Those defensive penalties that have plagued preseason games for the last two weeks won’t be going away once the regular season gets underway, according to vice president of officiating Dean Blandino. Blandino tells Peter King of TheMMQB.com that defensive holding and illegal contact penalties will continue to be a point of emphasis throughout the year, and that he expects coaches and teams to adjust their style of play over the next few weeks. In the second weekend of the 2014 preseason, there have been nearly nine more penalties per game than an average 2013 regular season contest, which is a number that will hurt the game if it extends into the regular season, writes King.
Here’s more from this week’s MMQB:
- King predicts that we’ll hear of several teams desperate for cornerbacks in the next week or so. “We’re going to get one,” a personnel man for one team said. “But we may have to pay a higher price than we want, or a higher price than the player deserves.” King identifies the Jets, Ravens, Lions, Colts, Vikings, and Buccaneers as teams that may be on the lookout for another corner.
- While Chad Henne may open the regular season under center for the Jaguars, the team has always planned to transition Blake Bortles into the starting role when he’s ready, regardless of how well or how poorly Henne is playing, says King. Based on how Bortles has looked so far in the preseason, that transition could end up happening sooner rather than later.
- According to King, Nick Fairley is now behind C.J. Mosley on the Lions‘ depth chart. So far, it doesn’t seem as Detroit’s decision to decline Fairley’s 2015 option as a motivational tactic has paid off for the defensive tackle or the team.
- One scout suggests the 49ers should be worried about the backup quarterback situation, and King writes that Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke may be thinking about elevating Josh Johnson to No. 2 on the depth chart after another poor performance by Blaine Gabbert.
- King praises the Bears‘ signing of wide receiver Santonio Holmes, writing that he has “no idea” why so many people view Holmes as a toxic locker-room presence — in King’s view, the veteran wideout has been “mildly disruptive,” but he’s hardly a cancer.