So far this season, when the Roughriders take to the field, so do the penalty flags.
The Riders have been the most-penalized team in the league so far this year. Through six games, they’ve taken 85 penalties for 732 yards. Their opponents have been flagged 76 times for 643 yards. That’s an average of nearly 15 yards more per game.
“The one thing we have to do, we have to correct our negatives,” said head coach Corey Chamblin.
“That’s a negative performance, negative behaviour, whatever those negatives are we have to address them.”
When it comes to infractions, the bigger problem than the pure number of penalties has been when they’re taking penalties.
Last week against the Eskimos, there were at least two big plays by on offence that were wiped out because of penalties. Both of those fouls happened at a time when the Riders were still within striking distance of the Eskimos.
“Every time we have a positive, a huge gain, we erase points with something that is negative,” said Chamblin.
“If we can limit those negative mistakes, we’ll move forward in a hurry.”
It’s a problem that isn’t limited to the offence; the defence has been guilty of poorly timed penalties too.
In total, the Riders have taken 14 first down penalties. That’s actually one less than their opponents. That means a large majority of the team’s violations happen on second or third down.
Fouls on second or third down are far more likely to extend a drive for the opposing defence or take the offence off of the field.
When it comes to penalties, it’s easy to pin-point that it’s a problem for the team. It’s much harder to try and fix. Undisciplined teams often have a hard time becoming disciplined.
One suggestion that is usually brought up by fans and media a like is some kind of fine system.
“Money doesn’t do it. You can only fine them about 50 bucks anyway. They waste more than that every week,” Chamblin.
“It has to come from the player himself and we have to limit our mistakes.”
For their part, the players know it’s up to them to make sure this problem gets resolved.
“We have to be accountable to them. We have to recognize what we did about them. We have to flush, in a sense, and work on the techniques to make sure we don’t do that,” said offensive lineman Chris Best.
“I’ve been guilty of that along among every other o-lineman. It’s a point of personal pride for us to make sure we eliminate penalties this week.”
News and Notes
Receiver Jamel Richardson will be placed on the six-game injured list for the rest of the season. Chamblin said on Wednesday the team tried to find Richardson somewhere else to play but nothing came up.
Defensive back Tyree Hollins has been ruled out for Saturday’s game in Toronto. Defensive lineman Derek Walker and defensive back Tristan Jackson remain questionable.
Running back Steven Miller continues to take reps with the offence.