Penalties are up across the board in the NFL. In fact, we’ve seen more penalties through four weeks than ever.
“I just think it’s one of those anomalies that happens,” longtime NFL referee Mike Carey said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “There are some things that you may want to think about. There’s only eight teams with winning records. So many teams are 2-2. Teams have struggled to find an identity. I happen to think the more time officials can spend in training camps would help lower that number. There’s always a learning curve to the year.”
As Carey explained, NFL officials only attend training camps for three or four days.
“Some teams do a few more days, but that’s very rare,” Carey said. “And the officials that you see in camps normally are just local officials, so they really don’t know the NFL rules and it’s not an instructional engagement there.”
Brian Jones wondered if players are just less disciplined these days. After all, training camps aren’t as rigorous as they used to be, and many stars don’t play in the preseason. Then they’re thrown into the fire.
Is that a possibility?
“It’s a possibility,” Carey said, “but you have to run more stats on that to find out. I don’t know if that is a big factor, but I’m sure there’s a lot of little factors that come into play. I think you’re going to find the players – as the season starts to progress – you can’t afford to have 60, 70 yards a game in penalties. That’s like giving up a 1,000-yard rusher a year and they’re not going to tolerate that.”
Carey squashed Gregg Giannotti’s notion that Roger Goodell and Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino will bring about institutional chance during the upcoming offseason.
“I think the likelihood (of that happening) is like the sun rising in the west,” Carey said. “The players, when you have an elite group of people, they’re going to adapt. They’re going to learn what they can and can’t do. There’s always a testing period, but they will conform. Adapt or die in this league, right? I don’t think the problem is with the officiating. I think it’s just the players settling into what they can and can’t do and the team really coaching to make sure that everything gets in line if they want to win games.”
Carey said that there is tremendous accountability for NFL officials. If they do not perform at an elite level, they will no longer ref games. It’s that simple.
Jones asked if it ever gets personal between players and officials.
“Well, it’s an emotional game,” Carey said, “so there are times when players blow up. But in the 24 years I was there, 95 percent plus of the time, a player came up later and said, ‘Hey man, I’m sorry. I just lost my head.’”
Carey was also asked for his opinion on the incident involving Cam Newton and Ed Hochuli. Newton felt that a personal foul should have been called against New Orleans last week, but Hochuli felt otherwise. Newton, however, alleged that Hochuli told him that he – Newton – was too young to get that call.
Carey believes there was a misunderstanding during the exchange.
“I believe Ed did not say that,” Carey said. “I believe that Cam thought he did.”