Smith wants Falcons to eliminate the penalties

Falcons coach Mike Smith is seeing too many of these yellow flags on the field.

Falcons coach Mike Smith is seeing too many of these yellow flags on the field.

By Chris Vivlamore

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith said he and his staff underwent an extensive self-examination during the early part of the bye week. The group specifically looked at three areas of deficiency: offensive first-down efficiency, third-down defense and penalties.

The Falcons are tied for 15th in the NFL with 47 penalties, for 388 yards, through seven games. They’ve been called for 58 infractions, and 11 have been declined. They committed 11 penalties for 80 yards against the Lions.

Last season the Falcons had the fewest penalties in the league with 58 through 16 regular-season games.

“We have not been able to overcome penalties,” Smiths said. “That’s one of the reasons we haven’t been able to sustain drives as we would like.”

Smith said the team has seen a spike in the areas of personal fouls, offensive holding and defensive offsides.

“In my mind, those are all correctable,” Smith said. “We want to be as aggressive as we can but some of the things were really silly penalties.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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17 comments Add your comment

David Smith

October 31st, 2011
8:49 pm

We were the least penalized team last year and we really need to get back to that.

SawThat1nce

October 31st, 2011
8:56 pm

GO FALCONS!!!!!!

Einstein

October 31st, 2011
9:48 pm

Penalties really will hurt your team…we’ve gotta cut them out.

John Kimble

October 31st, 2011
9:51 pm

Dled, I had a question about one of your previous blogs, concerning the “highly penalized” Raiders.

If you look it up, you will see it is quite the opposite.

2005. 28th with 101 penalties.
2006. Tied 26th with 85 penalties.
2007. 7th with 99.
2008. 30th with 74.
2009. 25th with 86.
2010. 2nd with 117

The Raiders are perennially near the top in least penalties committed.

What gives?

California

October 31st, 2011
10:23 pm

DLED gets called out!

SeldomFound

November 1st, 2011
12:01 am

This offense is very similar to Georgia Tech’s in that it has very little room for error. We’re engineered to make first downs with three plays. Any setback such as a penalty or negative plays is so hard to overcome. We flourish in smash mouth small ball – it’s ok, just not sexy and not very forgiving.

Mike Smith is the ultimate manager. The three things they are focusing on will assure us another winning season and very likely a another trip to the playoffs. I’m concerned though that he can move from manager to inspirational leader to help get us over the hump.

SeldomFound

November 1st, 2011
12:03 am

This offense is very similar to Georgia Tech’s in that it has very little room for error. We’re engineered to make first downs with all three plays and eat clock. Any setback such as a penalty or negative plays is so hard to overcome. We flourish in smash mouth small ball – it’s ok, just not sexy and not very forgiving.

Mike Smith is the ultimate manager. The three things they are focusing on will assure us another winning season and very likely a another trip to the playoffs. I’m concerned though that he can move from manager to inspirational leader to help get us over the hump.

Whopper Dawg

November 1st, 2011
12:42 am

Ledbetter, your usual insightful column. Why to go. Could they please add the following to their list:

1) Where are the explosive plays they spend the off season talking about and spending a draft’s king’s ransom on Jones?

2) Where is the pass rush?

3) Where is the pass defense?

4) Who is this punter and can we return him?

5) Where is the little midget back we drafted and why do we use him only on critical third down situations in which he fails?

6) Has Peria Jerry left the country? Is he hurt? Or has he changed jerseys and just refuses to tackle anyone?

I would appreciate your input on same. But I know, I won’t get it.

Whopper Dawg

November 1st, 2011
12:44 am

Also agree with SeldomFound,

why do we spend first and second down only getting to third and six??????

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JayCool 4DABirds

November 1st, 2011
12:52 am

i guess the only question I have is what games have you been watching Whopper Dawg?

Dr. Warren

November 1st, 2011
1:18 am

I’d love to hear more specifically how Coach Smith will go about fixing the problem. Does he just repeat himself a few times, or is there a strategy/tactic? Surely, there must be a concrete approach.

robert

November 1st, 2011
6:10 am

you have too much time on your hands john kimble.

HATinGA

November 1st, 2011
6:52 am

Cant believe he didnt mention punting\kickoffs as a problem we are last in both areas im sure, if this kid was good in college maybe he needs some time on the pratice swad, but he is killing us n field position and having to cover all those kickoffs the other team does not.

Mikey

November 1st, 2011
9:34 am

Good work coaches! They are already making good progress on the third down defense and with a little more progress, will be there. I am happy to see that they are working on first down efficiency as that has been a serious need. We have been fortunate that they do so well on making third and long but they need to reduce their dependence on good fortune and third down passing excellence. Kudos to the coaches for recognizing that penalties have been a serious limiting factor for them. If the Falcons want to increase the explosive plays, eliminating the penalties that call them back will do the trick. I know these guys are smart enough to see where the line of scrimage is located and to remember the snap count. They are rapidly improving on blocking techique and will soon be there. It will be good to see the bonehead unsportsmanlike conduct penalties disappear. I enjoy watching great players who show how tough they are during the play. I agree wholeheartedly that these are our key needs at this point but have to say that it is sure nice to know that our key needs are NOT wide receiver speed and route running, running back strength, quarterback execution, line strength or a secondary that can stay with the big boys, etc.. These issues are a lot more difficult to resolve. I am anticipating a great second half for our Falcons… GO FALCONS!

Samuel

November 1st, 2011
10:19 am

Mike Smith seems to be a guy who pays attention to details. After saying that, his way of thinking has to resonate with the players. If not, if a player keeps making the same mistakes the coach has to step in and cut the player. I know this may sound extreme. but you have to get the attention of the team.

C

November 1st, 2011
7:04 pm

Looking for this team to peak at just the right time here in the later half of the season. With the Saints (amazing) loss to the Rams this division has 8 games to be settled between 3 teams. Let’s see what the Birds have got.