One longtime veteran said the officiating in camp has been the worst he has seen in many years. Another veteran called the replacement refs "God awful."
"There is a distinct difference between the real guys and these guys," said one player. "This is not good."
Regular game officials have been locked out by the NFL. In their place, the replacement officials are working NFL camps. At this point, replacement officials are doing what their locked out counterparts normally do which is officiate various drills and scrimmages. The results, according to players, have not been good. Players did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals from the NFL and maybe the replacement refs themselves.
Players say the biggest problem are the non-calls especially on passing plays. I've seen some of this myself. Receivers just get yanked down to the ground with no flag. "It's open season on wideouts," said one defensive back, laughing.
New York Daily News writer Ralph Vacchiano, the Giants beat guy, tweeted this on Friday: "Replacement refs are here again. How can you tell? Corey Webster just threw Domenik Hixonto the ground on a pass play. No flag."
That's happening all across camps. The reason for the non-calls, players speculate, is that the replacement officials are scared to make calls and draw attention to themselves.
The problem is, if they're scared to make calls in practice, what will it be like if the lockout went into the regular season?
The league is using retired officials in some cases as replacements. At one camp, there was an official who looked to be, I mean, really, really old. When he tried to run, he could barely move.
This will be interesting.