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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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August 1, 2008 1:59 PM

Meeting with the officials

Posted by Jose Romero

The Seahawks beat writers just met with some NFL officials who are in camp to work practices and who will work the scrimmage tomorrow at Qwest Field. Referee Peter Morelli, head linesman George Hayward, back judge Kirk Dornan and first-year side judge Greg Wilson showed a video outlining the officials' points of emphasis this season. Highlights:

-The force-out rule on catches will no longer be enforced. It's an incomplete pass unless the receiver gets both feet inbounds first or is ruled to be carried out after making the catch clearly inbounds.

-No more 5-yard facemask penalties. All are 15 yards.

-The defense can now have a player wear a speaker in his helmet, just like a quarterback, to hear signals. One starter and one backup can do so but cannot be on the field at the same time and must report themselves to the referee.

-A snap untouched is ruled as a backward pass and can be advanced as a fumble. All muffed handoffs and forward handoffs that are fumbled can be advanced by the defense if it recovers.

-Teams who win the opening coin toss can now choose to defer their option to kick or receive to the start of the second half, just like in college.

-An offensive player who sticks his arm out can make contact with a defender's facemask, but if he grabs it it is a 15-yard penalty. Officials will be watching this more closely.

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Posted by No.12

3:46 AM, Aug 02, 2008

Regarding the force-out, isn't catching a ball clearly inbounds but being carried out before getting both feet down a force-out? Thus, this really hasn't changed in my opinion, more just an emphasis on calling it correctly (as opposed to making the catch while being carried out)?

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