All season, Raiders coach Hue Jackson has said his team needs to stop committing costly penalties.
Yet the Raiders lead the NFL in flags and are on pace to set a record.
Longtime Bay Area columnist Glenn Dickey sees the problem as a self-inflicted wound caused by a lack of discipline. He also wonders if Jackson’s decision to allow middle linebacker Rolando McClain to play Sunday against the Dolphins – just days after his arrest in Alabama – is an indication of the same thing.
Though the Raiders are 7-4 and tied for the lead in the AFC West with Denver, might Oakland just be too undisciplined to win down the stretch and secure its first division title since 2002?
Dickey, writing for the San Francisco Examiner, says Jackson should have benched McClain for a game as a signal to others on the team “that they need to discipline themselves.”
“Lack of discipline has been a continual problem since Jon Gruden left, and has been the biggest reason for their lack of success,” Dickey wrote Monday. “Each year the Raiders lead the NFL in penalties. This year, they’ve been on a pace to set an NFL record, and they had another 10 for 91 yards on Sunday.”
Dickey also points to defensive tackle Richard Seymour being ejected from Sunday’s game for punching a Dolphins lineman as another indication of the team’s lack of discipline.
“Talent without discipline doesn’t win, so the Raiders’ streak of nonplayoff seasons will probably continue,” Dickey wrote.
The Raiders have committed 119 penalties for 1,027 yards this season, reports Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group, which are nine penalties and 183 yards more than the second-worst team, Seattle.
The Raiders are on pace for 159 penalties and 1,369 yards which would surpass the 1998 Chiefs’ NFL records of 158 and 1,304 yards.
Jackson, meanwhile, has defended his decision to allow McClain to play against Miami. He made the decision after the team looked into the events that occurred in Alabama last week, when McClain was charged with four misdemeanors after being arrested for allegedly firing a gun near a man’s head after an altercation.
Jackson told reporters he allowed McClain to play because he didn’t believe McClain did the things he’s accused of doing.
Jackson told reporters he will come down hard on McClain if it turns out the linebacker misled the team about his actions in the incident, but for now is standing by his player.
“I know what I know and feel very comfortable with what I know,” Jackson told Corkran.