- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2016

RICHMOND — NFL referee Clete Blakeman and crewmates Adrian Hill and Ramon George were on hand at Redskins training camp Monday to review the adopted rule changes and points of emphasis for the season.

The officials were on the field with the team during walkthrough and practice and met with players and coaches Monday night. They will also be on the field on Tuesday.

Among the most significant rule changes this upcoming season is that a player will be ejected if he is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. Those fouls include, as stated in the NFL rule book: Throwing a punch, or a forearm, or kicking at an opponent, even though no contact is made; using abusive, threatening, or insulting language or gestures to opponents, teammates, officials, or representatives of the league; and using baiting or taunting acts or words that engender ill will between teams.

Blakeman said officials will clearly announce during the game on their microphone when a player has been penalized for such an infraction and when the next will constitute an ejection.

All chop blocks are also illegal and will result in a 15-yard penalty whether they occur on rushing plays, passing plays or kicks. In the past, chop blocks were legal for adjacent offensive linemen on running plays.

“Officials on the field are all happy to see the chop-block change made,” Blakeman said. “That’s one of those techniques once we started emphasizing player safety, thought it would eventually come and it did come this year.”


SEE ALSO: Training camp observations: Stephen Paea shows strength in pass-rush drills


The other major change is the amendment to the horse-collar tackle. Previously, a defender was penalized 15 yards if he tackled a ball carrier by the inside of his pads around the neck area. That rule has been extended to include the nameplate and top of the shoulders. If a quarterback is still in the pocket or a ball carrier is within the tackle box, the nameplate adjustment does not apply.

Among other rule changes this season, touchbacks will now be placed at the 25-yard line, not the 20. Officials will also emphasize pre-snap movement on the offensive line. In previous years, a center could adjust the football prior to the snap. Now, Blakeman said once the entire offensive line is set, any abrupt or quick movements will result in a false start. Blakeman said officials will also emphasize maximum protection for quarterbacks when they slide feet first and no contact to the head will be permitted.

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