The NFL has asked on-field officials to pay more attention to illegal contact fouls and to be more precise with roughing the passer penalties this season, per @kevinseifert_espn.
Officials flagged illegal contact an average of 97 times each season between 2002 and 2020, per NFL Research. That number dropped to 36 in 2021, prompting the NFL Competition Committee to make the penalty a point of emphasis this year.
The NFL rules define illegal contact as follows:
“Beyond the five-yard zone, if the player who receives the snap remains in the pocket with the ball, a defender cannot initiate contact with a receiver who is attempting to evade him. A defender may use his hands or arms only to defend or protect himself against impending contact caused by a receiver.”
As for roughing the passer penalties, the competition committee has clarified that contact to the helmet and below the knee area must be forcible. The committee acknowledged that some officials have called roughing the passer for MINOR contact in recent seasons and want to limit those occasions moving forward.