Tight end Kellen Winslow drawing attention from officials
When tight end Kellen Winslow was flagged for offensive pass interference at Green Bay on Sunday, a call that negated a key touchdown, it was just the latest of a growing number of costly infractions against him.
And it’s something Bucs coaches believe Winslow is going to have to be constantly aware of because the officials certainly appear to be.
“We know that right now, they’re looking at him for those types of things,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said.
The question now is what, if anything, can he and the Bucs do about it?
It’s becoming an unavoidable issue for the team, even though its stance is that most of the recent calls against Winslow have been, at best, borderline.
Winslow certainly felt that way, saying after the Packers game, “I really felt we made enough plays to beat (the Packers). It’s hard when you put the game in the ref’s hands.”
Winslow was called for pushing off a defender with 5:07 left in the third quarter, negating a 4-yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman. The Bucs had to settle for a field goal and eventually lost.
It’s the second offensive pass interference in three games called against Winslow. He also had a face mask penalty called against him while catching a pass against the Texans. Each penalty negated a complete pass. Then there’s Winslow’s controversial overturned touchdown against the Lions last December, a play on which he was called for interference. The NFL office later apologized for the incorrect call but the play cost the Bucs a win and, possibly, a playoff berth.
“It’s tough, because I coached defensive backs and we get pushed off (of) all the time,” coach Raheem Morris said. “We’re just used to it. You become accustomed to it, that they don’t call that. For Kellen, it’s becoming a little bit frustrating. And for his teammates it’s getting a little bit frustrating. You just have to fight through. You can’t worry about it. You have to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. You have to do your very best to keep your hands off them.”
Meanwhile, Olson and his offensive staff have been talking to Winslow about ways to minimize future penalties. Ultimately, Winslow – according to Olson – will have to play mindful of the way he’s being officiated.
“We go back and look at it and we’re constantly talking to him about correct technique and the use of his hands,” Olson said. “But some may be deserved, if you look at it. And some maybe are not deserved. . . So, we just have to clean it up technique-wise.”