The Cowboys and Titans complained last weekend about the simulation of snap counts by the defenses of the Redskins and Broncos, respectively. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday that the league has reminded all teams that such conduct is forbidden.
“That notice came out from the league this week, so I know that the league is looking at it,” Jones told KRLD-FM, via Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. “We in general though are approaching it, we’ve just got to make it work. We’ve got to get in here and have our count and have our snaps and not make it a point of concern for our quarterback and certainly not make it a point of concern for the game, because those are like turnovers and can be turnovers and do stop drives.”
The problem, as former NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira pointed out during an appearance this week on PFT Live, is that the movement of the umpire from his former position behind the defensive line to a new position behind the offense leaves no official in position to hear what the defensive linemen may be saying to prompt offensive linemen to jump early — or to trick the center into snapping the ball in shotgun formation before the quarterback is ready for it.
The umpire returns to his traditional position in the final five minutes of each half. For the other 50 minutes of each game, however, there’s currently no effective way of catching culprits along the defensive line.
As a result, offensive teams will have to figure out how to deal with it.
“There’s been noise on the line of scrimmage in the NFL since Pudge Heffelfinger was around,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Thursday, via MacMahon. “So, that’s how it works. We just have to understand what the issues are there and we have to focus on whose voices we’re listening to and just get locked in and snap the ball the way it needs to be snapped.”
For Cowboys center Phil Costa, who apparently was duped multiple times by former Cowboys and current Redskins defensive lineman Stephen Bowen on Monday night, that’s apparently far easier said than done.