Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields signed a $33 million contract extension during the off-season. His fellow starter Tramon Williams is a $9.5 million cap hit this year. And if reports out of Packers training camp are true, they won’t be allowed to do their jobs.
According to a Packers.com post by Vic Ketchman, Referee Ed Hochuli and his crew threw flags on nearly every play of a one-on-one drill designed to illustrate how the new rules will work.
“Get ready for a lot of points scored in the NFL this season,” Ketchman wrote.
Remember the old Bell Telephone ad campaign, “Reach out and touch someone?” Not in the NFL.
“Penalties are going to be really high this year and the fans are going to be booing because there’s going to be yellow flags all over the place,” backup cornerback Jarrett Bush, who was flagged once in the drill on Thursday, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. “There’s going to be a ton of points on the board. There’s got to be something to help corners.”
Darn those Seattle Seahawks anyway. They figured out how to shut down Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, and now the league is scrambling to keep the offenses zooming along. We can’t have these pesky defensive backs making NFL quarterbacks look human.
Physicality in the NFL, for defensive backs at least, apparently is over. From what I understand, if an official sees contact, he looks at the quarterback, and the passer still has the ball in his hand, it’s a penalty. This is how the man-press coverage scheme becomes the you’re-screwed coverage scheme.
In addition, Hochuli told the Journal-Sentinel that position will be more greatly enforced – if a cornerback establishes a space, he has the right to that space, but stepping in front of a receiver to deflect or intercept a pass will be more difficult because the receiver now has the right to get there first. The veteran official likened it to the blocking call in basketball.
“I would expect there may be more fouls called in the first preseason game and the first regular-season game,” Hochuli told the Journal-Sentinel. “The big one is holding. We’ve also tightened up the rule on illegal contact. We’ve always given a little leeway on that.”
Not any longer. Scores are going to be big this year, and all the so-called shutdown corners in the league are going to be compromised, forced to learn a new way to do their jobs.
Given this development, perhaps all that money the Packers spent on Williams would have been better spent on Randall Cobb.