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Officials show that they're serious

Mailbag: Refs using preseason to make point about pass-defense penalties

Originally Published: August 10, 2014
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

NFL officials are making their point. The emphasis on cutting down contact by pass defenders after 5 yards is bringing plenty of preseason penalty flags.

In the first 17 preseason games, there were 53 defensive holdings, 27 illegal contacts and 15 pass interference calls. That's almost six pass-defense penalties a game. The plan is for officials to use the preseason to call these penalties often enough to force defenders to make adjustments.

Naturally, the first week of the ...

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