As each season approaches, the college and NFL officials are given points of emphasis. Most of the time, those things that are being emphasized heading into the fall, like targeting or roughing the passer, make a ton of sense.
Well…then there’s this.
(full disclosure – this is coming from an offensive-minded head coach and former college offensive lineman and tight end).
According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, offensive holding is going to be a “significant point of emphasis for NFL officials” in 2019.
Seifert adds that the league is trying to eliminate a technique called the “lobster block” where an offensive lineman on the backside of a play grabs a defender around the shoulders or torso to prevent or slow down their pursuit to the football.
Somewhere, in a lair deep underground (or wherever defensive staffs meet), defensive coordinators, defensive line coaches, and even linebackers coaches are all grinning from ear to ear as the point of emphasis scale ever-so-slowly tips back in their favor for once.
Last year, the NFL had a one-week emphasis on holding calls and during games that week a total of 94 flags were thrown for offensvie holding – nearly doubling the amount of holding calls any single week dating all the way back to 2012. That could mean we’re in for a really long NFL season…
If you think the social media outrage over inconsistency with targeting penalties was bad, wait until some of these holding calls are made.
Head over to ESPN to read more, including how past points of emphasis for officials have worked out.