SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The NFL is using substitute referees in pre-season games as the league’s labor dispute with officials continues. “It’s a big problem,” John Madden told the KCBS morning crew. “People want to say you know they’ll be okay and the other guys aren’t really that good so they can’t be much worse. I don’t believe any of that.”

“There’s not only the rule book, but there’s the case book that has the interpretations of the rules and the situations that you have that could come up,” said Madden. ” So it’s a totally different thing and there’s no way that they can get ready and be efficient or proficient in such a short time.”

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Madden said he’s hopeful the labor dispute will be settled before the season starts. “I think for the good of the game I think it has to. This isn’t even a good band aid.”

New Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was 4 of 7 for 44 yards and an interception near the end zone in his first pre-season game in a Broncos uniform after coming off a serious nerve injury. Madden said the stats don’t tell the story.

“That ball bounced off the guy… not that Peyton Manning has to impress on his first outing, but that interception wasn’t a thing on him… His tests are around the corner.”

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The 49ers play their first pre-season game Friday night and the Raiders play Monday night. “You’ve got 90 guys and you’re trying to play as many of them as you can,” Madden said. “You get the top guys in and out quickly, and then you’re playing backups and then you’re playing backups to the backups and then eventually the backups to the backups to the backups.”

“I think what you look at is individual players, and see if there’s someone there that you like who either was there before and maybe got better, or was injured (and is) coming off an injury, and then of course the young and new players.”

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.

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