Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Del Rio Not Ready to Celebrate Flag Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Del Rio Not Ready to Celebrate Flag Day

Article excerpt

Byline: BART HUBBUCH, The Times-Union

A day after the fact, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio continued to shake his head at the relentless penalty flags that flew from referee Bernie Kukar's crew in a 22-3 victory over Chicago on Sunday.

Kukar's crew called a combined 21 penalties that were accepted, including 13 flags on Chicago. Speaking at his Monday news conference, Del Rio expressed sympathy for the Bears and puzzlement at the officials' quick trigger finger.

Adding to Del Rio's surprise is that Kukar is one of the NFL's senior referees with 21 years of experience.

"They looked like they had a quota that they had to make up," Del Rio joked.

Taking a more serious tone, Del Rio said a review of the film didn't appear to show the kind of sloppy play from both teams that would be expected from so many penalties.

Even the Jaguars' Byron Leftwich was called for seemingly one of the rarest of penalties, a 15-yard facemask penalty by a quarterback.

"For whatever reason, this crew came in here and threw flags everywhere," Del Rio said. "Fortunately, [the Bears] were flagged about twice as often as we were, but I don't like seeing the yellow flags out there."

At one point, Jaguars running back Fred Taylor said he pleaded with Kukar and the other officials to stop calling so many penalties, even though most of the flags benefited Jacksonville.

"I think if you really wanted to find a foul on every play and looked hard for one, you could throw an awful lot of flags," Del Rio said. "[Without so many penalties], I think you get a good, crisp game."


Del Rio is touting defensive tackle John Henderson for his first career Pro Bowl trip after Henderson recorded seven tackles, a tackle for lost yardage and two quarterback pressures against the Bears.

The coaching staff also revised the statistics and gave Henderson credit for a second sack Sunday, which -- if approved by the league -- would increase his team-high total to 5 1/2. …

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