Earlier this week, New York Jets defensive lineman Calvin Pace said that the no-huddle offense run by the New England Patriots is "borderline illegal," and Pace's primary coach has taken that notion to a new level. With the Jets and Pats matching wits this afternoon, New York defensive coordinator Mike Pettine wants the NFL to know that New England's dizzying offense has the refs looking the other way when they shouldn't.
"It's going to be a major point of contention before [our] game with the officials to make sure that they know the rule is when they substitute, we're permitted to substitute," Pettine told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News on Friday.
"If the officials permit [the Patriots] to do that, then the game is going to become chaos. That's the problem. Because we're going to be running guys on. We need to make sure that that is enforced for this game, because we found examples on tape where it has not been. Then it's impossible. Now you can't defend it."
Pettine does have a point, and he's not blaming the Patriots for running an offense that allowed them to run 473 plays through six full weeks, by far the highest total in the NFL. He would like the officials to follow the league's Rule 5, Section 2, Article 10:
"If a substitution is made by the offense, the offense shall not be permitted to snap the ball until the defense has been permitted to respond with its substitutions. . . . The offense is prohibited from rushing quickly to the line of scrimmage and snapping the ball in an obvious attempt to cause a defensive foul (i.e. — too many men on the field). . . . The umpire will stand over the ball until the Referee deems that the defense has had a reasonable time to complete its substitutions."
The specific issue the Jets have is that the Pats are allowed to move different personnel in and out in rapid-fire fashion, and defenses aren't allowed to specifically respond with their own new groupings.
"I'm all for the no-huddle and one grouping," Pettine said. "Whoever you put out there, you better be prepared to go through a whole series and be out there for a while. And that's fine. When they change, we need to be given the right to change . . . and we're going to make sure that right is given to us."
Here's the problem with that notion, as sensible as it may seem. The official leading the Patriots-Jets crew is none other than ... Jeff Triplette.
We'll save you a re-run of Triplette's greatest hits, except to summarize them in this post from last Monday, when Triplette called a couple of really weird false starts against San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, and say that putting Triplette in charge of such complicated issues ... well, it's not a good idea. We can't wait to see how Deputy Dawg jumbles this one up.