Raiders need to cut penal­ties for play­off push

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Jerry McDon­ald

ALAMEDA — Jon Gru­den brings back Raiders leg­ends as of­ten as pos­si­ble to re­mind his team of the the rich tra­di­tion of the fran­chise.

One tra­di­tion the Gru­den would like to do away with is penal­ties. The Raiders have led the NFL 18 times since 1963 (the most in NFL his­tory) and are cur­rently No. 2 in the NFL in both penal­ties (88) and penalty yards (779). Only Ari­zona (94) has more penal­ties and Cleve­land (822) more penalty yards.

“It’s been ad­dressed,” Gru­den said Friday be­fore the Raiders de­parted for New York to face the New York Jets. “We are try­ing to em­pha­size it in all three phases and we’ve been in con­tact with the league on a few of the penal­ties we haven’t agreed with. But we are try­ing min­i­mize them. We’re try­ing to elim­i­nate them.”

A 17-10 win over the Cincin­nati Ben­gals was a mi­nor step in the right di­rec­tion as the Raiders had seven penal­ties for 42 yards — their low­est fig­ure of the sea­son in terms of yardage and one shy of their sea­son-low six penal­ties against the Chicago Bears in London.

But the three-game win streak that has the Raiders at 6-4 has in­cluded 29 penal­ties for 235 yards. Be­fore that, the Raiders had 11 penal­ties for 100 yards in a 27-24 loss at Hous­ton.

Some not-so-fun num­bers re­gard­ing the Raiders and their pen­chant for flags this sea­son:

35 — First downs by penalty on de­fense this

sea­son and had only nine first downs by penalty on of­fense a mi­nus-26 mar­gin that is far and away the high­est to­tal in the NFL.

27 — Ac­cepted penal­ties on pre-snap fouls such as off­sides, en­croache­ment, il­le­gal pro­ce­dure, false starts and de­lay of game.

24 — Penal­ties in cov­er­age for ei­ther de­fen­sive hold­ing (13), pass in­ter­fer­ence (9) or il­le­gal con­tact (2).

10 — Penal­ties for of­fen­sive hold­ing.

9 — Per­sonal fouls for ei­ther rough­ing the passer (5) or un­nec­es­sary rough­ness (4).

Solv­ing penalty prob­lems is eas­ier said than done. In his only sea­son as Raiders head coach, Hue Jack­son promised on an al­most weekly ba­sis the penal­ties would be cor­rected and his team set an NFL record with 163.

The Raiders penal­ties have been split among rook­ies and vet­er­ans, with rook­ies Maxx Crosby and Clelin Fer­rell hav­ing six each, while vet­eran Lamar­cus Joyner has six and guard Richie Incog­nito five, ac­cord­ing to The Foot­ball Data­base. In all 37, dif­fer­ent play­ers have been pe­nal­ized.

So where do you start?

“You’ve just got to keep putting it in front of them,” de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Paul Guen­ther said. “I keep telling them, more games are lost than they are won in this league. We can’t have off­sides or lin­ing up in the neu­tral zone or il­le­gal con­tact. Those things cost you games par­tic­u­larly on third down.”

Raiders of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Greg Olson said they get a de­tailed re­port each week from Gerry Austin, a for­mer NFL of­fi­cial who works for the

Raiders. It in­cludes a re­port on the up­com­ing of­fi­ci­at­ing crew in terms of what they call.

“We do try to ed­u­cate our play­ers on what a spe­cific crew has called in the past, but more than any­thing it’s coach­ing the de­tails for each po­si­tion group,” Olson said.

Gru­den re­al­izes he’ll never be sat­is­fied with how a game is called but echoed the con­cern of Guen­ther and Olson in clean­ing up the most ob­vi­ous prob­lems.

“We can’t have the per­sonal fouls. We can’t have the pre-snap penal­ties; we can elim­i­nate those,” Gru­den said. “Some of the in­frac­tions in the kick­ing game where you take a poor an­gle and you com­mit a costly penalty, those can be elim­i­nated. There is go­ing to be some hand-to-hand com­bat in one-onone routes, re­ceivers vs. (de­fen­sive backs). It’s a tough call for ev­ery­body, and man have we proved that.”

Gru­den said the re­spon­si­bil­ity lies with him. “I don’t want to blame youth or blame peo­ple that are new here that have just got­ten here,” Gru­den said. “There is no ex­cuse for it. You’re the coach of the team you, have to ad­dress it. You not only have to ad­dress it, you got to get re­sults and we got to do bet­ter.”

Note: Foot­ball Data­base stats are not of­fi­cial and oc­ca­sion­ally penal­ties from NFL game books are as­signed to the wrong player.

Notes — Joyner (ham­string) was lim­ited in prac­tice Friday, will make the trip and is listed as ques­tion­able. Swing tackle David Sharpe (calf) is out and will not travel.

Run­ning back Josh Ja­cobs (shoul­der), tackle Trent Brown (knee) and cen­ter Rod­ney Hud­son (an­kle) were lim­ited but not as­signed a game sta­tus, mean­ing they will all start.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.