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penalties on kick returns - out of control


dave mcbride
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I swear to god that I think the NFL is trying to legislate returns out of the game. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that between 33 and 50 percent of all kick returns (inclusive of punts) result in a holding penalty on the returning team. I can't imagine that STs are more likely to hold than, say, interior offensive linemen, but they definitely get called at a way higher rate. The hold on the kick return for a TD didn't bother me because I expect it to happen, but at the same time, even though he held a bit, it was nowhere near the play and the guy being held had not a snowball's chance in hell of getting within 5 yards of McKenzie. Anyway, ST returns are difficult to watch. I also think the Bills were kicking it short deliberately because they figured they had a 50/50 chance of a hold call that'd push TN back to the 10. Happened at least once and maybe twice (can't recall specifically). 

 

Anyway, it's bad for the game because it's bad entertainment. 

Edited by dave mcbride
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This issue has been annoying me for the last couple of  years..

 

Kick and Punt returns are one of the most exciting parts of the game but I do agree that it appears they might be getting us used to these plays not being part of the game in the longer term...

 

As is often said, you could throw a flag on probably every play if you look hard enough.. and they try their best to do that on these ST plays.. no doubt under instructions from head office.. 

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I don't think it's got anything to do with the refs.  It's the nature of the play setup.  Guys running hard and fast in the open field and then

a sudden turn as the returner moves by.  It has really hurt the filed position (especially on punts) for the Bills this year and last night it

took points off the board on a KR.  It is a problem that Farwell has to get cleaned up.

 

After the 2nd Titans drive in the 1st was stopped McKenzie had a punt return to almost midfield called back on 2 flags on the PR team.

It's a lot of little things that can result in a win or a loss.

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24 minutes ago, ColoradoBills said:

I don't think it's got anything to do with the refs.  It's the nature of the play setup.  Guys running hard and fast in the open field and then

a sudden turn as the returner moves by.  It has really hurt the filed position (especially on punts) for the Bills this year and last night it

took points off the board on a KR.  It is a problem that Farwell has to get cleaned up.

 

After the 2nd Titans drive in the 1st was stopped McKenzie had a punt return to almost midfield called back on 2 flags on the PR team.

It's a lot of little things that can result in a win or a loss.

It's not just the Bills though - it's pervasive throughout the league and seems far worse than it was, say, a decade ago.

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2 minutes ago, dave mcbride said:

It's not just the Bills though - it's pervasive throughout the league and seems far worse than it was, say, a decade ago.

 

Agree.  It started when "blocking in the back" replaced clipping.  Clips were illegal only below the waist.

Some teams are much more disciplined than others in this regard.  But yes it is called a lot but it's because the players are doing it.

The holds have always been there on these plays.  IMO.

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It's a bad rule.  How do I know this? Because the players can't play according to the rule.  It's not just one team and it's not just now and then.  

 

I know it's a safety consideration but they should rewrite the rule in a way that the players can play to it.

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47 minutes ago, dave mcbride said:

I swear to god that I think the NFL is trying to legislate returns out of the game. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that between 33 and 50 percent of all kick returns (inclusive of punts) result in a holding penalty on the returning team. I can't imagine that STs are more likely to hold than, say, interior offensive linemen, but they definitely get called at a way higher rate. The hold on the kick return for a TD didn't bother me because I expect it to happen, but at the same time, even though he held a bit, it was nowhere near the play and the guy being held had not a snowball's chance in hell of getting within 5 yards of McKenzie. Anyway, ST returns are difficult to watch. I also think the Bills were kicking it short deliberately because they figured they had a 50/50 chance of a hold call that'd push TN back to the 10. Happened at least once and maybe twice (can't recall specifically). 

 

Anyway, it's bad for the game because it's bad entertainment. 

I think the last 3 pop up kicks by Buffalo ended up at the 30, 33 & 35. I hated the deliberate strategy last night. We don't have the gunners to run that. Let Bass tb the ball and take your chances at the 25. Hopefully that's the last we see of that.

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Just now, LABILLBACKER said:

I think the last 3 pop up kicks by Buffalo ended up at the 30, 33 & 35. I hated the deliberate strategy last night. We don't have the gunners to run that. Let Bass tb the ball and take your chances at the 25. Hopefully that's the last we see of that.

Yeah, it all probably averaged out to about the 25 at the end of the day. The first four didn't make the 25 and one was at the 10 because of a penalty.

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32 minutes ago, without a drought said:

Holding and illegal blocks on returns should only be called if they actually affect the play. Calling penalties for holding a guy who has no chance of making a play is ridiculous.

Just to advocate for the devil, one could also make the point that players should not hold people who are far out of a play 

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There are so few big returns.  You’d think special teams coaches would just tell the blockers to put their hands behind their backs.  It’s not worth the effort.  Which is probably why the Bills were kicking it short.  No big returns and high probability of holding on the return team.  Not sure how you can even block guys running at full speed coming from all over the field.  

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The penalty on the last kickoff cost us the game, but it was blatant holding - can't blame the ref for throwing the flag. Guys do it because there's a chance that they'll get away with it. Sometimes they do, but the decision to hold on that play was absolutely the wrong decision at that moment. The penalty cost us 10 yards on a drive that was 2 yards from being successful.

 

The hold occurred at the 28. If he doesn't hold and McK gets tackled near the 30, that's not bad field position with 3 minutes left on the clock. I'm sure he was seeing green downfield and figured he'd try to spring him for a TD, but would a quick TD be good with so much time left and the way the Titans were killing our defense? Before I saw the flag, I was thinking  "We scored too fast and left too much time on the clock."

 

Special Teams needs to hold some situational awareness drills next week.

 

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The only time it ever makes sense to put yourself in a position to hold is in pass protection.  Sometimes a 10 yard penalty is better than getting your QB killed and potentially creating a turnover.  Every other hold is stupidity and just hoping the ref doesn’t see it.  The hold on McKenzie return was obvious and total lack of discipline. 

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The hold (and tackle) on Poyer as Henry ran past him for 76 yards was more egregious. If not for the hold, Poyer would’ve been in position to make the tackle. I don’t think the same can be said for the Titans’ special teamer. He wouldn’t have made the tackle anyway, too far and flat footed.

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2 hours ago, dave mcbride said:

I swear to god that I think the NFL is trying to legislate returns out of the game. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that between 33 and 50 percent of all kick returns (inclusive of punts) result in a holding penalty on the returning team. I can't imagine that STs are more likely to hold than, say, interior offensive linemen, but they definitely get called at a way higher rate. The hold on the kick return for a TD didn't bother me because I expect it to happen, but at the same time, even though he held a bit, it was nowhere near the play and the guy being held had not a snowball's chance in hell of getting within 5 yards of McKenzie. Anyway, ST returns are difficult to watch. I also think the Bills were kicking it short deliberately because they figured they had a 50/50 chance of a hold call that'd push TN back to the 10. Happened at least once and maybe twice (can't recall specifically). 

 

Anyway, it's bad for the game because it's bad entertainment. 


Agreed. its becoming unwatchable. 

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2 hours ago, dave mcbride said:

It's not just the Bills though - it's pervasive throughout the league and seems far worse than it was, say, a decade ago.

Dave, I’m with you in that every return is a hold you’re breath for every team its not coming back.


The only part I slightly disagree is for me it feels like this has been a pain the ars for many years.  You’d think they’d give some latitude as it is one of the most fun parts of the game when a return ensues.  It’s to the point I just expect every great return to come back.

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Agree refs love flagging returns, even if way away from play. 

Given that, would it make sense to teach these guys to block with closed fists?

No fingers, no holding.

Or go old school and have them grab their own jerseys and stick their elbows out. 

As for block in back... ugh, guys don't block a guy in his back. Can't be that difficult. 

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58 minutes ago, JayBaller10 said:

The hold (and tackle) on Poyer as Henry ran past him for 76 yards was more egregious. If not for the hold, Poyer would’ve been in position to make the tackle. I don’t think the same can be said for the Titans’ special teamer. He wouldn’t have made the tackle anyway, too far and flat footed.

Sort of proves my point. Holding happens a lot on both ST and regular play, but it gets called a lot more on ST.

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