Redskins Coach Jay Gruden liked many of the things he saw in Sunday’s win over the Eagles.
The 10 penalties for a season-high 110 yards nullified, obviously, were not among those things.
In the end, the rash of flags did not cost the Redskins, who rallied for a 23-20 victory. But they almost did. And Gruden and his players know that it’s a problem that must be dealtRedsk with sooner rather than later.
Through four games, in fact, the Redskins have been assessed the fifth most penalties—35—not including declined and offsetting fouls.
“I don’t know,” Gruden said, asked how to limit the penalties. “I haven’t figured it out yet because our numbers are still pretty high. I think we’ve just got to keep preaching the fundamentals.”
Gruden added: “Some of those penalties were bang-bang calls but we’ve just got to get our pads down. We had a late hit on the quarterback. …We’ve just got to keep coaching it up and showing [the players] examples and work on the fundamentals in practice.”
The game turned on a couple of fouls in the third quarter. Rookie Quinton Dunbar, making his NFL debut, was whistled for unnecessary roughness when he hit Darren Sproles after the Eagles’ returner signaled for a fair catch. Two plays later, safety Trenton Robinson was assessed a questionable flag for his hit on wide receiver Jordan Matthews, whom the official considered to be in a defenseless position.
Those two penalties shortened the field considerably for Sam Bradford and Co., and they capitalized with a touchdown that evened the score 13-13.
In the fourth quarter, a second personal foul on Robinson—one that Redskins captain Dashon Goldson vehemently argued—helped the Eagles pull ahead 20-16.
Fortunately for Robinson, Kirk Cousins and Pierre Garcon made sure the penalties did not cost the Redskins a win. But, as Gruden said, tackling and blocking technique will be a point of emphasis in practice this week. The Redskins have been flagged for offensive holding (11 times) more than any other infraction.
“I was very concerned about [the penalties],” running back Chris Thompson told me on Redskins Postgame Live. “Coming into the game, we needed to limit our penalties. We’re at the top for penalties as far as our offense goes. So we needed to limit the penalties, but our guys kept fighting hard and we still ended up getting the win.”
Only the Bills, Buccaneers, Raiders and Packers have been assessed more penalties than the Redskins.