Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan got all the attention.
But he’s just a symptom of a larger disease.
The Redskins go into Week 3 leading the league in penalties by a significant margin, and Morgan’s brain-lock personal foul at the end of the loss at St. Louis last week is just one of them.
“It’s on the person,” defensive end Stephen Bowen said, via Rich Campbell of the Washington Times. “Every person has got to look each other in the eyes and say, ‘We’ve got to get it done. No mental issues, no offsides. If you feel like you’re going to get a holding [penalty], let him go.’ You’ve got to be technique sound.”
The Redskins have 23 penalties for 223 yards in two games. The Eagles are next with 19 for 168.
So as tempting as it might be to blame replacement refs for some of the problems, that’s an apples-to-apples comparison that shines light.
“Well, you have to look at the penalties,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “We are a very disciplined football team. There were a number of those calls that shouldn’t have been called and a number of calls that should have been called.”
History’s on Shanahan’s side, as he generally hasn’t coached undisciplined teams.
The Redskins were seventh in the league at avoiding penalties last year, 10th in 2010. When Shanahan was in Denver, the Broncos were in the top six four of his five seasons from 2004-08.
But this year, 19 different players have been flagged, many of them avoidable.
“We’ve got to continue to work at it, not have the offside penalties, false starts — things you can control,” linebacker London Fletcher said. “It’s uncharacteristic of us to be the most penalized team.”
With a rookie quarterback (no matter how good he is) and two of their top defensive players out for the year already, the Redskins don’t have much margin for error. They can’t give away anything.