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Mike Pereira says illegal contact, defensive holding will be points of emphasis in 2014

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FOX Sports referee analyst Mike Pereira tweeted that illegal contact and defensive holding are among several points of emphasis for the 2014 season.

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FOX Sports analyst, and former NFL VP of Officiating, Mike Pereira had some interesting tweets last night while in attendance at the league's officiating clinic. Pereira mentioned various areas where the league would have "points of emphasis" for the 2014 season. A "point of emphasis" is basically taking an existing rule and doing a better job of enforcing it to the letter of the law.

I retweeted the first tweet with a mention of Richard Sherman, and naturally that got people asking about it. The Seattle Seahawks secondary can get incredibly physical, and there has been plenty of talk about the referees keeping a closer eye on them. All teams get away with some degree of physical play in their secondary, but it seems at times like the Seahawks push the limits of the rules as much as they can.

Personally, if you can get away with it, more power to you, but it will be interesting to see how much this impacts the Seahawks. The Seattle Times mentioned the Seahawks in connection with this, but Mike Pereira did have an interesting tweet:

This certainly does not mean the Seahawks don't get away with illegal contact and defensive holding, but given all the talk about the Seahawks, I would have thought they might show some of their work. We'll see how this plays out in 2014.

Here is a look at the illegal contact and defensive holding penalties from the NFL rule book:

Section 4 - Legal and Illegal Contact With Eligible Receivers

LEGAL CONTACT WITHIN FIVE YARDS
Article 1 - Legal Contact Within Five Yards.Within five yards of the line of scrimmage, a defensive player may chuck an eligible receiver in front of him. The defender is allowed to maintain continuous and unbroken contact within the five-yard zone, so long as the receiver has not moved beyond a point that is even with the defender.

ILLEGAL CONTACT WITHIN FIVE YARDS
Article 2 - Illegal Contact Within Five Yards. Within the five-yard zone, if the player who receives the snap remains in the pocket with the ball, a defender may not make original contact in the back of a receiver, nor may he maintain contact after the receiver has moved beyond a point that is even with the defender.

ILLEGAL CONTACT BEYOND FIVE-YARD ZONE
Article 3 - Illegal Contact Beyond Five-Yard Zone. Beyond the five-yard zone, if the player who receives the snap remains in the pocket with the ball, a defender may use his hands or arms only to defend or protect himself against impending contact caused by a receiver. If the receiver attempts to evade the defender, the defender cannot initiate contact that redirects, restricts, or impedes the receiver in any way.

INCIDENTAL CONTACT BEYOND FIVE-YARD ZONE
Article 4 - Incidental Contact Beyond Five-Yard Zone. Beyond the five-yard zone, incidental contact may exist between receiver and defender as long as it does not materially affect or significantly impede the receiver, creating a distinct advantage.

DEFENSIVE HOLDING
Article 6 - Defensive Holding. It is defensive holding if a player grasps an eligible offensive player (or his jersey) with his hands, or extends an arm or arms to cut off or encircle him.