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
Deshaun Watson Aug 24 11:00pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson played just one series in Houston's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He was sacked twice and watched teammate Lamar Miller get carted off the field, which probably contributed to head coach Bill O'Brien sending his star quarterback to the bench. Watson has the chance to be a top-five fantasy quarterback, but Houston's offensive line will have to give him a pocket. Saturday didn't help anyone feel better about that being a reality this year. You still draft Watson as a top quarterback, but do so with an understanding that he could get beat up this season.

From RotoBaller

Joe Webb Aug 24 11:00pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Joe Webb had a rough one in Saturday's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys, going 8-for-21 passing the ball for 62 yards and a pair of interceptions. He added 25 yards on four carries as well. Webb's going to be Houston's third quarterback once A.J. McCarron is back, so he doesn't have any fantasy value heading into the season and shouldn't be rostered anywhere, but he will likely see major minutes again when Houston hosts the Rams in the preseason finale. Webb's a risky but potentially rewarding DFS option for the last week of preseason action.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Aug 24 10:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo completed 14 of his 20 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in the preseason Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: After a horrible preseason debut, Garoppolo looked sharp in his second appearance. The 49ers added a bunch of weapons this offseason, but Garoppolo is still an unproven commodity. Consider him a midrange QB2 with upside.

From TheHuddle

Andrew Luck Aug 24 10:53pm ET

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the NFL Saturday, Aug. 24.

From TheHuddle

Robby Anderson Aug 24 10:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson caught both of his targets for 60 yards against the Saints on Saturday. The highlight of Anderson's night was a 41-yard reception where he made a nice adjustment on an underthrown ball from Sam Darnold. Anderson finishes the preseason with five catches on five targets for 92 yards and no touchdowns. Anderson is a high ceiling, low floor receiver on a week-to-week basis because he relies so heavily on the big play, but should provide enough big games to be drafted near the top-60 players overall.

From RotoBaller

Michael Gallup Aug 24 10:43pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup caught a 12-yard touchdown in a 34-0 preseason win over the Houston Texans Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: Gallup enters the season as the No. 2 option in the Dallas passing game, but he is still likely to be a big-play dependent deep threat. He's worth a look as a WR5.

From TheHuddle

Lamar Miller Aug 24 10:40pm ET

Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller is feared to have suffered a torn ACL in Saturday's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys. If confirmed, Miller's season is over before it began, and his Texans career is likely coming to a close as well. Duke Johnson will get more chances to run the ball, but the workload in Houston will also fall to someone else as well. Maybe it's veteran Taiwan Jones. Maybe it's one of the undrafted rookies, Damarea Crockett or Karan Higdon. Maybe Houston signs or trades for a back. Whoever earns the job has value as a flex option, but it's going to be a few days before we have a clear sense of how this backfield will shake out. At the very least, it's time to grab Crockett and Higdon in dynasty leagues just to be safe.

From RotoBaller

Christian Kirk Aug 24 10:30pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk only caught two of his six targets for five yards, including a dropped pass Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. The upside though was that Kirk was second in targets for the afternoon. Even though the Cardinals' offense this preseason has been very bland, there is too much talent and too much upside to be ignored. Expect Kirk and this offense to light it up this season and he will come in as a nice WR2/3. With his poor showings this preseason, now might be a good time to buy Kirk at his lowest in dynasty formats.

From RotoBaller

Chase Edmonds Aug 24 10:30pm ET

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds put in a strong performance Saturday afternoon against the Vikings, rushing three times for 13 yards and hauling in both of his two targets for 24 yards. Edmonds continues to be a top handcuff to own in the fantasy world and would be a solid weekly starter if something were to happen to David Johnson. With starters likely resting for the fourth and final preseason game, look for Edmonds to get his fair share of touches against the Denver Broncos.

From RotoBaller

Ty Montgomery Aug 24 10:30pm ET

New York Jets running back Ty Montgomery carried the ball eight times for 21 yards and caught all four of his targets for 24 yards and a touchdown against the Saints on Saturday. Montgomery has been the Jets most productive running back so far with Le'Veon Bell not playing preseason games. The former wide receiver finishes the preseason with 67 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown running to go along with five catches. He should be considered the primary backup to Bell with some PPR value in deep leagues as he should see plenty of work on passing downs.

From RotoBaller

Duke Johnson Aug 24 10:23pm ET

Houston Texans RB Duke Johnson will take over as the starting running back in the wake of RB Lamar Miller's (knee) knee injury, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, and McClain believes Johnson will 'get all the playing time he can handle.'

Fantasy Spin: Johnson has been a major weapon in the passing game in the past, and if given an every-down role, RB2 production seems like his floor, especially in PPR formats. Add him now if he is available in your league.

From TheHuddle

Sam Darnold Aug 24 10:20pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold went 8-for-13 for 97 yards and a touchdown in the team's third preseason game on Saturday. Darnold's night was highlighted by a 41-yard strike to Robby Anderson and a 2-yard touchdown pass to Ty Montgomery against the Saints backups. It wasn't all good for Darnold as the offense looked sloppy with three of their five starting offensive linemen out of the game leading to several hits on the sophomore QB. Darnold finishes the preseason 17-25 for 211 yards and most importantly no interceptions. The Jets hired an offensive-minded coach and upgraded the weapons around Darnold going into his second NFL season. He should be drafted in all two quarterback leagues and is a backup with upside in standard leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jacoby Brissett Aug 24 10:10pm ET

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett has become the starting quarterback. Star quarterback Andrew Luck informed the team of his intention to retire from the NFL. Luck, who has been dealing with injuries this offseason, told the team after reportedly multiple weeks of mulling the decision. Brissett gives the team some running ability, and he showed some flashes during his time as the starter back in 2017. He obviously doesn't have the same ceiling as Luck, but he has gotten all of the first-team reps throughout training camp. He should be ready to go with a full arsenal of weapons when the season starts.

From RotoBaller

Deon Cain Aug 24 10:03pm ET

Indianapolis Colts WR Deon Cain caught three of his four targets for 74 yards and a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the preseason Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: Cain continues to shine in the preseason, but he was already dealing with a crowded receiving corps as he works his way back from a knee injury, and now Andrew Luck is reportedly retiring. He's still worth stashing in keeper formats, but without Luck running the offense, the fantasy ceiling for any receiver in Indianapolis isn't as high.

From TheHuddle

Bilal Powell Aug 24 10:00pm ET

New York Jets running back Bilal Powell was getting snaps with the starters during the team's preseason game with the Saints on Saturday. Powell is clearly ahead of Elijah McGuire for the role of primary backup according to Manish Mehta. Starting running back Le'Veon Bell was not playing in the game but head coach Adam Gase has said they will not give Bell the astronomical number of touches he got in Pittsburgh. Powell won't have much fantasy value on draft day but has proved a usable fantasy back in the past including a 58 reception season in 2016. If Gase does limit Bell's touches then Powell could provide some PPR value as a passing-down back.

From RotoBaller

Michael Thomas Aug 24 10:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas caught both of his targets for 39 yards and a touchdown in his team's third preseason game against the New York Jets on Saturday. Thomas played on just the first offensive drive of the game but he made his presence felt in that short period of time. His touchdown came on a 19-yard pass from Drew Brees in which a closely-covered Thomas jumped up and snatched the ball out of the air near the right corner of the end zone. Among the most efficient receivers in the game, Thomas is a locked-in WR1 in fantasy and worthy of selecting toward the end of the first round.

From RotoBaller

Andrew Luck Aug 24 9:53pm ET

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck has informed owner Jim Irsay that he intends to retire, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: In one of the most shocking moves in recent memory, Luck has apparently decided to step away from the NFL. The move not only hurts Luck owners, but also fantasy owners who have invested in other members of the Indianapolis offense. Jacoby Brissett will become the new starting quarterback for the Colts.

From TheHuddle

Lamar Miller Aug 24 9:53pm ET

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans RB Lamar Miller (knee) may have suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys Saturday, Aug. 24, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: If Miller is out for the year, Duke Johnson becomes the most experienced back on the Houston roster. He would have RB2 upside in PPR formats if given a steady workload, but Damarea Crockett would also be worth a speculative add.

From TheHuddle

Andrew Luck Aug 24 9:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has informed the team that he intends to retire from the NFL, citing that the mental aspects of the game have worn him down. Luck's dealt with a variety of injuries over the past few seasons and was already looking like he'd miss the start of the 2019 season with a leg injury, but to see a player with Luck's skill call it quits before the age of 30 is a huge shock. Jacoby Brissett is Indianapolis' starting quarterback now, and while he's got the potential to be a top-20 fantasy quarterback, you can go ahead and downgrade this entire offense from a fantasy perspective. Running back Marlon Mack is likely the least affected, but TY Hilton's value falls tremendously as he's struggled when a quarterback who wasn't Luck has been throwing the ball.

From RotoBaller

Andrew Luck Aug 24 9:35pm ET

Adam Schefter is reporting Andrew Luck has informed the Colts he is retiring from the NFL, per source. There will be a press conference Sunday to make it official, but Luck is mentally worn down, and now checking out.