2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Steelers hoping to slow record penalty pace

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2012-10-09 15:58

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Mike Tomlin might be a perfectionist, but he's a realist too.

The Pittsburgh Steelers coach knows penalties are going to happen. He can tolerate mistakes - to a point anyway - and makes no excuses when he sees the flag fly.

It's just that he'd prefer not to see the yellow hankies in flight so often, which at the moment seems to be nearly all the time.

The Steelers (2-2), who have long prided themselves on their discipline, are playing like a team that doesn't have much. Pittsburgh leads the NFL in penalties per game (9.2) and penalty yards per game (86.5) and is on pace to shatter team records in both categories.

``In some instances we have some guys working hard and not necessarily smart,'' Tomlin said. ``Those things usually smooth themselves out as you push through the first quarter of the season.''

Maybe, but at this point there's nowhere to go but up heading into Thursday's game at Tennessee (1-4). While penalties were up across the league when the replacement officials were working, they've come back down to earth a bit since the regular referees returned to work.

Just not in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers were flagged nine times for 106 yards in a 16-14 win over Philadelphia last week and were fortunate the repeated miscues didn't send them to their first two-game losing streak in three years.

Personal foul penalties on safeties Ryan Clark and Ryan Mundy gave the Eagles 30 free yards on a third quarter touchdown drive that got Philadelphia back in the game and left guard Willie Colon's holding penalty on the first play of Pittsburgh's final possession - the fourth flag Colon drew on the day - pushed the Steelers all the way back to their 10.

Pittsburgh rallied behind quarterback Ben Roethlisberger but the Steelers are well aware they don't have a ton of wiggle room as it is and handing out a football field's worth of penalty yardage a game isn't exactly good for business.

``They're just small mental errors,'' center Maurkice Pouncey said. ``It's a part of football. Sometimes it happens. That's something that we've got to tighten up if we want to be the team we want to be.''

Perhaps, but the truth is the Steelers have climbed the ranks of the most penalized teams in the league under Tomlin. Pittsburgh was one of the eight fewest penalized teams in the NFL in each of Bill Cowher's finals three years on the sideline.

Since Tomlin took over in 2007, the trend has reversed. The Steelers have been among the 10 most penalized teams three times over the last five seasons and barring a significant and immediate downturn will make it four out of six this fall.

The flags haven't stopped Pittsburgh from being one of the league's elite teams, but the club's margin for error is slimmer than ever. The Steelers are 0-2 on the road this year, including a 34-31 setback in Oakland last month in which the Raiders used a handful of Pittsburgh infractions to put together a spirited fourth-quarter comeback.

The Steelers insist they're not trying to develop a reputation, but they may have gotten one anyway. Linebacker James Harrison has enjoyed a steady stream of fines over the last three years while Mundy has already been docked $21,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Oakland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey that knocked Heyward-Bey out cold.

A second fine could be coming if league officials feel the 15-yard penalty Mundy received for slamming into Philadelphia's Jeremy Maclin on Sunday wasn't sufficient.

If Harrison can be honest, however, he doesn't think either Mundy or Clark deserved a flag.

``Ryan (Mundy), didn't look like it hit helmet-to-helmet, but the guy made like he was hurt and if it looks like the guy is hurt, let's throw a flag and worry about it later,'' Harrison said.

The four-time Pro Bowler and former Defensive Player of the Year added he's not sure all teams are being treated equally, saying he frequently sees players from different teams commit similar acts. One player will get fined while the other avoids trouble altogether.

``I just think they need to display or execute the rules evenly across the board,'' Harrison said.

Cornerback Ike Taylor is a little more diplomatic, saying the referees have ``a tough job'' and that ``life ain't fair'' while nose tackle Casey Hampton says it's nearly impossible to avoid certain collisions.

``You try to hit a guy that's moving full speed and see if you're not going to hit him in the head every now and then,'' Hampton said. ``It's just part of this business, something you've got to work on. Not sure how much more you can do.''

What the Steelers know they have to do, however, is be on their best behavior. Colon, who switched from right tackle to left guard this season, admits he didn't make it difficult on the refs against the Eagles. He allowed his four holding calls were all pretty blatant and blamed his own poor technique and overaggression for drawing the attention of the umpire.

``I've got to do a better job,'' Colon said. ``If they're targeting me, I've got to give them a reason not to.''

Tomlin remains optimistic his team will fall back into the norm and while players like Colon can work on their form, Tomlin will never make his players apologize for playing hard.

``I'd rather say `whoa' than `sic'em,''' Tomlin said.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Eric DeckerSep 19 03:07p

New York Jets WR Eric Decker (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19. Head coach Rex Ryan suggested that Decker would not have to practice to be [ More ]

Jamaal CharlesSep 19 03:05p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (ankle) was practicing with the team for the second straight day Friday, Sept. 19, after missing practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, with a high [ More ]

Josh GordonSep 19 03:02p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon's suspension has officially been reduced from 16 games to 10 games, according to the NFL and NFL Players Association.

Josh McCownSep 19 03:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) will start Week 4 if he is healthy enough to play, according to head coach Lovie Smith.

C. WhitehurstSep 19 03:02p

Tennessee Titans CB Jason McCourty (groin) was limited in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and is questionable for Week 3. QB Charlie Whitehurst (finger) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle) fully [ More ]

Colin ColeSep 19 02:52p

Carolina Panthers RB Fozzy Whittaker (thigh) is listed as doubtful for Week 3. WR Jason Avant (thigh) and WR Jerricho Cotchery (thigh) are listed as questionable, while OT Byron [ More ]

Keith RiversSep 19 02:52p

Buffalo Bills LB Randell Johnson (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 3. LB Keith Rivers (groin) was limited in [ More ]

Jordan CameronSep 19 02:42p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) will be a game-time decision in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens. Head coach Mike Pettine said he was 'cautiously optimistic' that Cameron [ More ]

Wes WelkerSep 19 02:42p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has practiced with the team all week and is ready to play in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks. He practiced in full [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 19 02:32p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh) was limited during practice Friday, Sept. 19, and is listed as questionable for Week 3.

Todd HerremansSep 19 02:22p

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) has been ruled out for Week 3. WR Josh Huff (shoulder) is listed as doubtful, OT Matt Tobin (ankle) and SS Earl Wolff [ More ]

DeSean JacksonSep 19 02:22p

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), who was limited in practice Friday, Sept. 19, didn't look 100 percent fluid in individual drills, but he was able to catch the [ More ]

Steve WeatherfordSep 19 02:12p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot) and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring) both did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and have been ruled out for the team's [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Sep 19 02:12p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 3.

Ben TateSep 19 01:32p

Cleveland Browns RB Ben Tate (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 3.

Josh McCownSep 19 01:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) is scheduled to have an MRI on a thumb injury Friday, Sept. 19. The belief is that the thumb is sprained.

DeSean JacksonSep 19 12:42p

Washington Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Head coach Jay Gruden said Jackson made steps in a 'positive direction,' [ More ]

Jordan ReedSep 19 12:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) has been ruled out of Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

John AbrahamSep 19 12:32p

Arizona Cardinals LB John Abraham (concussion) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Sept. 19.

Jonathan DwyerSep 19 12:22p

Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer, who was charged in a domestic violence case involving his wife and young son, may not return to the team unless he's exonerated from [ More ]

Josh McCownSep 19 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) doesn't yet have a defined timetable to return, head coach Lovie Smith said. Smith also didn't address whether QB Mike Glennon would [ More ]

Paul KrugerSep 19 11:42a

Cleveland Browns LB Paul Kruger has two sacks, eight tackles (three for a loss) and a pass defensed. He's having a breakthrough in the new system designed by head [ More ]

A.J. GreenSep 19 10:52a

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said he feels good Friday, Sept. 19, and is ready to play in Week 3.

Shaun HillSep 19 09:42a

St. Louis Rams QB Shaun Hill (thigh) will be a game-time decision in Week 3.

Cam NewtonSep 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs, ankle) is unlikely to be 100 percent the rest of the season. He experiences pain the night after the games and receives treatment [ More ]

Julio JonesSep 19 09:12a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones, who was probable entering Week 3 of the NFL season, hauled in nine catches for 161 yards and scored twice in a 56-14 win [ More ]

Bobby RaineySep 19 09:02a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Bobby Rainey, starting in place of injured RB Doug Martin (knee), led the team with seven catches for 64 yards Thursday, Sept. 18, against the [ More ]

Josh McCownSep 19 03:22a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said it is too soon to tell how long QB Josh McCown (thumb) may be out following his thumb injury suffered Thursday, Sept. [ More ]

Shelby HarrisSep 19 02:32a

Although the Oakland Raiders waived DE Shelby Harris, the team may still re-sign him back to the practice squad.

Emmanuel AchoSep 19 12:42a

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) is considered very doubtful for the team's Week 3 game, according to head coach Chip Kelly. LB Emmanuel Acho likely would start at [ More ]

Derek CoxSep 19 12:32a

The Chicago Bears worked out free-agent WR Damian Williams (Dolphins), WR Kyle Williams (Chiefs), CB Derek Cox (Ravens) and CB Brandon Ghee (Chargers) this week.

LaMichael JamesSep 18 11:32p

The Miami Dolphins have expressed interest in free-agent RB LaMichael James (49ers) and it is believed that he has some interest in the team. James is expected to take [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group