NFL to emphasize holding, eliminate lobster blocks?

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - NFL officials are coming to Green Bay next week for the joint practices and preseason game with the Texans. And they will bring with them a message for offensive linemen: stop holding so much. But according to players, holding is a matter of perspective.

New Packers guard Billy Turner: “I don't hold; I know the majority of offensive linemen don't hold.”

Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark: “You know they hold us every play.”

See the problem? Well, at least for now, the NFL is siding with Kenny. The league is telling teams they are going to strictly enforce existing offensive holding rules this season.

“Every time they say that, I always think back to we had a preseason game, I think it was like 2014 against the Rams,” Packers guard Lane Taylor reminisced this week. “And that is when they first did the hands to the face thing and there were like 20 penalties thrown on it, it was insane.”

It wasn’t quite 20, but there were 14 holding calls in that game and 7 hands to the face calls. So you get the idea.

Now the NFL is trying to eliminate when linemen grab the defender around the shoulders or torso to eliminate backside pursuit. It’s called a lobster block. Turner and left tackle David Bakhtiari had never heard of a lobster block. Taylor had, but insists he doesn’t use it, not his style. But typically when the league emphasizes a rule, flags fly in the preseason and early in the regular season. So will that force players to change their approach?

“I think a lot of offensive linemen are going to make them force us to change our techniques, if that's the way it's going to be and going to go,” said Turner.

Bakhtiari will stick to what he already knows. “The rule of thumb is this: If your feet are beat and you are still holding onto the player, so he gets outside your framework, that's holding; simple as that. Keep your feet with the guy and you can do whatever the hell you want because that's football.”