Jim Caldwell was not my favorite NFL coach.
That's putting it mildly.
Let's just say I pretty much despised the way he coached on the sidelines each week.
Nevertheless, Jim Caldwell's teams had one thing that Chuck Pagano could take a page from: penalties.
The Colts have already had issues this season with penalties, and this week's loss to Jacksonville was directly affected by several of them.
To put this in perspective, let's compare this team to last year's (bad, but coached by Caldwell) team.
The 2011 Colts had the fewest penalties in the league with 76 penalties for 549 yards. Through three games they had earned just 11 penalties for 71 yards.
Through three games, the 2012 Colts have earned 21 penalties for 176 yards.
Now, the replacement official effect should be taken into account here, but looking at the numbers, there isn't a very significant difference in the number of penalties the officials are calling than the regular officials (their calling less than 2% more right now than last year's pace)
If you take a look at the Colts' loss against the Jaguars, you can see several calls in the second half alone that clearly affected the game's outcome.
- In the first drive of the third quarter, Donald Brown took a draw play 10 yards behind the right tackle, but the play was called back on a holding penalty on Seth Olsen. Olsen had blocked a guy to the ground, and then held his arm back with one hand as he tried to get up. At that point, Brown was through the hole, and it was unlikely that a defensive lineman was going to catch him from behind. It was a silly penalty that did not in any way need to be committed. The penalty put the Colts in 2nd and 20, which the offense couldn't overcome, and had to punt.
- On the Jaguars final drive of the third quarter, there were several Colt penalties that allowed the Jaguars to keep moving, and finally score a touchdown. The first was an offsides call on Mathis, negating a good stop on a Jones-Drew run, and giving the Jaguars a free down. Later in the drive, Vontae Davis was called TWICE for pass interference, contributing 30 yards to the Jaguars' drive, including the final one that set the Glitter Kitties up with a first and goal.
- After the touchdown, the Colts committed a holding penalty (Mario Harvey) on the ensuing kickoff, pushing them back 13 yards from where the return ended. The drive stalled on the Jaguars 13.
- After that drive stalled, the Colts were called for a delay of game penalty on the field goal attempt, pushing them back five yards. The 36-yard kick was literally inches away from being above the upright, and therefore good. With the extra five yards, or the 12 from the beginning of the drive, the kick (as was) would have been good.
- After the defense forced a three-and-out, Dwayne Allen and Mewelde Moore both committed holding penalties, taking 20 yards away from the Colts. The Colts were faced with a third-and-20 after the Moore penalty, failed to convert, and were forced to punt.
Now, obviously it's easy to play the "What if?" game after the fact, but it's plain to see that the Colts received penalties at crucial points in the game, which affected not only the Jaguars comeback, but obstructed the Colts from coming back themselves. No matter what may have happened, it would have been a different scenario.
I like Chuck Pagano. I think he's a good motivator, and players like him and buy into what he's saying. It leads for a more unified and driven team.
But, so far this season, the Colts' in-game evidence of good coaching (adjustments, playcalling, and on-field discipline) has been lacking. The coaches HAVE to focus on this throughout the bye week. The Colts had 11 penalties in the Minnesota game alone, and when it's so closely affecting the game in one as close as this week's contest was, it's concerning.
The Colts will be pressed to win games this season anyway, and having issues like that is severely hampering that ability.
This has always been my "gut" feeling since Pagano was named Head Colts... He may become a very competent NFL head coach, but he will never be special. (He coaches too much just like every one else and brings no originality.)
He will be Luck's Mora. i just hope the Colts' find Luck's Dungy.
"The 2011 Colts had the fewest penalties in the league with 160 penalties (84 offense and 76 defense) for 1353 yards. Through three games they had earned just 11 penalties for 71 yards.
Through three games, the 2012 Colts have earned 21 penalties for 176 yards."
While I admit they aren't doing well in the penalties department this year, Caldwell's numbers extrapolate to worse than that for a three game span. At 160 penalties for the season, for 1353 yards, that's 10 penalties per game for about 85 yards. Over three games, that's 30 penalties for 253 yards - much worse than Pagano's existing 3 game stretch. Pagano's numbers right now are 7-59 per game.
The 160 penalties was a mistake, due to the way the stats are worded, Whoops! I meant to update it, but I just updated the three game span one.
So the stats I found said that the 2011 Colts had 76 penalties last year for 549 yards. That would be about 5 penalties for 34 yards per game, which makes much more sense. In fact it was the most penalized team in the league, Oakland, that had 163 penalties for 1358 yards last year, from what I'm reading. On Pagano's current pace, they'd have 112 penalties (t-8th worst in 2011) for 938 (9th worst in 2011).
Penalties allow bad teams to stay in games. Gabbert is not good, but if you give him enough mulligans... well... as they say... even a blind squirrel finds a nut, once in a while.
First, I agree with you. Penalties kill. However, just doing a quick look at teams who were heavily penalized last year as opposed to those who were not show that penalties do not really give any indication of a teams ability to win. On defense in particular, the best defenses seem to be middle of the pack on flags (Pittsburgh 8th, Baltimore 19th, Giants 23rd). Defensive penalties are probably an indication of the aggressive new scheme (although Davis and King have been concerning me with the timing of their penalties).
Offensive penalties don't seem to be a better indicator of team success. Worst teams for offensive penalties last year: Oakland, Seattle, Detroit, Tampa Bay (Detroit was very good though). Best teams for offensive penalties last year: Indy, Green Bay, Jax, Miami
@mattshedd What about looking at total penalties per game for the whole team., I believe that is what the article was referring to.
GB was 1st, NE was 4th Baltimore was 8th, ATL was 9th, NO 10th, Giants 12th.
Also even though I put the Giants on this list, they barely made the playoffs.
When thinking about the top teams they tend to be in the top half.