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Source: NFL to reflect on passer penalties postseason

The NFL’s competition committee plans to discuss a gross penalty for passers-by after the season amid outrage over two controversial calls in Week 5, a committee member who wished to remain anonymous told ESPN’s Ed Werder.

The Associated Press, which reported earlier Tuesday that the issue will also be discussed next week when the NFL owners meet in New York but the league is not planning rule changes during the season, said the NFL had not given officials direction to stress the rude calls following Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion.

The NFL’s Competitive Committee — made up of six team owners/executives and four head coaches — makes most of the rule change recommendations. Teams can also propose rule changes to be voted on by owners, which requires 24 votes to pass.

One idea that Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones suggested Monday night after being tagged could be to allow video review of roughing calls.

Another committee member, who wished to remain anonymous, admitted to Werder that screening would be helpful for rough calls, but wasn’t sure if the league would be interested in using the screening procedure for personal fouls. The NFL experimented with pass interference call screening during the 2019 season, but scrapped the initiative after one season.

“Well, the difficult part is that because we don’t have a real standard for what a rough passing looks like, we always get a wide range of what a referee decides what is and isn’t a foul,” the committee said- Member of Werder. “The only way to rectify this is to have a ‘review process’ for personal fouls. We might even need to do that for OPI and DPI. These are big fouls that have repercussions and can change the game if fouled or not, but I don’t know if those in power would want this ‘review process’ for personal fouls or not.”

Quarterback protection is a priority for owners who pay big bucks for the faces of their franchises. 25 QBs make at least $25 million this season.

The questionable call against Jones — the second in two days — nearly cost Kansas City its 30-29 comeback win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Chiefs had just scored to reduce their lead to 17-7 when Jones pulled out Raiders quarterback Derek Carr from behind just before halftime. The Pro Bowl defensive tackle landed on Carr while he also found the ball — replays showed it was clearly loose and Jones recovered cleanly — but umpire Carl Cheffers threw a flag for roughing up the passer.

“The quarterback is in the pocket and he’s in a passing stance. He gets full protection in all aspects of what we’re giving the quarterback in a passing stance,” Cheffers told a pool reporter after the game. “My verdict was that the defender landed on top of him with his full body weight. The quarterback is protected from being tackled at full body weight.”

On Sunday, Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was flagged by umpire Jerome Boger for what appeared to be a harmless sack on Tom Brady. The penalty gave the Buccaneers a first down and allowed them to tick off the clock with a 21-15 win.

Boger made a similarly critical statement late in the fourth quarter of the Ravens-Bills game a week earlier on a game that many also thought didn’t warrant a flag.

Boger claimed another borderline roughing penalty in the Falcons-Buccaneers game when Vita Vea was shoved on Atlanta quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Roughly hitting the passer is the only rule where referees are instructed to play it safe.

The NFL rulebook states, “When in doubt about a roughness call or a potentially dangerous tactic against the quarterback, the umpire should always call the passer roughing.”

Jones, who has been reported nine times in his career for roughing up the passerby, has a solution.

“We need to be able to check it in the dressing room, you know what I mean?” said Jones. “I think that’s the next step for the NFL as a whole. If we want to call it that highly a punishment [of rate]then we need to be able to verify and verify it, because sometimes looks can be deceiving.”

The league has already embarked on this path, making pass failures reviewable for a season after a egregious missed foul late in the fourth quarter of the 2019 NFC Championship Game cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl.

The experiment failed miserably, and the rule was not honored the next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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