Report: NFL tells coaches FG safety will be watched closely

ESPN reported that the NFL has distributed a video to all 32 coaches warning them that referees, beginning this weekend, will watch closely for violations of player-safety rules during place kicks.

The announcement came in the days following the "push rule," which was called during the New York Jets' victory over New England Patriots in overtime in Week 7. Jets kicker Nick Folk made the game-winning field goal after receiving a second chance because the Patriots were called for pushing players through the line of scrimmage against linemen on the previous field-goal attempt. As of this season, that is illegal during place kicks.

The "push rule" and the "line-overload rule" were passed during the NFL meetings last March as a way to curtail two tactics that caused a number of injuries to offensive linemen during PATs and field goals. The new rule also made the long snapper a "defenseless player" on such special-team plays until he is upright and able to block.

In the case of last Sunday's call, the referees might have been tipped off by Jets coaches, who saw the Patriots' tendencies on field goals the previous week.

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor

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