There’s a reason most coaches have made bland “stay in my lane” declarations if they’ve said anything at all about the NFL’s replacement officials.
According to Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com, the league sent out a memo to all clubs with replacement-ref talking points.
“As discussed in our recent oonference calls,” the memo says, “it’s imperative that your entire organization welomes these officials and provides them with an environment that maximizes their training opportunities and encourages their development.”
The memo goes on to say: “Finally, we remind you that club personnel should not engage in public discussions about the lockout. We have attached some talking points for use by owners and a separate set of talking points for use by head coaches, if necessary. If you are asked about the negotiations or the replacement offcials, feel free to refer the question to our office. Please share these expectations with your coaches, players and operations staff so that all may contribute to the success of our officials on the field in 2012.”
As Freeman points out, the memo underscores the idea that the league is in this for the long haul.
We’ll see beginning tonight if their replacements are up to the challenge, or whether the locked-out regulars will gain some leverage when folks begin to see how deep the league’s bench actually is.