Penalties and success in football don’t necessarily correlate.
Consider that Baltimore, which won the Super Bowl last season, ranked third in the NFL in penalties committed last season and first in penalty yards. There’s often an argument that aggressive play leads to some penalties, especially on defense, and that you don’t want to completely curb that sort of aggression.
Still, in general, fewer penalties are better than more.
And as the Seahawks enter the 2013 season they will undoubtedly be looking for ways to cut down on the flags they incurred a year ago when they finished seventh in the league in penalties at 6.67 per game.
The problems were most severe on the offensive side as the Seahawks were called for 71 penalties on offense (full stats here), tied with St. Louis for most in the NFL (by comparison, the Seattle defense was called for 49 (15th in the NFL).
The most egregious offenders on offense were tackles Russell Okung (above in an AP photo) and Breno Giacomini, who were called for 13 and 12 penalties in 2012.
It’s not a surprise that linemen would get the most penalties, as holding and false start are typically the most-called penalties in thee NFL.
As this breakdown shows, Okung’s penalty total tied him for second-most in the league in 2012 while Giacomini was tied for fifth.
Okung’s total, as the linked chart also shows, consisted of eight false starts (tied for most in the NFL) and five holdings, while Giacomini was flagged for four holdings, four false starts, two unnecessary roughesses and two personal fouls.
Holdings happen, and it’s such a subjective call, as well, that there’s little way to completely eliminate it (especially for tackles playing outside against quick ends/LBs).
But all of the others incurred by those two players in 2012 fall more in the preventable category, and for the Seahawks to achieve their high expectations this season, they need cut down on the unforced errors.
As the linked chart shows, the next most-penalized Seattle player last season was cornerback Brandon Browner with 10.
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