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O’Brien Doesn’t Understand “Emphasis” On Illegal Contact, Defensive Holding Rules

By Matt Hammond, Sports Radio 610
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Bill O’Brien gets almost everything about the NFL’s emphasis on more strictly enforcing its illegal contact and defensive holding rules this season.

Everything but that “emphasis” part.

“When they say, We’re putting an emphasis on something, isn’t it a rule?’ O’Brien said on Sunday. “So, like, what are we emphasizing one rule over another rule, or this rule gets emphasized? I think it’s a rule.

“I just, sometimes I don’t understand, We’re emphasizing this. Well, it’s a rule. So if you break the rule, they’re going to call it.”

The Houston Texans head coach was initially asked about the five combined illegal contact and defensive holding flags thrown against his team in its 32-7 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday, and said he thought they were fair.

“I think those were penalties,” he said. “I felt like those were calls.”

Cornerback Brandon Harris, safety Eddie Pleasant and defensive end Lawrence Sidbury were each docked once for defensive holding, as were cornerbacks Josh Victorian and A.J. Bouye for illegal contact.

O’Brien’s an intriguing take, and a creative way for him to speak on the subject without drawing a fine from the league office. But the point the NFL is trying to make is that said rules, which have always been rules, haven’t been policed on the field to its liking.

Hence, the added focus.

O’Brien said he’s going to try to continue to coach up his players to play within the new emphasis of the same-old rule, however little sense it makes to him.

“I think our guys throughout the game tried to play it the right way and we’ve got to show it to ‘em on tape and show them ways that they can prove their technique,” he said. “Some of them were double move type routes that we’ve got to do a better job of playing, other routes were ones where they were after five yards and we contacted them, which you really — that’s the rule, you cannot do that. So, we show it to them on tape and try to get it better this week.”

Hear Matt weekends on Sports Radio 610

Follow him on Twitter @MattHammondShow

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