Refs get serious about defensive calls

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The flags were flying during the New England Patriots-Philadelphia Eagles game as 21 penalties were accepted for a total of 169 yards.

“There were a lot of them,” quarterback Tom Brady said after the game. “They stood up here in front of us and told us they were going to throw a lot them and they sure did.”

Throughout joint practices this week, NFL officials helped the players out by instructing them on the new rules, such as illegal contact downfield and defensive holding. As part of the NFL’s emphasis on these penalties, defensive players, especially defensive backs, have the biggest adjustment to make.

“We had the refs in this whole week,” Darrelle Revis said about the value of referees at practice this week. “It’s a new rule, everybody is trying to adjust to it the best they can. The refs, they did a great job explaining to us what’s legal and what’s not legal.”

With four enforced calls against the Patriots and five enforced calls against the Eagles related to the new emphasis on defensive illegal contact or defensive holding, Revis recognizes the changes, but says the proper adjustment is through technique.

“They call what they see, that’s how you got to look at it,” Revis said. “If they see you holding or if it’s illegal contact down the field or pass interference they are going to throw the flag.”

“There are so many techniques we are taught to try to avoid that, that’s all we do is rely on our technique and go from there.”

Cornerback Logan Ryan offered a similar response about how the Patriots are preparing to adjust to the new rule.

“A hold is a hold. If it’s not, it’s not,” Ryan said. “It’s something that we are working on in practice, so I’m sure you’ll see the results in the game.”

With an increase in penalties in the game, the tempo slowed down for stoppages related to flags. Considering the tendencies of the Eagles and Patriots to play up-tempo offense, the penalties put a halt to the flow of the game at times.

Brady, however, put a different spin on it.

“I think if they (penalties) are helping us, then I don’t have any problem with it.”