As the first full Sunday of the 2023 season looms, there’s a very real question as to whether Thursday night’s inexplicable failure to persistently flag Chiefs right tackle Jawaan Taylor for false starts was an aberration or the start of a trend.
Or the continuation of a pattern.
On Friday’s PFT Live, Peter King suggested that, this week, the NFLs officiating department will send a note to all crews regarding the Taylor situation, with a reminder that such activities (lining up too deep in the backfield, having the Jimmy legs before the snap, and/or starting into pass-block set early) are both frowned up and should be flagged.
But here’s the deeper question. Does 345 Park Avenue want such behavior to be penalized? Giving the tackles a way to better prepare for an edge-rush onslaught helps keep the passing game going. It also helps keep quarterbacks in one piece.
And the league fully and completely appreciates the connection between keeping quarterbacks healthy and generating massive ratings for games.
Keep an eye on it this weekend. Especially in the Eagles-Patriots game at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday. Philly right tackle Lane Johnson has mastered the art of the early start. Will he still be allowed to do it? Will it be flagged?
Given the NFL’s obvious sensitivity to the issue of quarterback safety, it’s safe to assume that the league office will be inclined to look the other way on the officials looking the other way on obvious pre-snap fouls by NFL offensive tackles.