Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Too Much Laundry

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Too Much Laundry

Article excerpt

Giants cornerback Walter Thurmond III got everything he was expecting Saturday night.

Well, almost everything.

The Steelers faced a third-and-3 from the Giants 7 and Ben Roethlisberger looked to the end zone for receiver Lance Moore, whose crossing route brought him directly to Thurmond, who locked in and forced an incomplete pass with what he believed was technically- sound coverage.

It was the key play in helping hold Pittsburgh's first-team offense to a field goal.

Yet even before the football hit the MetLife Stadium turf, Thurmond caught himself turning around in anticipation of something else: a penalty flag that never came.

"The ref came to me and was like, 'You know, I could've got you for holding,' but I wasn't holding," Thurmond said after the Giants' 20-16 preseason victory over Pittsburgh. "He's running into me. He's creating the contact, my hands are off and I had tight coverage. So it's like, I can't have tight coverage, or you're gonna throw a flag on me because my coverage is tight. I don't know. It's an offensive league now and it's really putting the defensive players in a bind.

"Now we're kind of playing it like, once the play goes on and the ball is thrown, you're looking for the ref to see if there's a flag somewhere. I mean, that's how we're playing now. You just don't know what they're gonna call because everything is based off of judgment and opinion of the referees."

In their visits to training camps this year, NFL officials have been speaking to players, coaches and the media about new rules and "points of emphasis" regarding an attempt to eliminate downfield contact by defensive backs against wide receivers.

Despite winning both of their games to start the preseason with the first-team defense not allowing a touchdown, the Giants have erred with far too much laundry on the field.

They've been hit with 11 penalties in pass coverage - two have been declined - and Tom Coughlin has taken note. …

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