Three straight years of being one of the league’s most highly penalized teams is a trend that needs to come to an end, according to Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and coaches.
Former head coach Lovie Smith inherited a team drew more yellow flags than 28 other NFL franchises in 2013, then failed to effectively reverse the discipline issues despite addressing it week after week for two seasons.
Now it’s Dirk Koetter’s job to get the Bucs playing within the rules of the game.
“As I’m sure you could see we had officials out there today,” the first-year head coach said. “Gene Steratore and some of his crew, we had five or six NFL officials. They’ll be here for the next two days as well. It was great to have those guys here. It was great to have real NFL officials so I didn’t have to be the official. As you guys all know we’re putting a big emphasis on the penalty thing and we had plenty of penalties today.”
Only the Buffalo Bills had more flags (168) thrown at their expense last year than Tampa Bay (165). Subtract declined and offsetting infractions and the teams tied for most accepted penalties, with 143.
Bringing in professional officiating crews to oversee practices is nothing new, but second-year offensive lineman Ali Marpet said it never hurts to have actual refs on site. An added benefit that’s mostly absent during games is a higher level of interaction.
“It’s important because we get to communicate with them off the field, ask them questions, see what they’re looking for,” he said. “That’s important to have an open dialogue with the refs. We can talk to them whenever and they’re pretty open with us.”
Officials will remain at practice into the weekend. Bucs public relations personnel notified the media that officials will be available Friday after practice to go over new rule changes for 2016 and to take questions.
The modifications include:
Gene Steratore is also a Big Ten men’s basketball official. I watch a couple of games he officiated. I kept wondering when he was going to throw a flag, then call a penalty on the Bucs. 🙂
I like the changes.
I understand Lovie scoffed at the idea of bringing in officials last year.
What a bonehead.
The more I learn about the man the more I’m glad he is gone.
When it comes to officiating we get no respect. We’ve all seen it. Having officials at practice also allows them to get to know our players. When they see how hard we work, how we care about football, and generally being good guys, it has to help us on game day.
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