Former NFL official and head of referee's Jim Daopoulos discusses the controversial ending to Jets-Patriots game. He described the actions of the referee as "preventative officiating"

[0:00:39] ... two point if. So we get the block on the fifty yard field goal attempts. From nick pulled the kicker for the year jets who does have a 56 yarder to his Chris good kicker so who ...
[0:05:09] ... moving a little bit wanted it can't control them all he's got exceptional leader and is water. There is something -- the debate with a little bit and here it is because of all the movie goes to solely be yet our control. Jim how do you think when you look at at the -- that the holding. Defense of pass an appearance. Do you think the refs are on the right track as far as what they're calling holding what they're calling it appeared that seems. And other social lighten up on it at the point of emphasis during the during the during the pre season. But is -- -- other light up at any point because there are some calls last night where I'm just shake my ...

Former NFL referee Jim Daopoulos joined Middays with MFB on Friday morning to discuss the controversy surrounding the field goal attempt at the end of the Patriots-Jets game from Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Jets attempted to kick a game-winning field goal on the final play of the game. However, Chris Jones blocked the try to seal the Patriots’ win. Before the kick, Dont’€™a Hightower was lined up in front of Jets long snapper Tanner Purdum, which would have been a five-yard penalty.

Before the snap, though, a referee alerted Hightower to move out of the area. That raised the ire of some in New York, but an NFL spokesman said Friday morning that it was “standard operating procedure.”

Said Daopoulos: “It’€™s what we call preventive officiating. It happens many times during a game. It can happen when situations are going on down field, you may talk to a defensive back and tell him to keep his hands off of the receiver. On the line of scrimmage, you may tell a player, ‘Hey, watch yourself, your hands are getting out too wide.’ We see too many flags nowadays, and this is just one of the ways that officials are working to keep the flags down. It was exactly right last night.

“Unfortunately, all of the officials don’€™t work like that, but it was the right call.”

While telling a player to move is one thing, some feel that the grabbing and nudging of Hightower went a little too far. Daopoulos said it’s within the referee’€™s right to do this.

“It’€™s exactly what you need to do,” Daopoulos said. “You give him a little slap on the backside and tell him to move himself over, get off the center’€™s nose, get into the gap. It’€™s not a big deal. You’€™re not going actually grab him and physically move him, just give him a little slap and say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to move.’

“Just kind of let him know that he’€™s out of position. And it’€™s not anything that’€™s illegal, it’€™s something that most officials do. The better officials do it all the time.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano
Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray

In wake of running back Stevan Ridley being lost for the season, the Patriots needed to add depth at the running back position.

Prior to Thursday’s game, the Patriots signed Jonas Gray off the practice squad and he was active for the game over rookie running back James White — who had been on the 53-man roster since training camp broke — but has only appeared in one game.

“I think Jonas has been solid for us all the way through preseason — he’€™s done a good job in practice,” Bill Belichick said on a conference call Friday morning. “He got an opportunity last night — not a lot of opportunities — he had some blitz pick up opportunities, a few carries. He works hard, he’€™s a tough kid. More in the [Stevan] Ridley size range — works for us in the kicking game as well. Keep going with that and this is an opportunity for him — unfortunately the way it came out — but he works hard, he deserves it. We’€™ll see what he can do with it.”

Thursday was Gray’s first ever NFL game and he finished with 12 yards on three carries.

By our count — Gray played only 11 snaps — but that was second among running backs as Shane Vereen saw 47 and Brandon Bolden had just one. Moving forward it seems likely Belichick will ride the hot hand each week — based on performance, as well as game planning against their opponent.

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Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the Patriots’€™ win over the Jets on Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss the Patriots’€™ win over the Jets on Thursday night. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

New England narrowly defeated the Jets, thanks to a blocked field goal by Chris Jones on the final play of the game. The Patriots used a bend-but-don’t-break approach on defense, which Harrison said they shouldn’t have done against the Jets and quarterback Geno Smith.

Said Harrison: “I think it directly applies to what type of team you play. I like that against, say, a Peyton Manning or a Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, a high-scoring offense with potentially a quarterback that can beat you in so many different ways. But when it comes to Geno Smith, one of the worst quarterbacks in the league, I don’€™t agree with that. I still think [Bill Belichick] could become a lot more aggressive, play a lot more man-to-man coverage. And you force him to make those tight throws.”

The Jets ran a solid game plan against the Patriots, running for over 200 yards while not committing a single turnover. They also limited Tom Brady‘€™s time on the field. In the end, though, the Patriots still won.

“[The game plan] didn’t work to perfection because if anybody knows playing against the Patriots, when Tom Brady is halfway on, when you get to the red zone, you have to score touchdowns,” Harrison said. “You can’€™t continue to settle for field goals. I think that’€™s a big mistake. When I look at the Jets, with all that being said, you look at what happens week in and week out, and obviously that wasn’t the case last night in terms of turnovers. But you look at the blown coverages, you look at the mistakes on the defensive side of the ball, you look at the mistakes, period, across the board. And you start to wonder, is it the players’€™ fault or is just the lack of coaching? And this team just seems unprepared each and every week. … I think you have to look at the coaches in this situation, not just the players.”

Harrison said he has personal experience playing on a bad team, as he was part of a 2000 Chargers squad that won just once all season.

“I played on a team that was 1-15 in San Diego, we had the worst offense in the league and we had the No. 1 defense,” Harrison said. “It comes down to this: You play for pride, you play for your family, you play for the fans that still support you. And it’€™s your job. Go out there and just continue to prepare, continue to work hard. It’€™s tough, it’€™s a tough situation, especially when you’€™re the Jets. You look at the game that you played against the Patriots and you say, ‘We should’ve won this game. We had a great opportunity to win that game.’ People don’€™t talk about moral victories. I talk about moral victories because I do believe there’€™s a lot of positives that you can find in negative situations.”

The Patriots will have 10 days off, but when they return they will begin a tough portion of their schedule. The hosts wondered if the defensive issues New England had Thursday night can be corrected over time.

Said Harrison: “You can’€™t have a team able to run over 200 yards rushing on you and physically dominate you on the line of scrimmage. But also, along with that, I look at the defensive line and I don’€™t think Vince Wilfork‘€™s 100 percent. I mean, coming off such a devastating injury, it’€™s going to take time for him to really feel comfortable and get back to being close to 100 percent. I think as time goes on, they will get better.”

Continue Harrison: “I think [Wilfork] will get better. I think as much as Vince takes care of himself, and he’€™s a pro and he’€™s a veteran, the days of him being an All-Pro, he’€™ll probably never get back to the time when he was 28, 29 years old or 27 years old. He’€™s still going to be an effective player. It’€™s just one of those things he’€™s smart, he works extremely hard and he’€™s still tough as nails.”

For the first time this season, the Patriots were without linebacker Jerod Mayo. Although they were without him for most of last year because of a season-ending injury, Harrison said Mayo’€™s absence will not go unnoticed.

“Jerod, he’€™s a quiet, humble guy. But he prepares, works hard, just his work ethic, the consistency in which he plays, the communication. It’€™s almost like having your big brother there. You just have that sense of comfort knowing that you’ve got Vince up front, you’ve got Jerod. … You just need that. When you look around, and you have that brotherhood, you miss having Jerod.”

While many picked the Patriots to win the Super Bowl before the 2014 season began, that is now in question after an inconsistent start. Harrison, though, said it doesn’t matter how things are going during Week 7, but the process going into the postseason is more important.

“I don’€™t look at them as being a team right now ready to win a Super Bowl,” Harrison said. “But I can say that about a bunch of teams. The only team I can probably say that for is the Denver Broncos. But at the same time, you don’€™t have to be ready right now to win a Super Bowl. You’€™re continuing to build, you’€™re trying your best to stay healthy and continue to build cohesion within that team.”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano

During the first couple of weeks of the season, I waxed poetic about how the NFL is a fickle lover and how trying to predict games was a total crapshoot. I implored you to ignore anyone claiming to know anything about the NFL before delivering my own thoughts. At the time, it was a convenient goof, a way to protect myself in case my picks were terribly inaccurate. But now, after six weeks, my record stands for itself. While others may know nothing about the NFL, I truly have my ear to the grindstone. So, no, don’t listen to other bloggers, analysts or talking heads, instead you should listen to me. S. Barnaby Covers clearly is the smartest man in the room and he drops hot knowledge on a weekly basis. On to the picks!

Falcons +7 at Ravens

I consider myself an expert on the city of Baltimore, and not just because I have seen “The Wire” six times. Rather, one time I took a class dedicated entirely to analyzing the sociological implications and narrative structure of the show. As if that past sentence didn’t already let you know, I graduated from a liberal arts college, so after the class I really felt like if not physically, I, at least intellectually, or even metaphysically, KNEW the city, you know?

I genuinely hate everything about the Ravens organization, but because of my “Wire”-based education, I could never hate the people of Charm City. Especially not when their accent is so damn funny. That incoherent rambling just tickles my fancy. Whenever I hear it, I completely forget about how Ray Lewis probably did his sack dance murdering that guy. So people of Baltimore, THIS PICK IS FOR YOU. Joe Flacco, the elitest quarterback in the league, is going to tear through a a mediocre Falcons team. Old Bey and Mayonnaise sandwiches for every one! Especially to the members of the Natural POH-Lice

Pick: Ravens -7

Bengals +3 at Colts

If this game was decided based on the crude and dimwitted nicknames I gave the starting quarterbacks, I would pick Andy “Red Rocket” Dalton over Andrew “Ugly Quarterback” Luck. “Red Rocket” simultaneously serves as an allusion to a great South Park moment and a subpar hamburger chain. “Ugly Quarterback” merely describes Andrew Luck‘€™s face and the position he plays. Good thing for the Colts, my attempts at humor have no bearing on the football match. The Colts have won four in a row and Ugly Quarterback is putting up insane numbers. T.Y. Hilton is a tiny man who can run like the wind blows. Also, ever since Tom Brady remembered how to play football, the Bungels have forgotten how to defend the pass. The Red Rocket will shrivel up once he sees Ugly Quarterback taking off his helmet to celebrating his fourth touchdown pass.

Pick: Colts -3

Chiefs +4 at Chargers

I feel like the rest of the media has entirely jumped on the San Diego Super Chargers bandwagon, but why hasn’t Vegas? All of the power rankings have the Chargers as a top-five team, yet they only are a four-point favorite at home? Phillip Rivers has eight kids, and you think the Chiefs are going to slow him down? HA! HA, I SAY. Rivers is two times the man Alex Smith is, and four times the lover. Chargers win big, sneaky Eddie Royal fantasy game, book it.

Pick: Chargers -4

49ers +6.5 at Broncos

I actually am making this pick based primarily for football reasons rather than traditional Peyton hate. The Broncos have not dominated teams on the scoreboard this year. Their first two wins were by one touchdown, and last week before the Aqib Talib pick-six, they were only up seven on the Geno Smith-led Jets. (Sidenote, Talib still is my dude.) The 49ers have won three in a row and it looks like their defense has adjusted to early injuries to the roster. The Broncos can’t really run the ball either, so I expect the Niners to deliver a heavy pass rush. I really wish I was getting a half-point, because I think there is a good chance the stupid Peyton Manning still wins the game. God, he is such a touchdown-throwing ninny muggins.

Pick: 49ERS +6.5

Texans +3.5 at Steelers

I can’t decide whether to stick with the Steelers for another week. Two weeks ago, I called for Antonio Brown to be nicknamed “Nino Brown,” and he hasn’t scored a touchdown since. Then last week I picked them to win, and the Browns dropped chocolate all over them. I really should pick against them this week, especially when they are going up against defensive cyborg J.J. Watt, but I really don’t want to get burned if Ben and Nino have a breakout game. Also, I have real problems with Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s beard. He looks like an embittered veteran of the Confederate Army who just hangs around in the 1870s complaining about how “we used to BUILD things in this country.”  JUST DEAL WITH RECONSTRUCTION RYAN FITZPATRICK AND SHAVE YOUR BEARD.

Pick: Steelers -3.5

Last week: 3-1-1

Season: 18-9-3

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

The Patriots and Jets can’t have a last-second field goal attempt without some controversy.

The Patriots and Jets can’t have a last-second field goal attempt without some controversy.

At the end of Thursday’s game between New England and New York, the Jets lined up for a 58-yard field goal attempt from Nick Folk. The kick was blocked by defensive lineman Chris Jones — who gained a measure of redemption for a penalty he was flagged for last year when he was whistled for a penalty in a similar situation in a Patriots-Jets game. (That opened the door for a late field-goal from Folk to give the Jets an overtime win.)

A video review of the play from Thursday reveals that linebacker Dont’a Hightower approached the line of scrimmage shortly before the snap and attempted to stand just over Jets long snapper Tanner Purdum. According to the rules — specifically, Rule 9-1-3(a) — this is a five-yard penalty. Moments later, an official appeared to ease Hightower out of the area, grabbing his arm and moving him outside of Purdum’s shoulder pads where he would have been penalized.

This has raised the ire of some Jets fans, who believe the Patriots should have been penalized and Folk been given another chance at what would have been a 53-yard field goal. However, a league official told Pro Football Talk Friday morning that the maneuvering by the official in that situation is fairly common.

“It is a standard officiating procedure that occurs regularly,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said by e-mail.  “€œIn fact, it is on [NFL V.P. of officiating] Dean Blandino’€™s video that went to the teams [Thursday] and will be on the version of it that goes to the media [Friday].”

That was echoed by many of Twitter Friday morning.

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

[0:01:00] ... terrible speaking of that we are both in on the scrum with Vince Wilfork. Patriots defense -- tackle and defensive captain one of those remaining after the injury to Jerod Bailey was placed on injured reserve ...
[0:07:15] ... more time to do all of that. As they next play the Chicago Bears a week from Sunday here at Gillette Stadium game two of a three game homestand. And that of course ends with game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. That's getting ahead of ourselves the patriots have some well deserved time off after a 2725. Win. Over the York jets here ...

FOXBORO — In the end, there were no receptions — or interceptions — from Darrelle Revis Thursday night. Only a win over his old team.