|Titans coach Mike Munchak says he's glad he won't be asked about replacement refs any more. (AP)|
Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, a former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, has an inordinate amount of respect for officials.
As a graduate assistant at Connecticut in the early 1970s, Palmer supplemented his income in the offseason by officiating basketball. Palmer said Thursday that most people don't appreciate the work done by officials off the field in preparation for a game.
“They see them on a Sunday when they put their [game time] in, but I would say knowing several officials personally, those guys put in 60 to 80 hours a week evaluating film, looking at the game they just did [and] getting their critique from New York,” Palmer said. “I don't think people realize how hard they work.”
Here's more reaction from Titans coaches and players on the return of the regular officials:
Coach Mike Munchak: “[I'm glad] because it will be the last time I'll be asked the question,” Munchak said. “Now it'll be, ‘What do you think of them being back?' I think it's good to have everything in order and have everyone back at their jobs. This way we can just go play football.”
“I don't think they [the replacements] let things go. I just think they couldn't see as much,” Munchak said. “I think it's just a matter of the more you do something, the better your vision gets.”
“When you play football and you're a quarterback, defensive back, tight end, you see more,” Munchak said. “The more you play, the game slows down. I think it's the same for an official. The guys that are coming back have done this many times before. They see the game at a different pace, and they know kind of what they're looking for. I think that was a disadvantage for the other guys.”
Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray on an apparent illegal pick by Chargers WR Eddie Royal on LB Akeem Ayers on a 31-yard catch by TE Ladarius Green in Week 2: “In San Diego, I think 56 (Ayers) got the crap knocked out of him on one crossing route,” Gray said. “You don't have to look far. If you look at enough film, you'll see that there was some illegal stuff that was going on.”
WR Kendall Wright on whether there will be stricter enforcement of defensive holding going forward: “The DBs are going to hold regardless, even if the refs are watching,” Wright said. “Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don't. I have seen the replacement refs make some bad calls. I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad until I watched the Green Bay-Seattle game.”
RB Chris Johnson on the effect the replacements officials had on him: “I feel I have way bigger problems than that,” said Johnson, who has 45 yards on 33 carries this season.
Other Notes ...
Picking your poison against the Texans' offense: The Titans will face a difficult conundrum Sunday against the Texans, when the linebackers must prevent long runs on cutbacks without over-running the play on play-action fakes. In last season's 41-7 loss, Texans RB Arian Foster leaked out of the backfield on a play fake and found himself wide open for a 78-yard touchdown on a throwback along the left sideline.
Proper eye positioning will be critical, Gray added.
“If you have great eyes, you have a chance to win,” Gray said. “You have to keep your eyes on your man if you're in man-to-man. If you're playing zone, you have to stay in your area because they will test you. If the guy leaks out and you don't cover it, guess what? You'll probably see that play again and it'll end up being a touchdown.”
Britt update: Wide receiver Kenny Britt (ankle) missed practice for the second straight day. It appears Britt will be doubtful for the Texans game. “If I can't push off of it, I won't play,” Britt said. “If I can't push off like I want to on it, I'm going to aggravate it even more.”
Linebacker Colin McCarthy (ankle) missed practice and will likely be out for his third straight game.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Tennessee Titans, follow Matt Rybaltowski @CBSTitans.