Chargers head coach Brandon Staley saw the costly taunting penalty against the Eagles on Thursday Night Football and was reminded of how tough it is to ask players to restrain themselves during emotional moments in big games.
Staley said he understands why the league has cracked down on taunting, but he knows it isn’t always easy for players to comply.
“I know that Philly had one late that was really tough,” Staley said. “I understand the emphasis of the NFL. I also think that it’s really tough to legislate emotion in a game that’s full of it. I don’t have a perfect answer. I just know that it’s tough on these players. It’s tough on them. They have a really, really difficult job. It’s a game that’s based on the energy and emotion of competition, 22 guys going at it, a stadium full of 80,000 people. I think it’s very challenging, I really do. My side is with the players, always. But, what we have to do, the best we can, is to show our players the examples of when it isn’t the right thing. Normally, it’s when you just want to be with your teammates. When you get into that one-on-one situation, or you’re going at somebody else, that’s normally when it happens. Just have to try to do your best. It’s not easy. If it was easy, then you wouldn’t see as many penalties as there are. We’ll just see. We’ll continue to try to make that a point of emphasis.”
The reaction from players and fans to the NFL’s decision to crack down on taunting has been largely negative, but coaches understand that whether they like the rules or not, they need to make sure their players follow the rules.