Florham Park, NJ – Penalties are part of a football game. An NFL team can go an entire game without committing a penalty, as the Pittsburgh Steelers did in 2012 against the Dallas Cowboys, but that takes a lot of concentration.
For the New York Jets, avoiding penalties has not only been tough, but it has cost them some victories. Against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, New York committed 12 penalties for 124 yards in the 31-28 loss. As offensive coordinator John Morton pointed out Thursday, the offense struggled to move the ball in the fourth quarter against Miami because of “penalties”.
“Now you’re second-and-long, now you’re third-and-long,” Morton said. “We had too many third-and-longs. Those third-and-longs resulted because there was a penalty on first or second down.”
The Jets are tied for 29th in the NFL in committed penalties with 57 and last in total penalty yards with 546. Players such as Brian Winters understand the impact penalties have on a game.
“All penalties are bad penalties,” Winters stated. “We all know what we have to do to correct things. I’m not selling out anyone, different types of penalties. But we just have to cut them out in general.”
So far, New York’s offense committed eight false start penalties, nine offensive holding penalties, and two delay of game penalties. These mental and communication errors pushes the Jets back and puts them in those third-and-long situations Morton describes.
It’s not just the Jets’ offense that commits a lot of penalties, but it’s also the defense. New York has committed nine defensive holding penalties, five defensive pass interference penalties, and five unnecessary roughness penalties. With these penalties, the Jets’ defense is giving free yardage to opposing offenses, which moves them closer to the end zone and makes it easier for them to score.
It’s one thing to identify a problem, but it’s another to fix it. Head coach Todd Bowles made it a top priority for the week to address this issue.
“There are drills you do for certain groups and certain position groups that we work on that we’ll continue to work on and keep driving it home,” Bowles said. “We’ll have some post-practice things that we’ll work on to try to correct those things.”
With Sunday’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons fast-approaching, Bowles described the progress the team has made on limiting penalties as “great”. Fans will see whether or not penalties will continue to create problems for the Jets.
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