Although the NFL's replacement officials have been almost universally criticized for a series of suspect calls during the preseason, NFL vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said he's noticed encouraging signs of improvement.
"We expected going in, just like the players going through the preseason, that every week they would get better," Anderson told The Sun during the Ravens' 48-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium. "The first week, we had some rough spots and we got better from the first week to the second week and we expect to get better this week, too, and on and on.
"This is the third week and it seems to me they've had a pretty solid first half. Uneventful, that's exactly what you want. That's the improvement we expect."
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The NFL has instituted clinics to try to upgrade the standards of the replacement officials' work, including one already held in Texas with another scheduled prior to the start of the regular season.
Meanwhile, no labor peace is in sight as the NFL and the regular referees are reportedly far apart in negotiations as the impasse continues.
"Labor peace, absolutely, that's the goal, but it's got to be under circumstances that we believe are reasonable and hopefully they believe are reasonable," Anderson said. "We're not there yet. Eventually, hopefully, we'll get there. In the meantime, these current officials are the ones out there and we'll work with