Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall says the NFL’s increased emphasis on penalties for defensive holding and illegal contact are a direct result of the Seattle Seahawks’ manhandling of the Denver Broncos—literally and figuratively—in the Super Bowl.
According to Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington, via Twitter:
“Seahawks got their ring, they did it their way…now we have to pay the consequences. ” –DeAngelo Hall on more flags. #Redskins
— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) August 20, 2014
Hall said there are “no ifs, ands or buts” about the connection between the Seahawks’ physical secondary and the increased emphasis on calling penalties against defenders who get too aggressive this preseason.
In an interesting twist, however, Seattle has been flagged just three times for illegal contact in two preseason games.
According to the Washington Post, there have been 55 illegal contact calls through two weeks of preseason play (plus the Hall of Fame Game).
“Most of them appear to be the points of emphasis, which are hands to the face and defensive holding,” St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “So we just have to keep coaching and just trying to get them to understand that those things are gonna get called. I don’t anticipate anything changing once the regular season starts.”
Fisher is a member of the NFL’s competition committee.
Penalties are up almost 44 percent over the 2013 preseason through the same period, with 756 penalties this year compared to 526 through two weeks of preseason play a year ago.
There have been 107 defensive holding calls this year, compared to 20 a year ago. Illegal contact calls are up from eight in 2013 to 55 this year.
Offensive pass interference penalties are more than double the rate of last year, too, with 26 OPI calls this year compared to 12 last year.
Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly said part of the problem is players engaging in tactics that aren’t coached.
“We don’t teach people to grab receivers after five yards downfield,” Kelly said. “And if that becomes your go-to move and that’s what you’ve got to do, you can’t play. You’ve got to figure that out. And we never teach anybody to strike anybody in the face.
“We’ve got to understand that that’s going to be called. And if that’s going to be called, then you’ve got to fix it. You don’t have to agree with the speed limit. But if the cop’s out there with a speed gun, you better take your foot off the gas or he’s going to pull you over. It’s the bottom line. Rules are rules and you’ve got to follow them.”
Games are taking almost five minutes longer to play this preseason, up to an average of 3:04:54. The increase in flags is almost certainly a direct cause of that.