Eagles are consistently being flagged

Posted: October 05, 2010

Consistency is usually a good thing for a football team - but not when it comes to penalties.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they have been very consistent in costing themselves yardage with infractions. In their first four games of the season the Eagles have been flagged for 80, 75, 84 and 80 yards of penalties.

Their 34 total penalties are fourth most in the league. They have given up 319 yards by penalty, tied with the Cardinals for second most. Only the Titans, who have been penalized for 344 yards, are worse.

After taking eight penalties in a 17-12 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday, head coach Andy Reid said responsibility for the missteps falls on him.

"We had way too many penalties. I take a lot of pride in having a disciplined, hard-nosed football team, and eight penalties for 80 yards is way too much, and some of those were at crucial times," Reid said.

Indeed. On the Eagles' first defensive play of the game, Quintin Mikell's horse collar tackle turned a 5-yard gain into 20. The Redskins scored two plays later. Guard Max Jean-Gilles nullified a 23-yard Michael Vick run that would have given the Eagles a first down inside the Redskins' 1-yard line. The Eagles had to settle for a field goal.

One of the most glaring penalties fell on Reid's shoulders, when the Eagles took a delay of game after a time-out near the end of the first half. Instead of trying for a touchdown from inside the 1-yard line, they had to settle for a field goal from the 6.

There were questions about how quickly the play clock started after the time-out, but an NFL spokesman said the Eagles were properly notified about the end of the 30-second time-out. In real time, a little more than a minute elapsed between when the time-out was called and the delay-of-game penalty

"In terms of the delay of game and the mechanics of restarting play after the time-out, the referee blows his whistle, makes a physical and verbal signal to the bench area, and then gives the signal for the play clock to begin. This is what took place in Sunday's game," NFL spokesman Mike Signora wrote in an e-mail.

Reid, for the second consecutive day, accepted blame for the mistake but also hinted that there might be more to it.

"I know that's a controversial situation, but again that's completely my responsibility there, and I take full fault of that," Reid said.

But asked what he might do differently if he could repeat the situation, Reid said, "I would love to tell you everything, but I'm not going to do that. That would be an expensive answer."

Left unsaid by Reid was that he would likely be fined by the NFL for an answer criticizing the officials.

After the game, Reid attributed some of the goal-line problems to a change in the spot of the ball, which, he said, required the Eagles to change their fourth-down play call, taking more time and contributing to the delay of game.

But the NFL said Monday that the original spot was confirmed by replay and was not changed.

Leading the penalty parade in 2010 has been left tackle Jason Peters, who took his fourth and fifth penalties of the season, including a holding that negated a 32-yard Kevin Kolb scramble.

Reid defended Peters.

"He's working his tail off. That's the first thing. These aren't penalties that are loafing penalties or he's not moving his feet or he's tired or any of that," Reid said. "We just have to stay disciplined and focused with hands in the holding category, making sure that we're tight with the hands."

Peters, however, has taken 17 penalties for the Eagles since he signed a six-year $60 million contract in 2009. He led the Eagles with 10 penalties in 2009, according to stat mavens Football Outsiders, added two in the team's wild-card playoff loss and has five so far this season.

Reid, however, deflected a question about whether he was disappointed in his big signing.

"If he wasn't trying hard and didn't have the effort, then there might be a disappointment there. But he'll work through this," Reid said.

Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com.

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