AFC East: penalty tracker

Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

December, 12, 2009
12/12/09
9:08
PM ET
One of the bigger stories that lingered from last weekend was Flozell Adams' unsportsmanlike blindside hit.

The Dallas Cowboys left tackle was fined $50,000 for jacking New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck from behind on a missed field goal. After the whistle, Adams and defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka tried to snap each other's heads off like dandelions.

So that got me to wondering who the AFC East's nasty boys have been this year.

I've been sharing overall penalty counts within the division every Saturday, but this week I wanted to outline who has been flagged for the most 15-yard penalties this year. The NFL rulebook outlines 19 penalties that draw 15 yards, including face mask, roughing the passer, chop blocks and such.

Of the 65 players who have been busted for more than one major penalty, eight hail from the AFC East.

Buffalo Bills rookie safety Jairus Byrd and New England Patriots safety Bret Lockett, placed on injured reserve this week, lead the division with three apiece.

Byrd's penalties cost the Bills 28 yards on two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. He also had an offsetting unnecessary roughness. Lockett's penalties were worth 26 yards on a face mask and a taunting. Lockett had an illegal blindside block declined.

Two other Bills, cornerback Reggie Corner and linebacker Kawika Mitchell, have been zapped for two 15-yarders.

The strangest name on the AFC East list is New York Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, the only offensive player. He has been cited twice for a low block on an interception return.

The rest of the rundown with two 15-yard penalties apiece: Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork, Jets safety James Ihedigbo (one of only four NFL players to be kicked out of a game this year) and Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder.

New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper leads the NFL with five major penalties. Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith and Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers have four each.

Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

December, 5, 2009
12/05/09
6:52
PM ET
The AFC East has been on its best behavior lately.

Division teams are averaging 2.7 marked-off penalties since Week 12, including the New York Jets' 19-13 victory over the New York Jets on Thursday night.

There were only four flags in that game. Buffalo, among the league penalty leaders all season, committed one false start and nothing more. New York drew three penalties for 18 yards.

It was a continuation of the obedience executed the weekend before.


The Jets committed three penalties for 23 yards in their triumph over the Carolina Panthers. The Bills had three penalties for 20 yards in their late blowout of the Miami Dolphins.

One of few positives the New England Patriots took out of Monday night's debacle in the Superdome was they had zero penalty yardage, a first for an AFC East team this year. Tom Brady's intentional grounding was offset. Right tackle Nick Kaczur's illegal formation was declined.

The lone exception last week was Miami, one of the NFL's most disciplined clubs.

Just four teams have been penalized fewer times and for fewer yards than the Dolphins, but they drew seven flags, six of which were accepted for 50 yards.

Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

November, 28, 2009
11/28/09
4:21
PM ET
Two penalty-related items caught my eye on Mike Reiss' blog at ESPNBoston.com.

Reiss noted the New England Patriots already had surpassed last season's total of accepted penalties, and quarterback Tom Brady had been cited for delay of game almost as many times in 2009 as his previous seven seasons combined.

I figured I would see how those numbers compare in a broader context.

The Patriots, who were the NFL's least-penalized team last year, aren't alone in already exceeding last year's penalty count.


Officials already have marched off 75 infractions against the Buffalo Bills. Their 71 accepted penalties last year were the NFL's second-fewest.

The New York Jets haven't been as disciplined under Rex Ryan as they were last year under Eric Mangini. Only five teams had fewer than their 77 accepted penalties last year. They have 61 accepted penalties this year, putting them on pace for 98.

The Miami Dolphins have been on the AFC East's best behavior with 51 accepted penalties, tying them for second-fewest in the league. But that puts them on pace for the same number of fouls as last year, when they finished 21st with 81.

As for delay-of-game calls, Brady has twice as many as all but five NFL quarterbacks and twice as many as the other AFC East quarterbacks put together.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer leads the NFL with seven delay penalties for 34 yards. Brady is second with six for 30 yards.

Because fans always want to know how Brady compares with the other elite quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have been charged with letting the play clock expire three times apiece.

New York Jets rookie Mark Sanchez (twice) and Miami Dolphins sophomore Chad Henne (once) represent the AFC East's other delay calls.

Buffalo Bills quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards haven't been flagged once. I guess that no-huddle offense was good for something.

Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

November, 21, 2009
11/21/09
12:15
PM ET
When it comes to false starts, the Buffalo Bills have been finger-choppin' bad.

At his first practice Wednesday, interim head coach Perry Fewell gave an indication of how much tolerance he'll have for false starts. The Bills lead the NFL by far with 23 false starts, about twice the league average.

When an unnamed offensive player jumped, Fewell flipped.

"I started to cut the guy's finger off when he jumped offsides, but [trainer] Bud [Carpenter] told me I shouldn't do that," Fewell joked. "So I kind of got up in their face a little bit and just made my presence felt and just told them, 'Hey men, now it's first-and-15. We've got 5 more yards to hold instead of being first-and-10.'

"It's not acceptable. We've got to focus and we have to concentrate. That's the way we're going to get better."

I wonder what Fewell would have done had he been within range of bird-flipping Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams on Sunday.

If Fewell actually did cut off a finger for every false start, Buffalo's offensive line wouldn't be able to get into a three-point stance.

The Bills are way ahead of the rest of the league. They have committed 44 percent more false starts than the next-worst offenders. The Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions are tied for second with 16 false starts apiece. The league average is 11.8.

Bills left tackle Demetrius Bell and San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis are tied for the NFL lead with six false starts each, but Bell has played in one fewer game because of an injury.

Right tackle Jonathan Scott and rookie right guard Andy Levitre are next on the Bills' list with three each, a total that would rank first for 17 other teams. Scott has played only four games.

Every member of the Bills' offensive line has jumped at least once. Center Geoff Hangartner and reserve Seth McKinney are the only ones who haven't done it multiple times.

Around the rest of the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins (counting Thursday's game) and New England Patriots have committed 12 false starts. The New York Jets have jumped 14 times.

Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

October, 31, 2009
10/31/09
1:47
PM ET
Indianapolis Star reporter Phil Richards wrote a piece this week about the spike in roughing the passer calls thanks to the so-called Tom Brady rule.

There has been a lot of whining from defensive players and pundits. They've mocked the rule as one step closer to two-hand touch.

After Brady theatrically gestured to an official, who threw the flag on Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs for roughing, Brady's old teammate, Rodney Harrison, jokingly told Brady to take his skirt off and play like a man.

Richards noted there have been 38 roughing the passer calls so far this year, a pace that projects a 36.2 percent increase over last year's total.

The NFL doesn't differentiate a "Brady rule" penalty from any other roughing the passer call. So it's difficult to tell which flags were thrown specifically for the new rule, which protects quarterbacks from defender's lunging helmet -- or shoulder-first at a quarterback's legs (defenders are allowed to use their arms and wrap in that area).

AFC East players have been responsible for six of the 38 calls.

The Patriots lead the way, and are third in the NFL, with three roughing the passer penalties. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Adalius Thomas were called for it on opening night on Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards. Ty Warren was charged in Week 5 on Denver Broncos thrower Kyle Orton.
AFC East team-by-team penalties
Team Players Flagged Total Flags Accepted Yards
Buffalo Bills 35 65 55 422
New England Patriots 26 50 44 347
New York Jets 25 54 46 341
Miami Dolphins 23 42 36 298

Buffalo has been whistled twice: linebacker Kawika Mitchell in Week 2 and defensive lineman Spencer Johnson last Sunday.

Miami Dolphins defensive end Kendall Langford has his team's only roughing call. His came in Week 4.

The New York Jets have not been called for roughing the passer, which is noteworthy given how often they blitz.
AFC East Penalty Tracker
Player Team Pos. Flagged* Yards
Will Allen Dolphins CB 5 69
Mark Sanchez Jets QB 6 57
Logan Mankins Patriots LG 5 41
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Jets LT 4 35
Geoff Hangartner Bills C 3 30
Kawika Mitchell Bills LB 2 30
Jairus Byrd Bills S 3 28
Demetrius Bell Bills LT 9 27
Eric Wood Bills LG 5 25
Stephen Neal Patriots RG 4 25
Jake Grove Dolphins C 4 24
Chris Baker Patriots TE 3 21
Shawn Nelson Bills TE 3 21
Tom Brady Patriots QB 4 20
Dan Koppen Patriots C 4 20
Andy Levitre Bills RG 3 20
Vince Wilfork Patriots DT 3 20
*Includes declined and offsetting penalties

Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

October, 24, 2009
10/24/09
2:12
PM ET
There's value in taking a look beyond the number of penalties a team commits to see what it's being flagged for most often.

If a team keeps getting caught for the same infraction, it can be telling.

Nine teams have double-digit flags for a specific penalty. But four of them -- the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers -- have hit double figures in two categories.

As one would expect, false start and offensive holding are hindering these teams the most. They are football's two most commonly called fouls.

The Bills have been whistled for 16 false starts (most in the NFL) and 10 offensive holdings. Those penalties account for 43 percent of their league-high 61 flags, including declined and offsetting fouls.
AFC East team-by-team penalties
Team Players Flagged Total Flags Accepted Yards
Buffalo Bills 35 61 52 400
New York Jets 25 51 44 333
New England Patriots 24 40 34 281
Miami Dolphins 19 32 28 243

Left tackle Demetrius Bell has the most false starts with four, half of his league-high eight penalties. But it should be noted Cincinnati Bengals guard Andrew Whitworth caught him in total flags, albeit with one more game, and Bell made it through his first NFL game without a penalty in Sunday's sudden-death victory over the Jets.

The Jets have been whistled a dozen times each for false starts and holding. The Pittsburgh Steelers lead the NFL with 13 offensive holding calls. But no Jets offensive player has been called for holding more than once. Ahmad Carroll is the only player with two, and both of those came Sunday on punts.

One other recurring penalty has the Jets atop the league: 12 defensive men on the field. The Jets have been caught three times out of the 11 times it has been called league-wide.

Most commonly called against the New England Patriots have been six false starts, but they've been flagged for delay of game five times. Shame on you, Tom Brady.

The Miami Dolphins also have an unusual No. 2 penalty beyond their eight false starts. They've committed defensive pass interference four times for 70 yards. Left cornerback Will Allen has been responsible for three, tying him with St. Louis Rams cornerback Ron Bartell for the league lead.
AFC East Penalty Tracker
Player Team Pos. Flagged* Yards
Will Allen Dolphins CB 5 69
Mark Sanchez Jets QB 5 52
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Jets LT 4 35
Geoff Hangartner Bills C 3 30
Kawika Mitchell Bills LB 2 30
Jairus Byrd Bills S 2 28
Demetrius Bell Bills LT 8 25
Eric Wood Bills LG 5 25
Shawn Nelson Bills TE 3 21
Tom Brady Patriots QB 4 20
Stephen Neal Patriots RG 3 20
Vince Wilfork Patriots DT 3 20
Kendall Langford Dolphins DE 2 20
Matt Light Patriots LT 2 20
Erik Walden Dolphins LB 2 20
Damien Woody Jets RT 4 17
*Includes declined and offsetting penalties

Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

October, 17, 2009
10/17/09
12:55
PM ET
We've already hammered the Buffalo Bills enough this week about their proclivity for yellow flags.

Plenty has been written about their league-leading 51 flags and league-leading 44 accepted penalties and left tackle Demetrius Bell topping the NFL with eight calls all to his lonesome despite missing a game.
AFC East team-by-team penalties
Team Players Flagged Total Flags Accepted Yards
Buffalo Bills 31 51 44 336
Miami Dolphins 19 32 28 243
New England Patriots 21 34 28 241
New York Jets 20 34 30 237

Let's mention something positive about the Bills' penalty count.

They have not committed defensive pass interference yet this year.

In fact, a third of the nine teams that haven't committed defensive pass interference are in the AFC East.

The New England Patriots and New York Jets haven't been called for it either.

Miami Dolphins cornerback Will Allen, however, has been found guilty a league-high three times for 55 yards. Officials have charged Tennessee Titans cornerback Nick Harper three times, but for only 14 yards.

To be fair, Allen's first two calls were for 2 and 4 yards, but the latter came on third down and extended a San Diego Chargers touchdown drive in Week 3. The call at the goal line while defending Jets receiver Braylon Edwards on Monday night was dubious, but it went for 49 yards. The Jets scored on the next play.

The 49-yard penalty alone is more than all but one other NFL player's season total. Dallas Cowboys tackle Flozell Adams has been flagged seven times for 51 yards. Allen also has been penalized 4 yards for illegal contact and 10 yards for a personal foul that went half the distance to the goal line to put him in the league lead for most yards assessed.

Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell also has a pass interference for 15 yards. Five other clubs have committed defensive pass interference four times, but the Dolphins' 70 yards match the Pittsburgh Steelers for most surrendered.
AFC East Penalty Tracker
Player Team Pos. Flagged* Yards
Will Allen Dolphins CB 5 69
Mark Sanchez Jets QB 4 47
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Jets LT 3 30
Kawika Mitchell Bills LB 2 30
Jairus Byrd Bills S 2 28
Demetrius Bell Bills LT 8 25
Vince Wilfork Patriots DT 3 20
Geoff Hangartner Bills C 2 20
Kendall Langford Dolphins DE 2 20
Matt Light Patriots LT 2 20
Erik Walden Dolphins LB 2 20
Damien Woody Jets RT 4 17
Chris Baker Patriots TE 2 16
Shawn Nelson Bills TE 2 16
Eric Wood Bills LG 4 15
*Includes declined and offsetting penalties

Bills LT Bell leads NFL in yellow flags

October, 15, 2009
10/15/09
7:09
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


Each week, I outline all the illegal activity that takes place on the field with the AFC East penalty tracker.

I go through all the game books and record who did what and how many yards it cost him, then we produce a chart to illustrate how well each team minds its manners compared to the rest of the division.
Bell

For weeks, we've known that Buffalo Bills left tackle Demetrius Bell had been flagged more than any other AFC East player. This afternoon, I learned he's been whistled more than anybody in the league.

ESPN Stats & Information tells me Bell's eight flags are unsurpassed.

And Bell missed one of Buffalo's games because of a groin injury.

He has committed at least one penalty in every game he has played. He'll have a reason to be jumpy again Sunday, when the second-year pro faces the blitz-happy New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

Dallas Cowboys tackle Flozell Adams has committed seven penalties. Cincinnati Bengals guard Andrew Whitworth, Bengal quarterback Carson Palmer and Oakland Raiders tackle Cornell Green have committed six penalties apiece.

The Bills were confident in Bell, as evidenced by their decision to trade two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters and cut two-year starter Langston Walker.

Officials have flagged Bell four times for false starts, twice for holding and twice for illegal formation. The penalties have led to only 25 yards in losses. Two calls were declined, and another was for zero yards because the Bills were on their 1-yard line.

Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

October, 10, 2009
10/10/09
10:49
AM ET
Most everybody was on their best behavior in the AFC East last week.

Discipline, however, wasn't enough for two teams.

The AFC East's two losers -- the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets -- committed six penalties for 40 yards.
AFC East team-by-team penalties
Team Players Flagged Total Flags Accepted Yards
Buffalo Bills 24 36 31 261
New England Patriots 17 28 24 195
New York Jets 17 28 24 181
Miami Dolphins 14 23 20 131

After four weeks, the AFC East penalty tracker shows the Bills remain the division's most careless club despite a courteous afternoon against the Miami Dolphins in Land Shark Stadium.

The Dolphins are the AFC East's most disciplined team, but they took Week 4 rogue honors with five penalties for a respectable 41 yards. That's not a lot of yards, but officials zapped the Dolphins for two 15-yarders, their first of the season. They went into the game with only three 10-yard penalties.

But the guy to look out for so far has been New York Jets rookie Mark Sanchez. No AFC East player has been responsible for so much negative yardage.

How often does a quarterback get whistled for two 15-yard penalties inside four weeks? Sanchez has been flagged for two bush-league maneuvers on turnovers, his most recent occurring when he tried to take out New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's knees on an interception return.

Bills left tackle Demetrius Bell, who missed last week's game with a groin injury, still leads the division in number of infractions with six penalties (two were declined) for 20 yards.
AFC East Penalty Tracker
Player Team Pos. Flagged* Yards
Mark Sanchez Jets QB 3 35
Kawika Mitchell Bills LB 2 30
Jairus Byrd Bills S 2 28
Demetrius Bell Bills LT 6 20
Vince Wilfork Patriots DT 3 20
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Jets LT 2 20
Kendall Langford Dolphins DE 2 20
Matt Light Patriots LT 2 20
Erik Walden Dolphins LB 2 20
Will Allen Dolphins CB 3 16
Chris Baker Patriots TE 2 16
Shawn Nelson Bills TE 2 16
Tom Brady Patriots QB 3 15
Dan Koppen Patriots C 3 15
Adalius Thomas Patriots OLB 3 15
Eric Wood Bills RG 3 15
*Includes declined and offsetting penalties

Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

October, 3, 2009
10/03/09
9:30
AM ET
While their divisional rivals were mostly disciplined in Week 3, the Buffalo Bills shot to the top of the AFC East penalty tracker with Sunday's sloppy loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The Bills committed 14 penalties. A dozen of them were accepted for 116 yards.

Through three games, they've sustained 242 yards in penalties, 82 yards more than the division's No. 2 transgressors, the New York Jets.
AFC East team-by-team penalties
Team Players Flagged Total Flags Accepted Yards
Buffalo Bills 22 33 28 242
New York Jets 17 25 21 160
New England Patriots 15 19 19 154
Miami Dolphins 12 17 15 86

The Bills aren't good enough to give away that many yards. Particularly troubling is that they've been whistled for six majors (sorry for the hockey term): two unsportsmanlike conducts, two facemasks, one roughing the passer and one unnecessary roughness. The rest of the division combined has been called for seven such penalties.

Penalties are even more costly when you're shorthanded. The Bills have suffered heavy losses because of injuries. They will go into Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins in Land Shark Stadium minus at least four starters from their defense.

But maybe their flags will decrease without left tackle Demetrius Bell in the lineup. He's out because of a groin injury. Bell has been flagged six times, twice as often as anybody else in the AFC East.
AFC East Penalty Tracker
Player Team Pos. Flagged* Yards
Demetrius Bell Bills LT 6 20
Will Allen Dolphins CB 3 16
Tom Brady Patriots QB 3 15
Eric Wood Bills LG 3 15
Damien Woody Jets RT 3 12
Kawika Mitchell Bills LB 2 30
Jairus Byrd Bills S 2 28
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Jets LT 2 20
Mark Sanchez Jets QB 2 20
Vince Wilfork Patriots DT 2 20
Shawn Nelson Bills TE 2 16
Vernon Carey Dolphins RT 2 15
Alan Faneca Kets LG 2 15
Nic Harris Bills LB 2 15
Brian Hartline Dolphins WR 2 15
*Includes declined and offsetting penalties

The Jets deserve a commendation for last week's three-penalty performance in beating the Tennessee Titans. The Jets went into Week 3 having been flagged the most in the division.

But the Jets must be concerned with where the penalties are occurring. Nine of their 21 accepted penalties have been committed by their veteran offensive line.

The Miami Dolphins had a disorderly week by their standards. They committed seven penalties, but only one went for 10 yards. Twelve of their 15 accepted penalties have been for 5 yards or less.

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