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Thread: Penalties, Zebras, and Wolves

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    Penalties, Zebras, and Wolves

    Welcome to the 2005 NFL season - on track to be the worst season ever for penalties. Just as the once proud Dolphins set a franchise record for penalties - 21 in one game, 18 were accepted (think about this for a moment, that number is the most ever since 1966, almost 40 years), the Ravens ON THE SAME DAY top us with 21 penalties.

    What's going on and what's happening to the Dolphins, who have 4 games now with heavy penalties? Turnover is certainly one reason. Free agency and the salary cap have caused teams to deal good players (Patrick Surtain, for example) and invest in cheap players (our secondary) to adapt. It has finally caught up.

    The average NFL team will turn over about 30% of their team each year. Our Dolphins turned over about 50%. In the days of the Don, as in Shula, our turnover was much lower than that. I guarantee you that Shula could never accomplish today what he did years ago. There is simply too much change, too many players that ought not to be even playing (due to salary cap reasons), and the level of competition is much greater now in the NFL.

    There seems to be an unwritten rule this year. The Zebras have decided to let the flags fly and take control. It is a league-wide problem and many coaches, including Nick Saban, are losing a lot of sleep these days. Personally, I think it's a bad trend. It slows the game down and affects the outcome. The Zebras need to slow down and let the players play.

    Saban, in his effort to find wolves and not sheeps, is no doubt encouraging an "attitude" of aggression to set the tone for this team. The big picture and long-term success may require some sacrifice today in the form of penalties to develop the wolves he needs to be successful. The new-found aggression, the major turnover this year, and the complicated systems that Linehan and Saban utilize all contribute to hesitancy and mistakes. Saban said the players don't make the mistakes in practice they make in the game. It's simple - the pressure from the game requires a player to go on instincts. Saban's system is simply not second-nature to these guys yet. When you see Kevin Carter and Jason Taylor making bone-headed penalties, it is clear they have not committed Saban's system to memory. They are tentative and thinking too much, which equates to penalties and mental mistakes.

    The good news is that the mental mistakes can be corrected. I believe Saban has got this team headed in the right direction and it will simply take time to turn these new wolves into a well-oiled, mistake-free machine.
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    ch19079's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FinFan57
    The Zebras need to slow down and let the players play.
    without refs and rules, there is no game.

    stop blaming the refs for throwing the flag, and start blaming the players for breaking the rules.
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    islandah's Avatar
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    Nice analysis. I agree, the aggressive penalties are a "cost of doing business," and hopefully, the stupid ones (pre-snap penalties, taunting) will diminish, especially now that the players recognize that they cost them a division game where they were clearly able to outplay their opponent. Rather than getting yelled at by a coach (them), McMichael has to look his teammates in the eye (us) and know he let them down. Think he'll taunt next time?
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    phinz_fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ch19079
    without refs and rules, there is no game.

    stop blaming the refs for throwing the flag, and start blaming the players for breaking the rules.
    Sometimes the flags get thrown when the rules aren't broken. That is the problem. Also, inconsistancy in how the game is called is a big complaint of most coaches right now.
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    The Refs are too old to keep up with plays...


    But they aren't at fault when they call false starts, offsides, etc....
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    Or flags are not thrown when rules are broken.
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    phinz_fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holcomb10
    The Refs are too old to keep up with plays...


    But they aren't at fault when they call false starts, offsides, etc....
    I agree. If a team false starts 100 times in a row then it should be flagged 100 times in a row. Those rules are there for a reason - it is the ref's job to enforce them.
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    Refereeing, in my opinion, is an art and not a science. The refs could call penalties almost every play if they really wanted to. Their job is to keep the game under reasonable control and keep it fair for both teams. Refs should try to avoid completely taking over the game. Let the guys play, but keep it balanced, consistent, and fair for both teams so the players decide the outcome of the game, not th Zebras.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ch19079
    without refs and rules, there is no game.

    stop blaming the refs for throwing the flag, and start blaming the players for breaking the rules.
    Thats true, but sometimes the refs make big mistakes, i.e. either they throw flag for holding when there is no hold, or they dont throw a flag when there is a hold. they can make bad calls when it comed to instant replay, and they can screw up with the game clock, like in the Pats - Steelers game. I think this is will be the worst season of bad officiating we have seen in a while if things continue like this.
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    TheMageGandalf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ch19079
    without refs and rules, there is no game.

    stop blaming the refs for throwing the flag, and start blaming the players for breaking the rules.
    It's not about that.

    It's about being consistant with the calls that turn the tide in games.

    Coach Saban said it best:

    "I saw one of our guys get his helmet ripped off and the (referee) was standing right there looking at it," Saban said. "I said to him, 'What did (McMichael) do that was worse than a guy ripping Sammy Morris' helmet off right in front of him?' I'm not saying he shouldn't have gotten a penalty. I'm just saying: Is there such thing as consistency?'"
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