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NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Interference or not, NFL refs preparing for replay reviews

Fri Jul 12 5:53pm ET
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer

PLANO, Texas (AP) Veteran NFL referee Tony Corrente was quick to make the distinction about what changes now that pass interference can be challenged by coaches and reviewed by officials.

''First of all, the rule has not changed whatsoever. Pass interference is still the same rule that we have had in the past,'' Corrente said Friday. ''We haven't changed our perspective toward it, we haven't changed our interpretations of it whatsoever. It's just the addition of replay.''

The significant difference, however, is the subjective nature of plays that are typically judgment calls that can now be reviewed, beyond objective standards such as whether a player stepped out of bounds or where the ball should be marked.

''That's the new box we've opened,'' said Corrente, going into his 25th season as an NFL official and 22nd as a referee.

All 122 NFL officials are taking part this weekend in their annual clinic. The gathering comes about four months after NFL owners approved by a 31-1 margin to allow pass interference or non-calls to be challenged by coaches until the final two minutes, when officials in the booth can then stop the game for such reviews.

It is an one-season experiment that could very well stick after an egregious missed call in the NFC championship game in January that cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl.

The NFL competition committee in May decided against making any changes to the new rule approved by owners.

''We understand the play that elevated and got us to where we are today,'' said Alberto Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating.

But Riveron stressed that league officials have been discussing the possibility of such reviews for several years, long before the non-call in the closing minutes of regulation after Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis was hit by cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman in a game the Los Angeles Rams went on to win in overtime.

''The competition committee and ownership is constantly looking at ways to get better. We have discussed replay before as it pertains to other situations. Pass interference, holding, personal fouls,'' Riveron said. ''But we do understand a play of this magnitude elevated us to the point where we are today. But again, it's not new.''

Referee Ron Torbert said officials won't change their approach or what they do on the field. He said the change is just an addition to the list of situations that are subject to review by instant replay.

''We'll still do what we've always done, which is try to get every play right,'' Torbert said.

During the rule's one-year trial this season, coaches still can challenge until the two-minute warning of each half or overtime. A replay official would be responsible for any reviews after that, but would need ''clear and obvious visual evidence'' to review and overturn potential pass interference in an attempt to avoid too many stoppages.

The replay official will have only the angles on the television broadcast available to overturn an on-field decision. Pass interference still is defined as an act significantly hindering the opportunity to make a play on a ball, and all pass plays will be subject to review.

When there are such reviews, Torbert and Corrente said referees will be part of a collaborative effort with Riveron and replay officials in New York looking at the plays. The referees can relay why an official called pass interference - or why they didn't throw a flag.

''That collaboration occurs with any reviewable play,'' Torbert said. ''Not just pass interference.''

Player Notes
Ezekiel Elliott Aug 23 5:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones is confident that the team will strike a deal with running back Ezekiel Elliott before Week 1 against the Giants. The Cowboys have had an offer on the table for nearly three weeks that would make Elliott the second-highest paid back ahead of Le'Veon Bell's $13.125 million average and behind Todd Gurley's $14.375 million average. Elliott's draft stock has slipped slightly because of his holdout, but he remains RotoBaller's No. 6 overall player and should still be taken in the first round of drafts. If he locks up an extension before Week 1, Elliott will immediately become a candidate to go first overall alongside Saquon Barkley.

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Equanimeous St. Brown Aug 23 5:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (ankle) suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason game on Thursday night against the Raiders and is likely to be out four to six weeks, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. X-rays came back negative on his ankle. St. Brown wasn't much of a target to begin with in standard-sized leagues after catching 21 passes for 328 yards and no touchdowns in 12 games in his rookie season. The 22-year-old are running a new offense under a new head coach this year, so St. Brown will be behind when he returns. His injury should allow the likes of Geronimo Allison, Jake Kumerow and Trevor Davis to get more opportunities.

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Marquise Brown Aug 23 5:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown caught three passes for 17 yards in his NFL debut Thursday night. "My expectation was to not make any mistakes and catch every ball that was thrown at me," Brown told BaltimoreRavens.com. Brown caught the first ball of the game, a seven-yard throw from rookie quarterback Trace McSorley. He caught two other targets for five yards apiece and attempted rushing the ball, but was taken down for a loss of four yards. Brown performed without jitters and his explosiveness will be a key asset to the Ravens offense. His current ADP is in the 170s. After watching Hollywood take reps with the starting lineup on Thursday, he might worth stashing on your bench in the late rounds despite the Ravens run-first offense.

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David Moore Aug 23 5:00pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury in practice on Thursday, and head coach Pete Carroll said that Moore is not expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Moore is getting a second opinion but isn't expected to require surgery, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. With rookie D.K. Metcalf also injured and not a lock to be ready for Week 1, Seattle's pass-catching group is thinning out quickly. It'll mean more looks for No. 1 wideout Tyler Lockett, as well as Jaron Brown, Keenan Reynolds and potentially Amara Darboh. Moore doesn't need to be drafted in standard-sized leagues, especially now that this injury clouds his early-season potential.

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Jacoby Brissett Aug 23 5:00pm ET

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett will not play in the preseason game on Saturday against the Bears, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The Colts are sitting the majority of their starters this weekend, and Brissett could be forced to start in Week 1 due to the injury to Andrew Luck (ankle). The Colts are playing it safe here, as they can't afford to lose another signal caller with the regular season fast approaching. It's looking more and more likely that Luck won't be ready for Week 1 against the Chargers, so Brissett would get the nod if that's the case. Because it's possible Luck could be back in Week 2, Brissett's fantasy appeal hasn't grown all that much.

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Michael Floyd Aug 23 4:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Floyd caught three balls for 54 yards and a touchdown in Thursday night's preseason game against the Eagles. With a little less than seven minutes to go before the half, rookie quarterback Trace McSorley threw a 28-yard dime to Floyd for the Ravens second touchdown of the game. Floyd is entering his eighth year and fifth team in just three seasons. He is toeing the line for a roster spot against the likes of Seth Roberts, Jaleel Scottand Jaylen Smith. Floyd likely shouldn't be in your fantasy sights this season, but performances in preseason may earn him a spot on the depth chart.

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Marcus Mariota Aug 23 4:40pm ET

Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan will officially be suspended the first four games of the season after losing the appeal of his four-game ban for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Veteran swing tackle Dennis Kelly will take over the blind side to start the year, but it'll be a downgrade for the offensive line as a whole and for whoever is the team's starter in Week 1 between Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill.

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Dante Pettis Aug 23 2:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis believes hes finally playing explosive and consistent. Entering training camp as a presumed starter, Pettis has been pushed by rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd who have both turned heads. Meanwhile, Pettis has apparently lacked assertiveness. The 2018 second-round pick emerged at the end of last year, compiling 359 yards and four touchdowns in his final five games and becoming the clear second option behind tight end George Kittle. However, with more aerial weapons this season, Pettis needs to execute on his words to retain playing time. Still running with the starters, a reinvigorated Pettis seems like a safe backend WR2.

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Nick Mullens Aug 23 2:10pm ET

The competition between San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks CJ Beathard and Nick Mullens to earn backup duties will come down to final cuts. The two signal-callers both made starts in 2018 after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL and present different skillsets to the offense. Beathard is a risk-taker with a longer tenure with the squad while Mullens has been more consistent. With Garoppolo likely playing the entire first half this Saturday, both players will need to share limited opportunities. The Niners apparently have no intention to keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, and its likely both Beathard and Mullens would garner interest on the waiver wire if they were cut. While its a difficult decision, the team has until September 8 to make the call.

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Nick Bosa Aug 23 2:00pm ET

Speaking Thursday, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch indicated defensive end Nick Bosa (ankle) and cornerback Jason Verrett (ankle, Achilles) are 50-50 for Week 1. Both players suffered injuries two weeks ago and their absence would impair an already-shaky defensive unit. Bosa, the second overall pick in 2019, could emerge as a quality IDP candidate once hes healthy while Verrett likely wont make any fantasy impact this season.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Matthews Aug 23 1:50pm ET

Based on the praised heaped upon San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jordan Matthews recently, his chances of making the team appear bright. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has a lot of confidence in Matthews and believes they can win with [him]. Once an ascending talent with three straight 800-plus yard seasons to start his career, Matthews has tailed off over the past two years, collecting just 582 yards across 24 games. If he makes the squad, hell vie for snaps behind likely frontrunners Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel and Trent Taylor. Matthews positive outlook comes at the expense of Kendrick Bourne, whos suffered drop issues this training camp. Unless he leaps the apparent starters, Matthews isnt a fantasy option if he survives final cuts.

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Justice Hill Aug 23 1:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens rookie running back Justice Hill gained a total of eight yards on seven carries in Thursday night's preseason game against Philadelphia. After rushing for 49 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore's Week 2 preseason matchup against Green Bay, Thursday night's Week 3 performance was unimpressive. While Hill's individual performance may not have been exciting, the entire Ravens backfield only rushed for 40 yards altogether. Hill is fighting for touches in a crowded backfield and needs to put together a good outing in next week's last preseason game to help solidify his No. 2 spot behind Mark Ingram. Hill is currently being drafted in the 12th round, but we have seen him go as early as the eighth round. Draft him as an Ingram handcuff with potential for an exponential amount of touches as the season goes on.

From RotoBaller

Trace McSorley Aug 23 1:20pm ET

Baltimore Ravens rookie quarterback Trace McSorley showed what he's made of in Thursday night's preseason game against the Eagles. After deciding to sit quarterbackLamar Jackson and with Robert Griffin III still out with an injured hand, head coach John Harbaugh gave McSorley the keys to start and finish the game. McSorley completed 19 of 28 passes for 208 yards and three total touchdowns. "I thought Trace did a heck of a job against those guys," Harbaugh told BaltimoreRavens.com. "I thought he was very poised. Made a lot of plays on the move, extended some plays and made them, made some good throws." The sixth-round pick had a performance that could help thrust him into the No. 2 spot behind Jackson. McSorley will go undrafted in the majority of leagues, but in the event that Jackson goes down this season, he poses as an exciting waiver wire pick-up, dependent on Baltimore's use for him.

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Kahale Warring Aug 23 1:20pm ET

Houston Texans rookie tight end Kahale Warring remains in concussion protocol and has now missed two weeks of practice. Warring, a third round pick this year, looked like someone who could contribute some early during the first parts of offseason practices, but at this point, it would be a surprise to see him on the field much as a rookie, as his injury has caused him to miss valuable practice time at a position where rookies really, really need practice time. Warring is an interesting dynasty pick, but should be avoided in re-draft leagues.

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Mike Gesicki Aug 23 1:10pm ET

Second-year tight end Mike Gesicki was the offensive star in Miami's preseason victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night, hauling in all three of his targets for a total of 59 yards. This included a 29-yard catch-and-run to start off the second quarter with Gesicki catching a 16-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick before scampering for another 13 yards. Seemingly still behind teammate Nick O'Leary on the depth chart, Gesicki is being drafted first of the two, even though neither should be on your fantasy radar until the Dolphins prove that their offense is anything but mediocre.

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Ezekiel Elliott Aug 23 1:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has returned to Cabo to train. The Cowboys reportedly offered Elliott a deal to make him the second-highest paid running back in football, but his return to Mexico seems to suggest that Elliott wasn't happy with the deal. While he's still training and seems to be in game shape, the fact that the latest contract offer from Dallas didn't cause Elliott to budge is an admittedly bad sign for his chances of showing up for the start of the regular season. Elliott's upside is through the roof, but the risk continues to increase. He's still worth a first round pick, but it's understandable to take the safe bet with someone like David Johnson instead of drafting Elliott.

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Lamar Miller Aug 23 1:10pm ET

Offensive line play is crucial to success in fantasy football, and the Houston Texans reportedly have an issue on their hands as they try to fill the most important offensive line position, left tackle. The team signed Matt Kalil this offseason, but the veteran hasn't been at practice since August 14th, which has opened a spot for Roderick Johnson to potentially claim the starting role. There's also a chance that rookie Tytus Howard could wind up manning the position. This uncertainty should worry fantasy owners who have Texans running back Lamar Miller, who'll need the line to create space for him to work in. This situation makes Miller a little riskier pick than he'd be if Houston had some consistency at the left tackle position.

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Cam Newton Aug 23 1:08pm ET

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (foot) was diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain, and the team is cautiously optimistic about his status for Week 1.

Cam Newton Aug 23 1:00pm ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has a mid-foot sprain that was suffered in Thursday's preseason meeting with the New England Patriots. The team says they are "cautiously optimistic" about Newton's Week 1 availability, and while we can likely expect to see Newton on the field when the Panthers take on the Rams, there's a chance that Kyle Allen ends up taking the field. If Newton is healthy, he's a solid quarterback option thanks to his legs, but if Allen's forced to play in Week 1, don't expect much from the Carolina passing attack. We'd see a solid dose of Christian McCaffrey.

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Duke Johnson Aug 23 12:50pm ET

Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson is expected to make his Texans debut in Saturday's preseason meeting with the Dallas Cowboys. A hamstring issue had kept Johnson sidelined since being acquired by the Texans in a trade with Cleveland, but we'll finally get to see a hint of how the Texans will use him. Johnson's expected to see time as a both a third-down back and a slot option for the Texans, and he gives quarterback Deshaun Watson a weapon unlike one he's had before. Johnson's a sneaky mid-round pick in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller