurs in an NFL game which he deems so unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of a game.

No Club Protests

The authority and measures provided for in this section (UNFAIR ACTS) do not constitute a protest machinery for NFL clubs to dispute the result of a game. The Commissioner will conduct an investigation under this section only to review an act or occurrence that he deems so unfair that the result of the game in question may be inequitable to one of the participating teams. The Commissioner will not apply his authority under this section when a club registers a complaint concerning judgmental errors or routine errors of omission by game officials. Games involving such complaints will continue to stand as completed.

Penalties for Unfair Acts

The Commissioner’s powers under this section (UNFAIR ACTS) include the imposition of monetary fines and draft choice forfeitures, suspension of persons involved, and, if appropriate, the reversal of a game’s result or the rescheduling of a game, either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary act occurred. In the event of rescheduling a game, the Commissioner will be guided by the procedures specified above ("Procedures for Starting and Resuming Games" under EMERGENCIES). In all cases, the Commissioner will conduct a full investigation, including the opportunity for hearings, use of game videotape, and any other procedures he deems appropriate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Some injuries of concern?


by bizarro
for PackerChatters

Training Camp 8-16-2005

Well, we'll start with the first: Joey Thomas returned and started in the drill sessions. But, it was quite apparent that he is not at full speed and he is very frustrated by it. You can see it itching at him from across the way...unfortunately, he sat out the remainder of the session after the first 30 min.

About 1 and 1/2 hours in I noticed Corey Williams was no longer lined up with the 1st unit. Actually, he wasn't lined up at all. I scoured the opposing sideline and I did not see him. In the final 7 vs. 7 session I notice Corey sitting on top of a water cooler pointing to his abdominal or some portion on his left side of the body. I don't like this one bit and I hope it doesn't become a nagging problem.

The scariest portion of the a.m. session had to have come on the last play of the session. Al Harris was guarding his man in the flat and one moment he's in tight coverage the next he's writhing in pain on the ground. He crawled out of the play at first and then got to his feet on his own. But, initially I was very worried because he appeared to be in serious pain. He later was limping around on his own power and did not see a trainer-however, he was grabbing the are of his lower left hamstring into the area behind his knee. We must keep an eye on this...It is really a downer right now because he had a great practice. He was the best CB in the one vs. one drill with the WR's breaking up 2 to 3 out of a handful of opportunities (this drill gives virtually no chance to the CB but Harris really showed up) and he also held his ground on a HB counter play that got outside and he stood in beautifully heaping loads of praise from Batesy. Let's keep our fingers crossed--we need him in that secondary.

One thing I am definitely noticing this year is the focus on fundamentals with our defense. Each morning the CB's are working on techniques of shedding blockers and assisting in the run game. This morning started with a drill focusing on the proper angle to pursuit when a RB is leaving the backfield behind a FB or OL. Bates emphasized the aspect of the triangle formed by the OL (in the line) the lead blocker and the RB and how the CB must attack the angle. Lionel Washington alerted Chris Johnson on an ill-advised approach to the lead blocker that surely would have seen him pushed to the outside and the RB into a gaping hole. Chris Johnson later was beaten fairly badly in the 1 vs. 1 CB/WR drill. His most glaring problem right now is trusting his jam (or simply developing one), and trusting his instincts in the short passing game. He has such makeup speed in the long routes but I must remember he is still virtually a rookie...but he has a long way to go and much ground to makeup--I'm still pushing for him however to improve and gain confidence if nothing else.

After the initial CB drill, the focus was put on form tackling. Bates placed a dummy blocker atop two large mats and the CB's and Safeties took turns attacking the dummy from a low angle to attack the legs-Bates chided both Johnson and Hawkins fro initially taking to high of an approach. The second portion of this drill saw the CB attack low and roll with the dummy. When Bates left this session he immediately ran over to the LB area where the LB's were again working diligently on attacking the sled with proper leverage and bursting off to meet a would be blocker or RB with proper footwork.

I mention these things, because I am solely focusing on the defensive side of the ball right now in the early goings of practice. And the two things that stand out instantaneously is the emphasis placed on fundamentals-this is something I don't remember seeing nearly as much of last year-and the omnipresence of Batesy. He is everywhere. More importantly, I am seeing improved coverage in certain passing drills. Not necessarily the one vs. one drill but, more importantly, the understanding of assignments within a coverage scheme. Every practice for about 10-15 minutes they lineup the first and second pass coverage unit with the 3rd teamers acting as WR's and RB's. They show various WR and RB formations and the defense is called upon to cover their routes. Again, this is another emphasis on a fundamental part of the defensive side: route recognition and coverage assignments.

Some quick hits:

**Before moving into the offense vs. defense sessions the two units were placed together in a blitzing drill. The qb's never released the balls, per request, as the OL worked on blitz recognition. One has to think they are starting to prepare for Buffalo to avoid a similar performance as seen in the scrimmage.

Aaron Kampman blew up a running play today. It appears as though he is starting to get a feel for playing with his new weight. He looked very solid in portions and the running attack continues to be stifled quite a bit more on his side of the field as opposed to KGB's where the running game seems to go at will.

Hannibal Navies made a great coverage play on Martin in a middle seam. Favre lofted the ball over Navies shoulder but he was literally strided for stride with Martin and raised his hand in at the last second to knock the ball free. Bates was all over that one as you can imagine.

Poppinga showed a better feel in the pass coverage game today. He ran with Martin on the same route about five plays later, and though he was a step behind, it was a vast improvement over yesterday. Duffner praised: "That a boy Brady, you gotta' compete...that's much better." He still has a ways to go but I like the improvement after one day and like I've said he is definitely one of the better LB's showing in the run defense. Woodfin is starting to disappear more and more and he's getting less looks as Manning gets better and better. I would say as of right now Manning is almost a sure bet to make the roster. He had another decent practice and he can play all 3 positions if need be. Today, he was switched from WSLB and the SAM within a given play. Brady, Lenon, and Manning manned the second unti with Navies, Thompson, and Barnett in the first. Barnett had an off practice...just wasn't on top of his game though he gave high effort as usual. Nick McNeil finally made a play as he stepped in and stuffed a RB behind the line, but I actually think it may be attributed to Montgomery completely forcing the RB inside after driving the OT into the RB's initial lane.

Martin, though dropping his first ball to date still looks like a much improved player. He continues to get separation in the passing game and has caught everything until his first drop today.

T. Murf didn't have nearly as sharp of a practice this morning. He let a few balls go that definitely could have been caught-including one that found its way through the outstretched arms of Hawkins (whom the coaching staff and players call 'Hawk', which definitely goes with his appearance around his man's ball all the time) and into Murf's in the corner of the endzone only to be dropped. On his way back Sherman gave him a couple words about "...having to catch that ball."

Chatman continues to catch everything. He is really improved and has definitely caught the eye of Favre. He looks to him over the middle and Chatman almost always has a step on his cover man.

Ferguson finally got a ball on a fly route. He had gained separation, again, and Favre threw a perfect lob pass over his shoulders...but-Fergy dropped it! Favre clapped his hands in frustration as did Fergy but it was definitely good to see the two attempt a hookup. Bottom line: Fergy has to catch that ball. He later caught a TD on a crossing route in the back of the endzone from Favre--they connected a few times today whereas I don't think Walker caught a ball all practice honestly. The play reminded me of Fergy's first TD catch at Detroit as a rookie icon_cry5.gif

Walker also dropped a deep ball today. My opinion is if you are a top-flight WR and a ball hits your fingers in stride you better catch the ball. Well, Walker dropped a deep one too through his outstretched fingertips.

Jamal Jones looked very good in the 1 vs. 1 drills as he beat Al Harris with a nice catch on a perfect throw by Rodgers, and he beat virtually every CB he faced. I was fairly surprised.

Najeh Davenport drew praise from Sherman on a nice run up the middle (hmmm, imagine that) in the 11 vs. 11.

They were finally allowing full contact in 11 vs. 11 and actually the offense only scored once from within the 20. Though the defense remains entirely too inconsistent stopping the first down run. I'd say all in all the defense was about 3 or 4 of 10 in keeping that first down run under 4 yards--but again, they were only allowing full on contact for about 15 minutes so this is an area that is hard to get a real feel on.

Leigh Torrance was starting with the dime today now that Joey Thomas is out as Hawkins was bumped into the nickel. Torrance actually looked very good out there-I was pleasantly surprised. He stayed with his man like glue and didn't give up and YAC when passed against--this is very encouraging. Earl Little started alongside Nick Collins due to Roman's continued absence. I'm wondering if Underwood will get a shot there. Todd Franz made one real nice breakup of a pass over the middle but later in the 11 vs. 11 he gave up a wide open skinny post to Donald Driver.

And Ahmad Carroll received due praise today on increased awareness in pass coverage. He is getting better, but he still needs to work on his one vs. one. I'm holding out hope for him though because we're going to need him to step up.

**Will Whittacker was back with the first unit. I'd say as of right now Whittacker and Klemm are our starting guards. DT remains the biggest ?.

My second practice...my second analysis


by bizarro
for PackerChatters
Training Camp 8-15-2005

Bates Lines of the Day: "Brady, I know you've been out awhile but you gotta' know where the hell you're going out here."

(Poppinga looks a step slow in coverage right now...however, I remain convinced right now that he, next to Manning, is our top backup against the run)

"That's right Marvel! Come gametime that guy's going to go SPLAT!"


Even the omnipresent Bates separated himself from Sherman, however, as the practice wore on. The first portion of Monday's practice was crisp...and then the team portions started and the defense was very very inept. The outcome of this was none other than a complete and utter tongue lashing by Mike Sherman. He called the entire team into a group huddle midway through the practice and unleashed a verbal lashing that could have been heard all the way from the Lambeau Atrium. Needless to say, the defensive Line and LB's continued to play very average. In my opinion, if these practices mimic the games we need Grady and Hunt in there...I have yet to see a DT stop a run for a loss or even gain momentum into the backfield to stop a run. This area remains a concern to me until we get Grady back...the runs continue to go right at the Nose and they go for a minimum of 3-5 yards. Considering we couldn't run to save our lives last week this either means:

a: Our run blocking has suddenly become infinitely better (not the case in my opinion)

b: We really really miss Grady.

On that topic, I want to mention another player's disdain I witnessed today. Robert Ferguson gets open. He gets open...a lot and by two to three steps. He continues to gain separation from CB's. Today it didn't matter if it was Hawkins, Harris, Horton...whomever he was gaining key separation on long routes (posts, flies etc.). The only problem, however, is he continues to be invisible through the QB's eyes. Favre missed him on two "would be" TD's on long routes when he opted to release it early in the flat or over the middle. Fergy was subsequently growing very very frustrated as with each passing over resulting in a slower jog back and eventually he threw his hands up in disgust followed by a loud: "Man....!"
When he finally made it back to the WR's grouping he slammed his helmet down in disgust with another shriek. The point being here I believe there is definitely a gap in the Ferguson/Favre relationship. There has been a gap in this relationship as several of us have surmised in the recent past. Unfortunately, I would no longer be surprised if he actually were traded to the Eagles...something I know several of us here would be unhappy about. But, when I pair this seeming frustration with our apparent ineptitude at the nose...well you can potentially understand what I'm getting at here. But, for now it remains idle speculation.

Terrence Murphy looks very sharp. Our WR group as a whole looks extremely sharp. Vincent Butler received quite a bit of praise today from James Franklin in the 1 vs. 1's as he beat Carroll for a quick out and a nice catch. Murphy is a very big and quick WR who appears to run very crisp routes. He has sharp turns and a quick sudden burst into the second part of his route. Murf (as we call him around here) caught every ball thrown in his direction today and even prompted a slight scuffle with Underwood when he was popped pretty hard over the middle in an apparent no contact 7 vs. 7 drill.

Underwood has been lavishing in heaps of praise thrown his way by Batesy (another common nickname in these parts...OK it's my own nickname...and it certainly doesn't challenge "the clap"). Apparently, as indicated in the press releases, one of the motives of releasing Freeman was more reps and a better look at the other safeties; specifically Underwood. One thing Marvel has demonstrated is he has great range and great hitting ability...even if it is not a requirement in a particular drill-Underwood also apparently "cheapshotted" Anthony Lucas who called him out for a hit on the sideline. In my opinion, considering the lashing the 'D' received by Sherman, Underwood's aggressiveness was a pleasant surprise...however, the type of hit he was using could definitely hurt a WR if he was completely vulnerable wacko.gif

Chris Johnson continues to be brought along slowly...He definitely has his speed back but he needs to continue to work out the kinks in his jam at the LOS. When he was allowed the couple reps in the 11 v 11's he was beat at the LOS by a mere miss of his jam (something he was working on with Lionel post-practice Sunday)...However, he caught up to that same WR within one second. It is very good to see, as many of you know I have been supporting his play for 2 years now-since he has been injured as a matter of fact...I believe these technique issues can be fixed with a bit of tutelage. Another thing to mention here is Johnson has gained some muscle mass...Hawkins has assumed the Johnson rookie physique whereas Johnson now has perhaps the biggest legs of our CB's.

Quick Hits:

Donnell continued to lineup with the 1st defense at Grady's position and as the practice wore on he seemed to get a bit more sure of himself...however, considering how the run defense started this is not much of a compliment.

Hawkins continues to start in the dime...and today he was in the nickel as well. Joey Thomas was out again with the calf injury. The paper is right when they question his ability to gain that starting spot. That is unfortunate, becaus Ahmad had a bit of a lesser quality practice than Sunday.

Sander looks real sharp...he continues to punt balls (from the opponents 40) inside the 15 with super hang time.

Again, if there is a position we could trade from, it is WR...we are solid! Thurman put quite a move on a CB toward the end of the session (don't want to misdirect a name here) and collected a perfect pass from Favre for a TD.

O'Sullivan threw a pretty poor pass into double coverage in the same drill and Leigh Torrance came down with a pretty nice over the shoulder grab.

Ben Steele actually held on to every pass today...well, almost...he seemed to drop one over the middle. I felt it was interfered with...Dad felt he dropped it. We'll call it one or the other but, none the less, Steele is inconsistent.

All in all, Dad likes Chris White and I like Chris Johnson...neither of which see any time with the 1st and 2nd units for various reasons. Monday's practice left quite a bit of room for improvement the rest of the week. Especially, if these practices are, as Coach Sherman says, the most important of TC.

Gotta' run now and head to the casino...Life's a gamble, as they say, but my father and I are definitely going to hit jackpot. ( or go away down 500$) cheers.gif

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