FOXBORO, Mass. - The barrage of penalties Friday night was nothing new. With an increasing emphasis on certain rules across the league, especially illegal contact in the secondary, preseason games across the league have been marked by game flow halted by consistent penalties. On Friday night, the Eagles and Patriots saw the flags fly all night as they combined for 21 penalties, which doesn't include the called infractions that were declined.
The increasingly stringent rules were the talk of the locker room following the game, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
"There's definitely a mental aspect to the fact that you have to abide by the new rules that are in place," said linebacker Mychal Kenndricks. "You have to really take some thought in your actions before you take those actions. We're talking about very small differences here. These are small differences that are hard to make adjustments to. They used to let us play a little bit more and now they're a lot more strict."
Cornerback Brandon Boykin finds himself right in the problem area. As a nickel cornerback, Boykin makes his living patrolling the middle of the field and doing his best to make use of the 5 yards of allowed contact. .
"We'll have to change our technique I guess somehow and just be cognizant of that 5-yard marker. At 6 yards, you're going to get a flag," said Boykin, who was indeed singled out by the refs on occasion Friday night. "Nobody wants to get one of those as a corner. That sucks a lot. It's part of the game now and we have to adjust to it and we have to work hard in practice to get it right."
The prevailing question is whether the game will be called the same way come the regular season. As far as defensive end Vinny Curry is concerned, though, that seems to be a given.
"It's definitely going to carry over," Curry said. "The most disciplined team in the league is going to be the most successful team in the league."
"Both teams are getting flags, so everybody in the league is going to have to adjust to how they're changing the rules," Boykin said. "Either the game is going to be really, really long or we'll adjust."