SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – In the first weekend of regular season NFL action, the officials were throwing more flags at the line of scrimmage and in the secondary.

“They let them get away too much with that hands to the face,” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “The more they’d get away with it, the more chance it has to become a technique… You’d get away with hands to the face after you hit the shoulder pads, (and then) you’d just go boom — a punch in the face. So that became a technique both in pass protection and in pass rush, so they had to get it out of there.”

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Madden said the officials are also trying to control other contact between receivers and defenders.

“There was just way too much grabbing and holding by defensive guys and pushing off by offensive guys in the passing game, so they had to get rid of that too. Sometimes they let it go too far. As we’ve talked about before, if you don’t give the streets away, you don’t have to take them back. And it’s amazing how far they let that go.”

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Madden said the flags will keep flying.

“If you’re going to put a rule in, it has to stay a point of emphasis. You can’t say, ‘you know, we’re just kidding,’ and then let it go back to where it was.” (6:10)

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Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 and Monday and Friday mornings at 9:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.