NFL meetings notebook: Coaches say they even scout officials
Coaches scout officials' tendencies along with examinations of opponents
The NFL will be celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the AFL this season
Chargers' Jeromey Clary was the big winner in performance-based pay system
DANA POINT, Calif. (AP) -- Mike Pereira is well aware the NFL teams scout his officials' tendencies along with their examinations of opponents.
Pereira, who plans to retire at the end of the year as the league's director of officiating, said Tuesday it was part of the football business to cover all angles.
"You scout your opponents and you do the same with officials," Pereira said at the league meetings. "I think it's a shame, but they do look at things. How many holding calls or roughing-the-passer calls are made.
"Over the 15 games our officials have [to work], it should even up."
Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio admitted the Jaguars do their homework on officiating crews.
"They are human beings. We all have tendencies," Del Rio said. "Certainly we want to have an idea of the tendencies of the play-caller on the other sideline, so we want to have an idea of the tendency of the crew we're going to see."
Asked for examples of when that paid off, Del Rio smiled and demurred.
"No. I'm not going to get into specific stuff," he said.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher, a longtime co-chairman of the competition committee, praised Pereira and the officiating in general.
Clearly I'm close to it. I've seen nothing but improvement since Mike Pereira has taken over," Fisher said. "He's working towards consistency. We're always going to have questions, debatable calls. That's the human element of the game. They're going to make mistakes. I make mistakes. That's the way it is.
"But we've seen nothing but more and more consistency year in and year out in that department."
Recalling The AFL
The 50-year anniversary doesn't really occur until 2010, but the NFL will be celebrating the birth of the American Football League during the upcoming season.
On opening weekend, ESPN will televise a Monday night doubleheader featuring four original members of the AFL. Buffalo will visit New England in a 7 p.m. EDT game, followed by San Diego at Oakland at 10:15 p.m.
During what the NFL is terming "Legacy Games," original AFL teams will wear historic uniforms.
The other AFL originals are the Jets, who at first were the New York Titans; the Chiefs, who were the Dallas Texans before moving to Kansas City in 1962; and the Denver Broncos.
The AFL began play in 1960 and forced a merger in 1966. In 1970, 10 AFL teams were absorbed into the NFL -- Cincinnati and Miami were AFL expansion teams in the 1960s.
Chargers tackle Jeromey Clary was the big winner in the NFL's performance-based pay system for 2008
Clary, a 2006 sixth-round draft pick from Kansas State, earned $405,859 in additional pay for his work with 8-8 San Diego. Clary was one of the few decent starters on an underachieving line last year.
Nearly $105 million in performance-based pay was distributed for last season. Created as part of the 2002 collective bargaining agreement extension with the NFL Players Association, the system gives financial compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary.
Second on the list was Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein, who earned an extra $38,134, followed by Redskins safety Chris Horton ($342,197), Saints guard Carl Nicks ($335,033), and Browns cornerback Brandon McDonald (329,803).
Steelers tackle Willie Colon, who led the list a year ago with $309,534, was 16th this time at $267,422.
In all, 19 teams had players collect from the pool. The Steelers, Falcons, Bucs, Panthers and Dolphins had two each.
Maybe Dick Jauron is wearing rose-colored glasses these days, but the Buffalo Bills coach is seeing only the positive side of adding Terrell Owens to his team.
Owens was cut by Dallas earlier this month and, a few days later, the brilliant but troublesome wide receiver wound up in Buffalo -- with a raise. Jauron sees Owens bringing potency to a struggling offense.
"When he came available it was unexpected, so we met quickly and started talking about it," Jauron said. "What I said was, I'll tell you just one thing to start off with, I'd rather play with him than against him because I've played against him and it's not fun. Defensively, you are game-planning a good deal for that guy. You don't like the matchups.
"He's just a big, physical receiver. When you line up and people want to defend us and they respect Lee Evans -- he's got great speed on the other side -- what are they going to do? If you can't run the ball effectively, then their options expand. We feel like we can run it effectively.
"So he brings a lot. It's hard to score and we just need to score more points. The guy gets into the end zone."
Jauron cited T.O's number from last year of 69 catches for 1,052 yards and 10 TDs. He didn't mention the discord Owens has caused in his previous homes: San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas.
"I don't see it as a great risk," he said. "I'll go back to the three numbers.
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