GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers didn’t play football over the weekend, but the Green Bay Packers quarterback watched enough on television that he had some more observations about the replacement officials on Wednesday.
Since the replacement officials began working regular season games, Rodgers has said that they were under an unfair amount of scrutiny and then openly criticized the work they did in the Packers’ season-opening loss to San Francisco.
On Wednesday, after seeing things get a little chippy in the Packers’ victory over the Chicago Bears and then get even worse in a pair of games he watched on TV – Baltimore-Philadelphia on Sunday and Atlanta-Denver on Monday – Rodgers again chimed in with his thoughts. And they weren’t positive.
“I thought in both of those games that player safety was compromised at times, and the game got a little out of hand, potentially because there was so much chippiness in those two games,” Rodgers said on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com. “I would have expected more penalties. On two occasions in the Baltimore-Philly game there were offsetting personal fouls, which doesn’t really do anything. It doesn’t send any message to the guys, and nothing happens, there are no repercussions, there’s no 15-yard penalty (where) then the guy can come over and get a tongue-lashing from his coach and maybe think twice about doing it again.
“There was a bunch of scuffles and after-the-play stuff that went on. I think the game got a little out of hand at times. Now it settles down in the third quarter, but I think there was some of that stuff in the Atlanta-Denver game as well that, you know, some borderline punches thrown at one point.
“I’m not sure if (the replacement officials) are scared of throwing a guy out of the game, or what, but I think they just need to have a lot of confidence that they’re reffing, and they need to feel comfortable making the calls when they’re supposed to.”
Rodgers also was troubled that Eagles running back LeSean McCoy reported that one of the replacement officials told him he needed the back to have a good game for his fantasy football team.
“Yeah, I hope that’s not true,” Rodgers said, not joking in the least.
Rodgers also agreed with the idea that defensive backs are pushing the envelope on pass interference and illegal contact because they’re testing to see how much replacement officials will let them get away with doing.
“I think the pass interference has gotten … I mean, it’s kind of all over the place,” Rodgers said. “There’s been some crazy phantom calls, and then there’s been some big no-calls. … I think the defenders know, watching the film this year, one thing that kind of stick out is there’s some illegal contacts past five yards out that haven’t been called.
“(You) just have to play and hope that their confidence is going to grow, and they’re going to feel more comfortable making the appropriate calls, and that they’re studying their rules books so we don’t have a defensive holding call that’s assessed an 11-yard penalty, and stuff like that. I mean, we put a lot into this game, and as long as the player’s safety is thought about by them, and is on the front of their mind, but also enforcing the rules the correct way, then it won’t have any affect on the game.”
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