Washington coach Jay Gruden was left scratching his head on Thursday night by two separate instances of the league’s new use of replay review for pass interference penalties.
Gruden was on the wrong side of both pass interference reviews. The first, an offensive pass interference call on Washington receiver Kelvin Harmon, appeared to be a textbook example of why the league decided to allow challenges for pass interference: Just about everyone who saw it thought it was a bad call. But somehow Gruden lost his challenge.
“I need an explanation for that one,” Gruden said. “I don’t know. All I know is I want Kelvin Harmon to do that every time the ball is in the air. That’s why we drafted him because he’s aggressive when the ball in the air. If he can’t do what he did in this game then I don’t know what he can do. I’m going to continue to coach Kelvin Harmon to go up and go get the ball like he did tonight and good things will happen for him. We’ll get the explanation, hopefully.”
The second instance also involved Harmon. This time he made a catch and wasn’t flagged, but Bengals coach Zac Taylor challenged, and the league officiating office ruled that Harmon had committed offensive pass interference. Gruden said he disagreed with that call as well.
Gruden said he wouldn’t do anything differently in the regular season as far as deciding when to challenge a call. But he would like to get a better idea of how the league officiating office is going to rule on pass interference challenges. With the regular season now less than three weeks away, the league needs to get all the kinks worked out.