The return of the veteran officials in Week 4 will come with many questions over how quickly the refs will get back into football form.
Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman told “NFL AM” Thursday morning he has faith the referees will be ready to work from the first whistle.
“I think that the rust will shake off pretty quickly,” he said. “I think that they will be ok to make some calls.”
The outrage after Monday night’s controversial call in the Packers-Sehawks game was one impetus behind ending the lockout, but Tillman said he thought the replacement refs performed adequately.
“ I can only speak for me personally, I felt like in the preseason I got a couple of bad calls, but during season, these first three games, I feel like, me personally, I think they called it both ways, from a defensive back standpoint,” he said.
Defensive pass interference was one of the most inconsistent calls in the first three weeks of the season and many offenses felt like defensive backs took advantage of the refs reluctance to call contact plays.
Tillman said his one qualm with the replacements was their lack of communication with the players.
“They really didn’t do a good job of explaining why they threw flags,” said the 10-year pro. “I had to walk a guy down one time and ask him why didn’t he throw a flag, in the preseason. I had one guy, I think it was our first game we played Indy, he gave me a warning to tell my defense line ‘hey tell your d-line they are right on that edge of being offsides.’ Other than that that was the only things that the refs ever said, they were just kind of out there, kind of quiet.”
Coming into Thursday night’s game on such short notice, Tillman believes both the veteran refs and players will have to adjust quickly to the game.
“I think they’ll have to go through an adjustment pretty quickly, us as players will have to get used to them calling the game as its used to being called,” he said.
That would imply, as we all witnessed, calls weren’t being made in the normal fashion the first three weeks.