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NFL Notebook

Roger Goodell says NFL will look to improve officiating

Uneven performances by officials this season has gotten bad enough that Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league’s competition committee will look into ways to make improvements.L.G. Patterson/AP

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has asked the league’s powerful competition committee to look into how games are officiated, and the size of the rule book.

Goodell said Wednesday that team owners at their meetings discussed the officiating, which is an ‘‘integrity of the game’’ issue.

He has asked the competition committee to look into clarifying and simplifying the rules, as well as how the league trains officials. Goodell says ‘‘no stone will be left unturned’’ in examining and improving officiating.

Goodell added that he has asked various ‘‘football personnel’’ to examine the confusing catch rule in particular.

Goodell said Wednesday that he reached out last month to former players, coaches, general managers and others, ‘‘to come together and try and see if we can study this and come up with proposals for the competition committee to consider.’’


Just what constitutes a completed catch has been a controversial subject for years, particularly involving receptions by Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant last season that were overturned by video review. Goodell wants those people to examine how the play is officiated and coached, and ‘‘how fans react to this.’’

While saying he believed game officials did a good job, Goodell adds it’s important for the NFL to look into using technology for improving officiating. He also said the league has hit a stumbling back with the officials’ union over full-time officials.

The NFL has been plagued by missed or erroneous calls in games this season.

Manning not close

All the speculation over returning Brock Osweiler to his backup role when Peyton Manning gets back could prove a waste of time. Manning isn’t close to being healthy.

The Broncos’ 39-year-quarterback told a select group of news outlets that he has no idea when his injured left foot will improve enough for him to play again.

‘‘That’s so far ahead of what I’m thinking about,’’ Manning said. ‘‘I’m doing what Coach [Gary] Kubiak asked me to do, is to try to get healthy. I’m following his instructions and I look forward to being healthy yesterday, I can assure you. Everybody asks, ‘Is it better? Is it better?’ The answer is: I don’t know because I’m not putting any pressure on it and it’s sort of immobilized. . . . So, all the other questions and speculation, I don’t have anything for you on that.’’


Manning consulted with noted foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina, last week ‘‘and everybody wants to know what did he say? He said I have an injured foot. And everybody says, ‘Well, when did he say you’re going to get better?’ When it heals. You know, some earth-shattering medical information there,’’ Manning said.

Despite the 10 pieces of mail he gets every day with ‘‘solutions and suggestions, some healing medicines, which I appreciate,’’ Manning said Anderson told him ‘‘there’s no magic fix to this, it’s kind of an individual thing.’’

Manning had a walking cast removed Tuesday night and now he’s in a bulkier walking boot until Friday. He said he’ll start his rehab Saturday ‘‘and after that I’m just kind of on a one-week-at-a-time basis.’’

That’s how Osweiler and Kubiak characterized Osweiler’s starting status Wednesday amid talk that the Broncos should stick with the longtime backup with the offense humming along with big wins over Chicago and New England.

Osweiler said he’s not ready to view his starting job as more than a temporary gig.


‘‘You know, I’m not really focused with how long am I going to be the starter? Am I the starter? Am I not the starter?’’ Osweiler said. ‘‘All I know is I’m the starter this week against the Chargers.’’

After practice, Kubiak said nothing’s changed from his perspective: Osweiler’s his quarterback this week and the goal is to try to get Manning healthy and back on the field as soon as possible.

Manning revealed his foot has been bothering him for much of the season, although he declined to say exactly when he first hurt it, suggesting ‘‘timelines and all that are kind of irrelevant. It’s bothering me now.’’

Playing on the turf in Indianapolis on Nov. 8 exacerbated the injury. He was replaced by Osweiler in the third quarter against the Chiefs the following week after throwing four interceptions on the same day he became the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader.

He remains tied with Brett Favre for most wins by a starting quarterback in the regular season with 186.

Under Osweiler, the Broncos are a much different team. The athletic quarterback’s ability to run bootlegs and play action has opened up Kubiak’s zone-based offense, which had been modified for Manning.

Osweiler credited Manning with giving him tips at halftime Sunday night that helped Denver come back from a two-touchdown deficit to beat the previously undefeated Patriots, 30-24, in overtime.

‘‘It’s obviously difficult not being out there,’’ Manning said. ‘‘. . . But while I’m not, I try to do whatever I can to help. I’ve always been a team player, try to be a good teammate, whether it’s answering any questions that Brock may have or [quarterbacks coach] Greg Knapp may have.’’


No vote on LA teams

NFL owners have punted on allowing teams to move to Los Angeles — at least for five weeks.

The owners set a special meeting to deal with a possible relocation of teams to Los Angeles for Jan. 12-13 in Houston. But Goodell admitted there might not even be a vote then.

‘‘It’s not a requirement that we vote at that meeting,’’ Goodell said. ‘‘There are still a lot of unknowns to make that prediction.’’

The Rams, Raiders, and Chargers are interested in moving to LA, which has not had an NFL franchise since the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season. But the 32 owners, 24 of whom are required to OK a franchise relocation, are seeking more information from the cities hoping to retain their franchises: St. Louis, Oakland, and San Diego.

There also is nothing close to a clear consensus on approval of either of the stadium proposals for LA. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning a billion-dollar stadium in Inglewood, Calif., while the Raiders and Chargers have a joint project in mind for nearby Carson. Kroenke has said he is willing to share his proposed stadium with either the Chargers or Raiders.

‘‘All the proposals must be in by the end of December,’’ Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said, adding ‘‘it is the strong hope’’ of the league that the vote on relocation will come out of that meeting.


Roethlisberger cleared

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was removed from the NFL’s concussion protocol and returned to practice Wednesday. Roethlisberger said that he’s been cleared to play in Sunday night’s game against the Colts. He was struck in the head late in last week’s 39-30 loss at the Seattle Seahawks and eventually left the game.

Johnny Manziel is still grounded. Benched for bad behavior, Manziel will remain on the sideline after Browns coach Mike Pettine picked quarterback Austin Davis to start Sunday against the Bengals. Manziel was recently stripped of his starting job by Pettine after a video surfaced of the second-year quarterback partying in Texas during the team’s bye week. With starter Josh McCown done for the season with a broken collarbone, Pettine had to promote one of his backups and chose Davis, who came off the bench in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s loss to Baltimore.

Andrew Luck feels good enough to throw some passes, but isn’t ready to return to practice. Luck said he has cleared one more hurdle in his recovery from a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle, but doesn’t know how much mmore time he’ll miss. The Colts have turned to 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck, who has won all four of his starts and turned in three turnover-free performances while filling in for Luck this season.

Revis status in doubt

Darrelle Revis is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol, leaving his status uncertain for the Jets’ game Sunday against the Giants. The star cornerback was injured at Houston on Nov. 22 and sat out the Jets’ 38-20 win over Miami last Sunday. Revis has not practiced since being hurt and coach Todd Bowles said he hasn’t been able to attend team meetings. Marcus Williams started in Revis’s place against the Dolphins, but sprained his left knee on an interception return. Williams sat out practice Wednesday and his availability for the Giants game is also unknown.

The banged-up Giants face a major task Sunday going into the game against their local rival Jets with questions at four positions on their offensive line. Right guard Geoff Schwartz was lost for the season this past weekend with a broken left leg. Center Weston Richburg is still gimpy with a high left ankle sprain. Left guard Justin Pugh just returned to practice after missing the past two games with a concussion. The new wrinkle is was at right tackle. Marshall Newhouse missed practice Wednesday with a back issue.

The Browns signed wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, bringing him back after cutting him at the end of training camp. The former NFL quarterback and Ohio State star tried out with several teams after being released but didn’t secure a roster spot.