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

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is expected to be inactive for the Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source Friday, Oct. 24.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source. The team has a bye in [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) missed his sixth consecutive game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he could return to practice as [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) missed his third straight game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he might be able to return to practice Monday, Oct. 27.

Alan BallOct 24 07:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely thin at cornerback heading into the team's Week 8 game, with CBs Alan Ball (biceps) out, and Dwayne Gratz (hip flexor) questionable. There is [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 24 06:32p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe) and WR Bryan [ More ]

Khalif BarnesOct 24 06:32p

Oakland Raiders OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps) is expected to start at right tackle in Week 8, but head coach Tony Sparano would not say if Barnes or OT Menelik [ More ]

LaMarr WoodleyOct 24 06:22p

Oakland Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) are expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Dion SimsOct 24 06:02p

Miami Dolphins SS Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Koa Misi (ankle) is listed as questionable, while OT Branden Albert (elbow), LS John Denney [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 24 05:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DT Phil Taylor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8. DE Billy Winn (quadriceps) and SS Jim Leonhard (ankle) are listed [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 24 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 24 05:32p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot) had surgery to repair a foot injury this week. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Brandon BrownerOct 24 05:32p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8. OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 24 05:32p

Houston Texans CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. LBs Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 24 05:22p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. DE Calais Campbell (knee) is questionable, while S Rashad Johnson (knee) and [ More ]

Morgan BurnettOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. S Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable, while CB Sam Shields [ More ]

James StarksOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Friday, Oct. 24, but is probable for Week 8 against the New Orleans [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 24 05:02p

Chicago Bears LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are doubtful for Week 8. S Danny McCray (knee) did [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 24 05:02p

Washington Redskins CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) and FS Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) were limited during practice Friday, Oct. 24. DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry [ More ]

Jack CrawfordOct 24 04:52p

Dallas Cowboys OT Doug Free (foot) and DE Jack Crawford (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24. Anthony Spencer (knee) was limited during practice, while LB Bruce [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 24 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. DT Brodrick Bunkley [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 24 04:32p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) both were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are questionable for Week 8. OT Oday [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 24 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Christopher Owens (knee) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and S Eric Berry (ankle) are [ More ]

Khiry RobinsonOct 24 04:22p

New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 24 04:12p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

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