- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Every Wednesday morning Joe Gibbs gathers the entire Washington Redskins roster and coaching staff to watch the penalties committed by the team the previous week.

Gibbs may have to extend the meeting by about 30 minutes today.

The Redskins’ penalty problems continued in their win at Houston on Sunday with 12 flags (three others were declined) for 126 yards.

Through three games, the Redskins lead the NFL with 30 penalties for 298 yards.

“That is reflective of the head coach,” said Gibbs, a master at deflecting praise for positive things and taking all responsibility for the negatives. “Normally teams that are very disciplined, they don’t have penalties.”

The Redskins are on pace for an astonishing 160 penalties for an equally amazing 1,588 yards. The 1998 Kansas City Chiefs hold the NFL records for most penalties (158) and penalty yards (1,304) in a season.

Through three games in 2004, the Redskins had 17 penalties for 160 yards. last year, they had 19 penalties for 135 yards in a 3-0 start.

In Gibbs’ first two seasons back with the Redskins, the team had only six games of 10-plus penalties and only two games of 100-plus yards in flags.

This season, the Redskins penalty totals are: Seven for 55 against Minnesota, 11 for 117 yards at Dallas and 12 for 126 at Houston.

“When you play a game against an excellent football team like Jacksonville, the odds are that if we have another day like we did with penalties, it’s going to bite us,” Gibbs said. “And it’s already cost us this year.”

Although the Redskins haven’t had a touchdown called back because of penalty, their field position on offense has been compromised by special teams penalties and the defense has kept an opponent’s drive alive via a third-down penalty.

Gibbs said playing a video of the penalties was linebacker coach Dale Lindsey’s idea.

“We don’t do it to embarrass somebody in front of the team, but in a way, it is [embarrassing] because they’re seeing who was responsible for the penalty,” Gibbs said. “We go through every single one of them. Even if it’s something that shouldn’t have been called, the point is, this is what’s being called and it’s killing us.”

The video didn’t help things for the Houston game. On the game’s first play, a long Rock Cartwright kick return was brought back because of a Demetric Evans holding penalty. The special teams has five accepted penalties this year. The offense has 12 penalties and the defense 13.

Last season, only three of the 13 teams that had 120 or more penalties reached the playoffs. And 22 teams had more than the Redskins’ 106 penalties.

Six players have been called for at least two penalties. The Redskins’ offensive line has nine infractions and the secondary has 10 penalties.

“If it continues, we’ll lose games because it’s something you just can’t be doing,” Gibbs said. “I know how serious it is and we have to get it fixed. We’ll try every single thing we can this week and hope there’s an improvement.”

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