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NFL referees discuss offensive holding calls on Saturday conference call

The new pass interference officiating rules in the NFL have been all the talk through the first two weeks, raising lots of questions going forward.

The huge jump in offensive holding calls over the first 33 games of the 2019 regular season was a topic of conversation in a Saturday night conference call between referees and NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron.

There were 10 offensive holding calls during Thursday night’s game between the Jaguars and Titans and 178 calls over the first two weeks of the regular season. That’s a 66 percent jump over last year and it comes after making backside holding an offseason point of emphasis.

In particular, officials were told to watch for “lobster blocks” that see linemen on the backside of running plays wrap their arms around defensive players.

Riveron confirmed the call to John Parry of ESPN and told referees that offensive linemen need to move their blocks inside the defender’s frame. He also “counseled them to allow for more time to get the block inside the frame before throwing a flag,” so we’ll see if that leads to a drop in the number of holding calls during Sunday’s games.