Here’s a collection of reactions from Wednesday’s open locker room session in which Washington Redskins players reacted to the return of the regular NFL officials:
“It’s going to be great. Obviously the safety of the players is our main issue. Having those referees back out here with all that experience and knowledge of the game, it’s definitely going to help with that. And that’s really our biggest focus. I’m glad they were able to get a deal done and, we can go out here and play some clean games.”
“Most definitely. You always say you don’t miss something until you go without it. Handling these replacement refs the last couple of weeks has kind of been difficult, frustrating at times, just because they lacked experience, weren’t up to par on a lot of the rules. And having people back that really understand the flow of the game, how it’s played and have 10, 15 years of doing this job is going to be great as far as allowing players to go out there, play at their highest level and go out there and make plays.”
Give refs a free pass this weekend?
“I wouldn’t say a free pass. I mean, they’re professionals. If I miss a week off because of injury and I come back in, I don’t get a free pass. They’ve been doing this long enough that they know their positions, they know the rules. Obviously judgment calls, you never know with those, and you get better with time. But they don’t get a free pass. They need to come out here like professionals, they watched tape, and make good calls.”
“I was surprised that it happened so quickly. I know that there had been a lot of scrutiny, especially after the Monday Night Football game. Even watching it and hearing about it or seeing it on the news and stuff like that. I guess the pressure was on. But definitely excited to have those guys back and I don’t want to say get things back to normal because it’s still football, but I think now the games will be more the tempo that we’ve been used to.”
“I think you better be on your P’s and Q’s this weekend because I don’t think the refs are going to be taking anything. They’re going to be calling everything because they want to make sure that people aren’t saying the same thing about them.”
“I’m excited to finally get our real refs back. There’s not going to be any more speculation in games or stuff like that. It will limit it. No disrespect to the other refs, but some of the stuff was just kind of crazy. It’s something else that we don’t have to worry about.”
Give Ed Hochuli a hug?
“Absolutely. I’m going to bear-hug him, tell him I love him.”
“Football’s a violent sport, man. We’ve got to accept that things may happen, but just the way the games are regulated now, there’s not going to be a lot of people getting out of control, putting hands on refs and stuff like that, players or coaches. I think you’ll see the game come back to form the way it’s supposed to be.”
On replacement officials
“Those guys are asked to do a job, and under the circumstances that they were under, you can’t just sit there and blame those guys and blame those guys. But I am glad that the situation is now under control and we’re ready to play some NFL football.”