NFL Exec VP/Football Operations Ray Anderson yesterday said that he “believes there is little chance of a quick settlement with the locked-out officials and that the season will begin with replacements,” according to Bob Glauber of NEWSDAY. Anderson said that the NFL is “pressing forward with plans to use replacement officials.” Anderson: "I would anticipate that it would go into the regular season, unless the parties get back to the table in a hurry. And frankly, I don't see either of us stepping forward and making that move.” He sounded an “ominous note when he said the league is prepared to dig in for a long time if there is no resolution.” The 136 replacements refs, who “come from non-Division I college football leagues, are scheduled to meet with the NFL's officiating department” today and tomorrow at a clinic in Dallas. Glauber notes coaches and players have “criticized the replacements for missing calls, but Anderson believes the group has performed reasonably well.” He is “confident they will do an adequate job in the regular season if the work stoppage is not over by then.” Anderson said that he “doesn't believe players will be at greater risk with the replacements.” He said the league will "make sure there's a diligent environment of health and safety rules and diligent enforcement of (hitting the) quarterback rules." Fox’ Mike Pereira, who previously served as NFL VP/Officiating, yesterday said that he “thinks the replacement officials are overmatched and that using them in the regular season would be a huge problem for the league” (NEWSDAY, 8/21).
SMITH CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY: NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith called the lockout of regular officials "a health and safety" issue for players. Smith, who was at the 49ers training camp yesterday, said, "I've made it abundantly clear in a meeting (with the NFL) not long ago how serious we feel the issue is. It will become more significant as we progress in the season." In San Jose, Cam Inman notes that one 49ers player yesterday said that some replacement officials “are embarrassing themselves.” That player “relayed a story in which he told an official he wasn't at fault on a penalty call.” The official allegedly responded, "Maybe you weren't" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/21). Smith said, "You have guys trained at the speed of this game. The people who understand and are trained about the speed of this game are locked out" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 8/20).
FROM LAST NIGHT’S GAME: ESPN BOSTON’s Mike Reiss reports Patriots coach Bill Belichick “was furious on the sideline after the replacement officials didn't give him the option to accept an offside penalty on a point-after-attempt following the team's second-quarter touchdown.” He had to “run down the sideline and yell to referee Jerry Frump” to explain the rules. Reiss: “This is what has to frustrate coaches like Belichick the most when it comes to replacement officials -- the coaches have enough to worry about with their own teams, they don't need to coach the officials too” (ESPNBOSTON.com, 8/21).