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.''
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was scrambling for his life most of the night in the preseason game against the Browns on Friday, but he managed to continue building chemistry with wide receiver Chris Godwin, hooking up with him four times for 52 yards. Winston finished 9-for-19 for 88 yards and a 60.9 passer rating. He scrambled well and didn't make bad decisions or risky throws, which is what he needs to cut out of his game in a contract year. Winston has all the things in place to have his best season to date in head coach Bruce Arians' offense, making him a low-end QB1/high-end backup for fantasy owners. Godwin should see heavy targets as well, making him a popular breakout candidate in 2019.
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is likely out until the start of the season. Head coach Frank Reich stated that it would be unlikely to see any starters during the team's Week 3 matchup against the Chicago Bears. Hilton has not played any snaps during the team's first two preseason games, and he doesn't appear slated to play any this week. The strategy of keeping your best player's healthy when you can is usually the right decision. As he's not battling any injuries, this isn't an issue to be worried about as he will play when the games count.
Indianapolis Colts RB D'Onta Foreman (biceps) was waived from the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 24, after the two sides reached an injury settlement.
Houston Texans RB Lamar Miller (leg) was carted off the field after suffering an apparent leg injury during the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation to determine the severity of Miller's injury. Duke Johnson likely would take over the starting job if Miller misses an extended period of time and could be a No. 2 running back in all fantasy leagues.
Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller was carted off the field after a first quarter hit in Saturday's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. Miller hadn't played in a preseason game before this one. A Pro Bowler last year, Miller is expected to see the bulk of Houston's offensive touches this year with Duke Johnson coming in on passing downs, but a potentially serious knee injury would lead to huge changes in this Houston offense. Monitor the situation over the next few days.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (calf) will not play Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Kittle suffered a calf injury a couple weeks ago but has been practicing and assured his fantasy enthusiasts hell be ready for Week 1. Kittle deserves top-3 tight end consideration in all leagues this season. Other notable inactives include Jerick McKinnon (knee), Trent Taylor (foot), and Nick Bosa (ankle). Both McKinnon and Taylor are at risk of starting the season on the PUP list while Bosa continues working his way back from an ankle sprain. None of the latter three players merit fantasy consideration until theres clarity on their health.
Updating previous reports, Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis (ankle) has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, according to a source. He is starting to feel better but probably will miss time early in the regular season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Justin Evans (hamstring) passed his physical Saturday, Aug. 24, and was activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.
The Atlanta Falcons signed free-agent kicker Blair Walsh on Saturday. The 29-year-old is a former All-Pro that was taken by Minnesota in the sixth round in 2012. He hit 84.2 percent of his kicks in five years with the Vikings and was last with Seattle in 2017, where he made 72.4 percent of his kicks. Current kicker Giorgio Tavecchio has struggled this preseason, so Walsh will push him for the job as Week 1 approaches. Atlanta's kicker position could yield nice fantasy points in 2019, but this is a situation to avoid in fantasy until we have more clarity.
Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook rushed for 88 yards and one touchdown on two carries in the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Cook is scheduled to receive a majority of the carries for the Vikings this season and can be a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues if he is able to stay healthy.
Baltimore Ravens LB Paul Worrilow was officially released Saturday, Aug. 24.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins went 3-for-13 for 35 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions Saturday in the third preseason game. He was sacked twice and was pressured often in the outing. Cousins had multiple passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. The stat line looks ugly, but it shouldn't serve as much of a deterrence for taking Cousins as a low-end QB1 or as a quality backup. The upside isn't where it once was, but he's a relatively safe option for your fantasy squad.
New England Patriots tight end Lance Kendricks has been suspended for the first game of the regular season for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse. Kendricks wasn't in line to see much work for the Pats and could be cut now, so this doesn't move the fantasy needle at all. The 31-year-old caught 19 passes for 170 yards and one score over a full season with Green Bay last year. With Benjamin Watson also suspended to begin the season, Matt LaCosse is likely to be the primary pass-catcher in Week 1, but he'll be a deep DFS sleeper, at best.
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins went 3-for-13 for 35 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions in the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Cousins is coming off a very good 2018 season and will have a solid group of pass catchers to work with but probably should be considered a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook rushed twice for 88 yards and one touchdown in the third preseason game Saturday. On one of his rushes, he started left and cut back to the right, breaking tackles on his way to an 85-yard touchdown run. Cook is showing he's all the way back from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He's a midrange RB1 that has the potential to be one of the best backs in the game.
Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis (ankle) is not dealing with a season-ending injury and likely will avoid the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Matt Patricia.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray went 14-for-21 for 137 yards in the third preseason game Saturday. He didn't throw a touchdown or an interception, and he avoided taking a sack. He rushed four times for nine yards. The team has emphasized getting the ball out quickly with Murray, which hasn't led to many big gains. This dink-and-dunk approach limits his fantasy value in single-year formats. However, it could prove beneficial in the long run. Murray is an upside backup quarterback in fantasy, but he is a budding chip to have in dynasty formats.
New England Patriots TE Lance Kendricks has been suspended by the NFL for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Free-agent PK Blair Walsh (Seahawks), DT Stefan Charles (Chiefs) and TE Thomas Duarte (Panthers) signed with the Atlanta Falcons Saturday, Aug. 24. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed. The team also waived WR Shawn Bane, WR Kahlil Lewis and OG Tommy Doles.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Keesean Johnson caught all seven balls thrown to him in the third preseason game Saturday. He tallied 85 yards on the receptions for 12.1 yards per catch. He had five catches for 52 yards combined in the first two preseason games. This performance made a statement in his quest for the Cardinals' No. 3 receiver job. Johnson looks to be a value pick to target late in drafts, and his play could boost him into the WR4 category.