Raiders need to solve penalty is­sue for play­off push

Times Standard (Eureka) - - SPORTS - By Jerry Mc­Don­ald

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

One tra­di­tion that 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 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 com­pared to 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.

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