A facet of the game the Las Vegas Raiders must improve on is penalties. So far, the Silver and Black have been unable to establish discipline in that regard the last three seasons.
On-field discipline is something that all NFL teams strive for. We’ve all seen penalties constantly kill offensive momentum. By the same token, they also give opposing defenses life. All it takes is for a holding penalty to bring a drive to an end or worse, void the team from scoring a touchdown. The penalties must go down if Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is going to have his team to take a leap in 2020. Even more concerning is a trend that’s been all over the place the last three years. This isn’t to say Gruden isn’t emphasizing discipline. Rather, it means the players also share the blame. Other than the offensive line and save for a handful of players, this is a young team, and penalties can be an issue.
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What Picture Do The Numbers Paint?
Regardless of the excuses, take a look at last year’s penalties. The Raiders were flagged for 21 offensive holdings, 15 false starts, and illegal formations twice. Most concerning would be the offensive holdings, which cost the Raiders a total of 200 yards last season.
The year before that under Gruden, the Raiders were flagged for 23 false starts in total. Furthermore, they were called 20 times for offensive holding and four times for illegal formation. With regards to offensive holding, the team lost 200 yards and the false starts cost them 115 yards.
If you look at Gruden’s two seasons, the verdict is his team has been inconsistent at best. For example, the false starts went down from 23 to 15, an improvement no doubt. However, the offensive holdings actually increased by one. It doesn’t sound like much but it not’s a good thing either. Yet, during Jack Del Rio’s final year as Raiders head coach in 2017, the team had 28 offensive holdings. In other words, Gruden’s definitely trying to instill his own discipline, and perhaps next season, it will all come together.
Discipline will be key in 2020 as the Raiders open up their new home in Las Vegas. They will have to mediate penalties due to lapses in reason. Another issue is how the NFL will be looking at the Raiders. In other words, will the referees have it out for them once again? Back in January, Silver and Black Today ran a story using analytics that were researched showing there’s a “bias” against the Raiders. Given the possibility that such blatantly unfairness exists, the Raiders will have to make sure they’re on point in 2020. For a team looking to bounce back, needlessly giving up penalties will have to be curtailed.
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*Top Photo: D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press