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Thursday, August 21, 2014
Browns could play more press coverage

By Jim Trotter

BEREA, Ohio -- Browns coach Mike Pettine said the playcalling of defensive coordinators could be affected if officials continue to call illegal contact and defensive holding at an unprecedented rate during the regular season.

"You might see more press (coverage) because of it because the penalties are occurring above 5 yards," he said. "If you're sitting back and trying to catch a guy or contact him at the top of his route, that's when a lot of flags are being thrown -- at the top of the route, not necessarily within the first 5 yards."

Pettine said press coverage lends itself to fewer penalties because you're able to get your hands on receivers immediately at the line of scrimmage.

"If you're grabbing, that's a foul. To me, there's no debating that. If there's any form of grab or restrict, that's definitely a foul. (But) when you press, you have to get hands on without grabbing."

Pettine said coaches are anxious to see how officials are going to call games during the season. League figures show penalties are up nearly 44 percent over the same point last year: 756 infractions to 526. Illegal contact or defensive holding have accounted for 134 of the additional 230 infractions.

"I think the league is still in the process of trying to figure out how they want to call it," Pettine said. "We've had some interaction with the league office. We have our weekly routine where we send in plays and we get answers back. I don't want to go into the details of it, but we feel very comfortable with where we are with it based on the results coming back -- what should've been called, what shouldn't have been called. The whole league is curious to see if it's going to drop off."

Interestingly, Pettine said the Browns will monitor not only what's being called, but by whom.

"Will it very greatly by crew?" he said. "A lot of it is so subjective we'll really have to pay attention to each individual crew and how they're calling it. Everybody is a little anxious to see how it plays out."

In other developments: