Training Camp Notebook: Referees come to camp to explain new rules

NFL officials watch over practice at the Washington Redskins NFL football training camp in Richmond, Va., Friday, Aug. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. – Referee Gene Steratore and his crew have been here at the Redskins training camp the last two days going over new rules and points of emphasis with the team. They also met with the media on Friday to go over the changes.

During practice, officials have been calling players over and explain to them if they see something a player is doing that is not correct. Mike Shanahan likes having them here, he says.

“Officials did a great job of talking about some of the new rules in clarifying some of the questions we did have.”

One of the changes is the elimination of the infamous “tuck rule.” I think the majority agrees in how bad that rule was. Unless, of course you are the Patriots and it helped you win a playoff game in January 2002 and eventually a Super Bowl.

As far as Mike Shanahan is concerned,

“The tuck rule should have been changed ten years ago, a fumble is a fumble.”

The owners voted to eliminate the rule at the owners meetings in March. While Shanahan isn’t a fan of the rule, its unclear how General Manager Bruce Allen feels about it as he was a Raiders executive at the time.

Five other rule changes the referees explained are:

  • Running backs are no longer allowed to initiate contact with a defender using the crown of his helmet if outside the tackle box. If he lines up a defender and uses the crown of his helmet outside the tackle box he will be assessed a 15-yard penalty.
  • On kicking plays, the long snapper is considered a defenseless player until he becomes an active blocker.
  • Also on all kicking plays, the defense is no longer allowed to block below the waist.
  • Peel-back blocks, which is when an offensive player blocks a defensive player below the waist from either the front or side, will draw a 15-yard penalty.
  • All players must wear thigh and knee pads beginning this year.

Other rules have been amended for the 2013 season as well.

Practice Update

  • Dante Stallworth returned to practice today in a limited role, his first action since Saturday, which is a good sign.
  • Robert Griffin III hit Aldrick Robinson in one of his 7-on-7 throws for 50 yards, exciting the crowd.
  • Mike Shanahan said that the team will wear full pads on Saturday for Fan Appreciation Day. Players are required to wear thigh and knee pads this year so he wants the players to grow accustomed to wearing them. He figured Saturday, before an expected crowd of 20,000 people, would be a good day to do it.

Preseason football is just six days away, which is hard to believe. The team will practice Monday and Tuesday next week before leaving for Nashville.

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