Roberto Garza: More leeway with replacement refs?


We're two days away from the first preseason game of the year. That means the wave of criticism of the NFL's replacement officials is on the way.

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In fact, the criticism has already started. The replacements have been traveling around to NFL training camps to help officiate practices. (This is standard procedure.) Folks haven't been impressed with what they have seen.'s Paul Kuharsky called the officials at a Jacksonville Jaguars' practice "pitiful."

One scout told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that the new officials were in "awe" and only made painfully "obvious" calls.

Veteran Chicago Bears offensive lineman Roberto Garza hopes he can hold more.

"They've been around the game," Garza said. "They know what they're doing. But we might be able to get away with more. That would be good for us."

It's far too early to make any judgments about replacement officials. But it's safe to say that the current standoff between the regular officials and the NFL opens the league up to a new and inevitable source of complaints.