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Falcons Have To Fix Penalties Now


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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- There hasn't been much game-planning on either side of the ball for the Atlanta Falcons, so mistiming on offense and miscommunication on defense shouldn't be overblown just yet.

And with special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong forced to play so many young players to get a serious evaluation for his units, it's too early to declare special teams a complete disaster.

But one aspect the Falcons need to get under control immediately is the penalty situation. Through two preseason games, they've been penalized 19 times for 171 yards. They've been whistled 25 times total, counting the penalties not accepted or offsetting. And it's not just the rookies making mistakes. Ten flags have been thrown against either starters or seasoned veterans.

"Very concerned," coach Mike Smith said. "Fifteen penalties called in the game [at Houston]. There weren't 15 accepted penalties, but we've got to make sure that we understand how the game is going to be called from the officiating side.

"They're going through changes. We're going through changes. There are a lot of emphasis points that the league has, basically, mandated. And we have to adjust to them. Up to this point, I don't know that we have, or anybody in this league has adjusted very well. Thank goodness that we don't have a lot of commercials in preseason games because [the games] would be really long."

Of course the biggest points of emphasis are illegal contact by defenders against receivers 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage and defensive holding. In Saturday game against the Texans, starting corners Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford both were whistled for defensive holding, although only Trufant's penalty was accepted.

"We just have to adjust to it this year," Alford said. "I mean, they called it. All we can do is go back to the film with coach and see what we can improve on."

Trufant was visibly upset with the call on him and threw his arms out in disgust.

"All we can do is play," Trufant said. "There's always going to be bang-bang plays. Like Rob said, we've got to go to the film and just see what we could have done better."

Safety William Moore offered his take on the penalty situation.

"Flags kicked our ***," Moore said of the Houston game. "We had some opportunities to get off the field on third down, and we come up with some silly-*** penalties. And the refs weren't any lighter on us. We gave up 200-something yards in penalties. Hopefully that doesn't happen during the season."

The starters are scheduled to play the entire first half and possibly into the third quarter against Tennessee on Saturday, so we'll see if the penalty issues are corrected.

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Just got done previewing the 3rd episode of #HardKnocks some really cool shots tonight and cutting edge scenes!

Corey Peters practicing second day in a row.

Steven Jackson still sidelined.

Suwanee, GA

c705222874c6ddad097eb2f3e790261e_normal.jpegvaughn mcclure @vxmcclure23 · 24m

Carimi still progressing from ankle and doing more drills on side.

New tackle McQuistan on field with #64. Hawley apparently Mic'd
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I hope the NFL gets a clue. Presumably, the flags are being thrown for illegal contact, defensive holding and PI in order to drive more offensive highlights and scoring plays. The NFL thinks this is what fans want, games with 42-45 final scores. But what we really want to be able to watch a game that maintains some semblance of flow. With refs blowing whistles on every other play, it makes watching a game tiresome.

For people who don't watch much football, I also think this will turn them off from watching more. For the more serious football fan, we appreciate good defense and get a lot of enjoyment from watching big plays happening on both sides of the ball. The idea of games with only offense definitely has low appeal for me. NFL needs to straighten this out for the good of the fans.

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We'll get the official word from coach Mike Smith on Shuler following practice. Shuler battling Bear Pascoe for backup TE role.

c705222874c6ddad097eb2f3e790261e_normal.jpegvaughn mcclure @vxmcclure23 · 57s

Word is TE Mickey Shuler is being held out right now as a precaution after experiencing some concussion-like symptoms, but should be fine.

Sucks. Was looking forward to him getting some looks Saturday

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I hope the NFL gets a clue. Presumably, the flags are being thrown for illegal contact, defensive holding and PI in order to drive more offensive highlights and scoring plays. The NFL thinks this is what fans want, games with 42-45 final scores. But what we really want to be able to watch a game that maintains some semblance of flow. With refs blowing whistles on every other play, it makes watching a game tiresome.

For people who don't watch much football, I also think this will turn them off from watching more. For the more serious football fan, we appreciate good defense and get a lot of enjoyment from watching big plays happening on both sides of the ball. The idea of games with only offense definitely has low appeal for me. NFL needs to straighten this out for the good of the fans.

There were about a dozen penalties in the Browns-Redskins game last night, just in the first half, and almost all of them were for defensive holding / illegal contact / pass interference. And what was the final score at halftime? Like 7-3.

But it's like I read somewhere else... Peyton Manning can't beat the Patriots in the playoffs in the early 2000s, so the NFL changes the rules. Now Peyton gets BLASTED by Seattle in the Super Bowl, so the NFL changes the rules again. I honestly believe that's what caused this, too, because they don't want to see another Super Bowl where an offensive powerhouse gets dominated by a defense. But it's total BS.

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I see this more as the refs being over-strict douchebags than fault in us. I remember in the CAR/KC game Mike the idiot Pereira said flags will be coming for trash talk too.

Yeah, that one flag on a Houston defender (DJ Swearinger, maybe?) in our preseason game for taunting / excessive celebration was way over the top.

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Under Smith, it seems we have to choose between "tough" and "disciplined." In 2012 we were the least penalized team in the NFL, but no one thought we were tough. This preseason, we are acting all tough, but we are not disciplined. Real coaches can have both. Step up Smitty!

Some of our really bad TD nullifying penalties have not been of the "Point of emphasis" variety. We are being hammered by offensive holding, illegal formation, and defensive off sides.

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every team is getting hammered with the stricter enforcment of defensive holding. we haven't had near as many of those as most other teams. if memory serves me, we only got one in the Miami game, and it was on a LB.

I'm willing to put up with the flags, if they make sure it's straight across the board. thing is, it most likely won't. the taints, pats and richard sherman will all get away with murder while most of the rest of the league will have games decided by the refs. in other words, a typical season

Edited by papachaz
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There were about a dozen penalties in the Browns-Redskins game last night, just in the first half, and almost all of them were for defensive holding / illegal contact / pass interference. And what was the final score at halftime? Like 7-3.

But it's like I read somewhere else... Peyton Manning can't beat the Patriots in the playoffs in the early 2000s, so the NFL changes the rules. Now Peyton gets BLASTED by Seattle in the Super Bowl, so the NFL changes the rules again. I honestly believe that's what caused this, too, because they don't want to see another Super Bowl where an offensive powerhouse gets dominated by a defense. But it's total BS.

is it a rule change though, or finally deciding to actually appear to enforce the rule?

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also, it seems like I've read or heard that they were going to really crack down hard in preseason to get everyone more in tune with it for the regular season. can't find the link to that, but I know I heard or read it somewhere. maybe they'll ease up a bit in regular season, who knows

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Yeah, that one flag on a Houston defender (DJ Swearinger, maybe?) in our preseason game for taunting / excessive celebration was way over the top.

I agree that it was a bit much. However the call was for the choreography not the hand shake. I guess choreography makes it taunting. who know anymore.
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I agree that it was a bit much. However the call was for the choreography not the hand shake. I guess choreography makes it taunting. who know anymore.

someone should just hire the Rockettes as the entertainment for the next officials meeting and give them all heart attacks.....

ph34r.png

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