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NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira: Cardinals clap snap issues no big deal

Former professional football referee Mike Pereira arrives on the red carpet at the 2014 Sports Spectacular Gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 18, 2014 in Century City, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Sports Spectacular)

Kliff Kingsbury doesn’t seem worried. Neither does Kyler Murray.

As for referee Carl Jeffers, who officiated Arizona’s loss to Oakland on Thursday, well, he might be concerned for the Cardinals. Jeffers thought Murray’s fake claps before the snap were worthy of two false start flags.

FOX Sports NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira was among those who didn’t agree with the calls based on how the rules are written and past displays of quarterback snap deception.

Joining 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf, Pereira explained the language of the rulebook and said there’s little reason for Arizona to worry about its snapping procedures come the regular season.

“He can clap, and I think what was interesting is you saw Carl Jeffers talking to Kliff Kingsbury and … you could see him say, ‘Hey, you can clap normally but you can’t thrust your hands together,'” Pereira said, “kind of like Peyton Manning used to do when he used to thrust his hands forward at the same time he would take a step. We put an end to that because we felt it was too abrupt.

“The thing that confused me about watching this with Kyler Murray was, uh, what Carl was saying he did, he really didn’t do — at least it didn’t look like to me. It looked like a pretty smooth cadence.”

Pereira confirmed that it is legal to use a fake clap as a hard count but said the nuance is how that is expressed visually versus audibly. The Cardinals can make as much sound as they want with a clap or with Murray’s voice, but there are more restrictions around his movements.

“(It’s allowed) as long as it’s rhythmic. As long as there is not any thrust involved,” Pereira said of a fake clap.

“Just don’t make it abrupt. That’s the key word.”

The rulebook reads that a player “in shotgun formation is permitted to shift his feet prior to the snap, but any quick and abrupt movement is a False Start. This includes thrusting his hands forward when there is not a simultaneous snap.”

Pereira wasn’t the only rules analyst that didn’t see a problem with how Murray was clapping, leading to two flags in the 33-26 loss Thursday. FOX Sports colleague Dean Blandino tweeted during the game that he didn’t see a violation by Murray.

Pereira admitted that the preseason presents an opportunity for officials to make a hard push to change the way the game is played. That means they can sometimes overreact regarding specific tendencies.

“Obviously, it was talked about in the offseason about what you could do with your hands, and I think it’s an overreaction,” Pereira said. “And much like preseason … where you’re emphasizing something to try to make a point that will tone down, and I don’t think that anything he’s doing will lead to a penalty once the season starts.

“To me it’s not going to be a big deal once this regular season starts.”

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