The Washington Redskins are vowing to do a better job of avoiding penalties in their remaining seven games after they return from their bye week.
“You’ve just got to focus on the little things and just focus on detailing your job and make sure you’re playing as physical as you can [but] not to the point of a penalty,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said this week. “… It’s a fine line. But it’s minor details that can make the difference between what’s a penalty and what’s not.”
The Redskins are the NFL’s most frequently penalized team. They have committed 75 penalties in their nine games, or 8.33 per game. The Baltimore Ravens, with 66 penalties in eight games, are the league’s next-worst offenders, with 8.25 penalties per game. The Redskins and Ravens each are averaging 72.1 penalty yards per game. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers, with 73.1 penalty yards per game, are worse in that category.
“It’s disheartening because you work on that, and that’s always been a phase that we’ve been pretty good at,” Coach Mike Shanahan said this week. “But we’ll get better at it. I know we will. We’ve got a lot of guys working together for the first time…. There’s a lot of things that are going to be good and bad in a game, but you’ve got to find a way to win. You’ve got to overcome those mistakes and obviously we didn’t overcome them.”
The Redskins had 13 penalties in last Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers, which dropped their record to 3-6.
“It was an interesting game as far as penalties went,” tight end Chris Cooley said. “I think it’s about focus. It’s about not overwhelming yourself with what’s going on and being able to focus from play to play. You can practice it. But I think at the same time, we’ve all played football for a long time and it’s about focus.”
Shanahan said his experience has been that practice habits carry over into games when it comes to penalties.
“We try to practice at game speed all the time,” Shanahan said. “And usually when you practice at game speed, usually it carries over to limited penalties. This year for some reason, it has not gone like it has in the past for me. So we’ll keep on working on those little things and hopefully as a group we can improve.”