NFL treats officials as disposable


NFL treats officials as disposable

Finally, a rooting interest for the upcoming NFL season has revealed itself.

In the first two weeks, each team loses one game directly because a replacement officiating crew makes a obviously hideous call. That is to say, nobody is happy as quickly as possible.

According to reports, the NFL and its officials are so far apart on a new deal that no settlement seems likely until the season begins. And given what we know about the new emboldened owners, theyll happily sacrifice the games for a principle.

In this case, less security and money for the officials.

Oh, the argument is about other things as well the league wants to add three extra crews, and one full-time crew, presumably for leverage, especially against its older whistles but mostly its about money. And their philosophy about money.

And to save that money, the owners are willing to put a dent in a new season one more tribute to their actual respect for the product. In short, they know youll watch anyway, and they already have most of the TV and ticket money, so theyre basically dismissing the sport to fuel their need to remind the labor force just how replaceable it is.

And thats the philosophy behind the money.

There were no egregiously bad calls in Mondays Dallas-Oakland game, largely because there werent any deeds in Mondays Dallas-Oakland game. But August football isnt the important product. August football is for people who admit they have a problem and decide they dont care. September is when it matters, and when leaks are allowed to make sure the word gets out that the two sides are far apart, that word is to remind everyone how little the officials truly matter in the eyes of the owners.

So a gentle reminder of the difference between NFL quality and non-NFL quality needs to be delivered. Hence, the distribution of officiating mistakes that outrage everyone.

If everyone gets hosed once, theyll know that a game has been taken that cant be retrieved. If everyone gets hosed once, theyll be able to speak up and remind the people that provide the games that there actually is a minimum entertainment standard the league must meet.

If everyone gets hosed once, theyll know that professionals arent as disposable as theyd like them to be.

Will, they learn this? Probably not. The modern sports owner has largely concluded that the games are really first and foremost about them and their needs. It is why the NBA gave up two months of last season, and why the NHL is likely to do the same, and why the NFL played the brinkmanship game with the players union so well that the union is now suing to try and attack parts of the deal they themselves signed.

This is the moment where they send a message to the officials that they are lucky to have jobs, and that they will be treated not as professionals but as freelancers, no more a part of the game than a hammer is to a house. So the NFL should get what it's willing to pay for games that end in chaos, players, coaches and fans enraged at what has happened to the sport.

Or they can go out and bring family and friends and do it themselves. Apparently they can use the extra money a game check will provide.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved


Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ passing game has ranked 29th or lower in each of the past four seasons.

If two practices against last year’s No. 1-ranked pass defense are any indication, the 49ers could be vastly improved under coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brian Hoyer.

“I think our guys were expecting to do good,” Shanahan said on Thursday after a second joint practice against the Denver Broncos in two days. “There’s a lot of stuff we can clean up. A lot of stuff we can do better. But I think our guys were happy with how they competed and, hopefully, that can continue to carry over.”

Hoyer hit more higher-percentage passes on Thursday. He teamed up with rookie Victor Bolden on his deepest completion -- down the left sideline against first-team All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris. After completing better than 80 percent of his passes against the Broncos a day earlier, Hoyer was 12 of 19 passing on Thursday.

Pierre Garçon, who figures to be Hoyer’s top target, was not as active during Thursday’s practice. But he did find himself in the middle of the action with a tussle against Harris.

Hoyer’s red-zone pass intended for slot receiver Jeremy Kerley was tipped and intercepted by safety Justin Simmons. Away from the action, Aqib Talib blocked Garçon, who retaliated by tossing him to the ground.

“That’s part of the game,” Garçon said. ‘You always expect one scuffle in joint practices. But it ended and you move on. It was nothing personal at all.”

Hoyer was especially sharp during the practices to strengthen his grasp on the team’s staring job. Meanwhile, rookie C.J. Beathard had a solid showing on Thursday. He will enter Saturday’s game after Hoyer and could play through the rest of the first half and open the third quarter.

The 49ers exited the field after their two most-significant practices feeling optimistic about where things stand.

“We did good the first day,” Garçon said. “We could’ve done better the second day. But we’re still learning each other and getting better. We still have a lot to do to get ready for the regular season, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

--Linebacker Reuben Foster wore shoulder pads and took part in all but the contact drills due to what the team described as a “mild AC joint sprain” of his right shoulder. That did not prevent Foster from getting into the middle of a skirmish that appeared to involve Broncos tackle Menelik Watson and 49ers linebacker Eli Harold.

The 49ers expect Foster to play Saturday night, Shanahan said.

--Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was pulled from practice on Thursday after experiencing soreness in his shoulder. Shanahan said Bowman's shoulder soreness is similar to what Foster experienced.

--The Broncos’ offense, which struggled to complete passes on Wednesday, made a lot more plays down the field on Thursday with Paxton Lynch at quarterback.

--Tight end Vance McDonald made an outstanding catch of a Hoyer pass at the sideline against tight coverage from safety Will Parks.

--The 49ers’ practice Thursday brought an official end to the team’s training camp. They will transition to a regular-season type of schedule next week leading up to the team’s third exhibition game, which is scheduled for Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings.

“Training camp is over, and what that means is we’re not all staying in dorms together and we’re not having night walk-throughs,” Shanahan said.

49ers making a quarterback change for preseason game vs Broncos


49ers making a quarterback change for preseason game vs Broncos

C.J. Beathard will be the No. 2 quarterback against the Broncos on Saturday night, Kyle Shanahan announced on Thursday.

In the team's first exhibition game in Kansas City, Matt Barkley was the No. 2 QB behind Brian Hoyer.

Barkley completed 10 of 17 passes for 168 yards against the Chiefs.

Beathard went 7 for 11 with 101 yards and two touchdowns.

The 49ers traded up in the 2017 draft and selected Beathard in the third round (104th overall).