Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott is known as a no-nonsense, detail-oriented person. Many had hoped that would translate to his team on the field, but through two preseason games, penalties have been flying everywhere.
In the first game of the preseason, Buffalo has 10 accepted penalties for 106 yards assessed against them. In Week 2, it was 15 penalties for 131 yards. Those were just the ones the Philadelphia Eagles actually accepted. Buffalo was flagged 21 different times in total.
The biggest problem is on special teams, where coordinator Danny Crossman’s unit has been flagged more than 10 times in two games. Nine of those penalties were accepted for 79 yards. John Wawrow broke them down:
#Bills special teams penalties 2 games:— John Wawrow (@john_wawrow) August 18, 2017
9 for 79 yards combined
6 on punt returns
1 punt coverage
1 kickoff coverage
1 f-goal D.
"I’ve gone back, before I came down here I was going through charting, every penalty and trying to put them in different categories – as you try and solve problems," McDermott told the media on Friday. "You want to be able to say it’s all one area, and that’s not the case. There are some discipline in there, there’s concentration, there’s playing aggressive without hesitation so that we stay in good position, so we’re not in chase mode. There’s different buckets, if you will, that are factoring into the penalties, all of which are unacceptable.”
"We need to continue to work at that, I am concerned about it, and we’re going to look into bringing officials into practice, to help us in that effort. We’ve got to get it corrected,” he continued.
Of course some of these penalties were ghosts, like this one called by Ed Hoculi’s crew on Thursday night. The Eagles were flagged nine times for 85 yards. The Minnesota Vikings were only flagged three times in the opener, so clearly Buffalo is earning more penalties than their opponents, despite the referees.