Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
Stanford Routt was among the worst offender when it came to committing penalties in 2011.
The Raiders set an NFL record last season for both penalties and penalty yards. In total the Raiders had 163 penalties for 1358 yards. On a per game basis that's approximately 10 penalties for 85 yards.
To put that in perspective, if the offense starts at the 20, the Raiders are giving up enough yardage to allow a touchdown per game or 112 points per season. The Raiders allowed 433 points and scored 359 points for a point differential of 74 points in 2011.
The league average for penalties in 2011 was 103 penalties for 867 yards or roughly six penalties for 54 yards per game. Assuming the Raiders can go from horrible to average, they should be able to prevent at least 60 penalties for 491 yards. That's four penalties for 31 yards per game, equal to approximately two personal foul penalties per game, three first downs and about six touchdowns per season.
In theory, the Raiders point differential could have been 32 points or about two points per game. You wouldn't think two points per game would make that much of a difference and it wouldn't have in any game but one, but one game was the difference between the Raiders going to the playoffs in 2011 and not going to the playoffs.
That's just breaking it down by yardage, not to mention how the penalties extended drives and gave opposing offenses additional chances to score.
Dennis Allen has made it a focus to correct the discipline issues in Oakland, but so did Hue Jackson, Tom Cable and Lane Kiffin. What is different this time? Coaches have a lot of say now.
No longer is the coach and the head football executive at odds over players. For the first time the head coach has to power to impact a players' status on the team. Mental penalties should go down for the simple fact that the coaching staff is not going to tolerate mental errors and will take action to make sure players that commit mental errors are not playing.
The Raiders will do other things to limit penalties, such as to stop sending detailed reports to the league office about all the errors the officials make. Al Davis sent these reports and they undoubtedly got back to the officials and have created a culture of bias against the Raiders for years.
However, personal fouls, holding and false start penalties have also plagued the Raiders for years and those are penalties the coaching staff can correct by making sure the players know that playing time will be impacted if they continue. It's a message that can be sent loud and clear during training camp.