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Mason's Mailbag: Regarding the play clock

Mase, I have an easy and sure way to solve the play-clock issue (which is a big issue across the league). Why not put an enunciator into the clock that signals the officials when time expires. It only notifies officials, since they all wear the headsets. This way the official doesn't have to try and look at the play clock and the ball. You would have many fewer mistakes.

What do you think?

-- Tom Thompson

That's intriguing, although it adds another human element (the enunciator you referenced) to the equation, and I'd kind of like to limit that. 

But a better idea, which I've heard a few times this week, is to have a basketball-style buzzer. Just as a basketball shot clock has a buzzer, so too would a football play clock. Adding tenths of a second to the play clock would also increase the precision of the call.

While I think your idea would help, I want as much public transparency on this as is possible. I thought that was the case with the play clock as it was, but then NBC officiating expert Terry McAulay -- who was an NFL referee for 20 seasons -- said on "The Dan Patrick Show" Wednesday that the play clock was simply a "guideline" and suggested that the officials would have received a negative grade from the league office for issuing the Broncos a delay-of-game penalty.

I thought that when Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was penalized for intentionally grounding the ball in the fourth quarter, Vance Joseph might decline the penalty, giving Mahomes only one attempt to make twenty yards instead of two attempts to make thirty yards. What would you have done?

-- Anton Heseltine

Well, he was penalized for intentional grounding on first down ... and since that penalty comes with a loss of down, there was no reason to decline the penalty and leave the play as an incompletion and second-and-10. Denver accepted it and put the Chiefs in second-and-20. 

A Chiefs holding penalty on second-and-20 was accepted, as it wiped out an 8-yard Mahomes-to-Kareem Hunt connection, giving them second-and-30 instead of third-and-12. 

Almost every team will accept a penalty in that scenario. As effective as the Chiefs were through the air, they still finished with a 6.6-yards-per-pass-play average, so three average gains after second-and-30 would have resulted in a turnover on downs. Two average gains from third-and-12 would have resulted in 13 yards and a first down.

How come our coach don't jam the opponents' receivers on the line of scrimmage so it can disrupt the pattern -- especially an explosive offense like the Kansas City Chiefs are supposed to have?

-- Bruce Morales

Because if you jam the receivers repeatedly, the opponent will adjust by running more fade routes, as Ring of Fame safety Steve Atwater noted on "First and Ten at Ten" last month. This takes advantage of the receivers' ability to bounce off the jam and get outside with an advantage on the cornerback, who then has to pivot to adjust to the receiver's route. 

This is a relatively simple adjustment for an opposing offense to make, which is why you don't see cornerbacks simply jamming opposing receivers snap after snap.

Since you sometimes ask your guests this, I'll ask you. The Broncos win this week if "blank" happens.

-- Ray Genesso

If the Broncos are able to control the pace and maintain the lead, which would allow them to control the game on the ground. Including the postseason, Denver has won 16 consecutive games when it runs at least 50 percent of the time.

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