The Chiefs’ offensive missteps during their 21-20 defeat to the Lions on Thursday night were not solely focused on scoring goals, but also received criticism from both fans and NBC Sports’ broadcast for right tackle Jawaan Taylor’s persistent false starts and illegal formation.
Despite Kansas City’s lack of sacks of Patrick Mahomes in Week 1, Taylor was flagged only once, while replays consistently showed him standing behind the scrimmage line and/or moving before the snap.
CBS Sports rules analyst and former NFL official Gene Steratore told CBSSports.com on Friday that Taylor was “egregiously off” against the Lions, but cautioned that bigger picture errors are more complex.
Steratore pointed out that officials should prepare for matchups between the tackle and pass rushers on Sundays, including situations where Aidan Hutchinson was a strong receiver.
Steratore reminisces about his time officiating when he had to manage the presence of star edge rushers and subpar blockers. He mentioned that having an early or pre-game chat would help facilitate better officing.
He said, “I knew I would have to watch a rookie left tackle between Julius Peppers and Dwight Freeney. You go to the Hall of Famer and say, ‘No helmets on, no hands in the neutral zone today,’ and look at that onesie and you think, man, this rookie is out there dead on the line.
It remains uncertain whether the discussions took place during the Chiefs’ game against the Lions. Although there are some doubts, Steratore acknowledged that Taylor was also playing with the ball. He also believes that more OTs are beating the football in recent years. However, this may not be an accurate reflection of live officiating.
He pointed out that offensive linemen rarely move at the exact time center makes his snap. But if they are timed correctly, viewers will notice a difference in speed and accuracy.
Overall, Steratore is cautious. Week one of the tournament is over, and Thursday’s opener will likely serve as a reminder to officiating teams throughout the league.
He said, “Everybody is moving at a much faster pace.”