Penalties were a big problem for the Baltimore Ravens last season

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 27: Wide receiver Steve Smith
BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 27: Wide receiver Steve Smith /

Penalties were a major problem for the Baltimore Ravens last season.

Penalties.. you are either happy they are called or you are yelling at the referee because they were called on your team. The Baltimore Ravens were no stranger to the yellow flag last season. In fact, they were one of the worst in the NFL in that area of the game.

Let’s take a look at the numbers

  • 7.8 penalties per game (4th most)
  • 69.4 penalty yards per game (4th most)
  • 29 offensive holding penalties (40% of offensive penalties last season)
  • 8 DPI and 8 offside penalties (close to 30% of defensive penalties last season)
  • 8.9 average Penalty yards per Penalty committed

Clearly penalties are a problem.

Did the Ravens get their fair share of bad calls? Of course, it happens with every team. But these numbers show that the Ravens were more than just unlucky, they were undisciplined more times than not on the football field.

Related Story: Baltimore Ravens: The Achilles Heel this season

What Stands Out

Two of these penalty stats stand out to me, the offensive holding penalties and average penalty yards per penalty committed.

There’s no question the offensive line was a struggling point for the Ravens last season. Injuries and lack of depth provided little to no consistency up front. We could very well see the same this season. With no answer to center or right tackle right now there is concern going into training camp. The Ravens have depth but most of it is unproven. If these players see the field the season, it’s going to be a learning process. That usually means there will penalties committed. The game quickness is a big step from college to the NFL. The offense can’t afford to be in that kind of position this season.

The yards per penalty committed is the worst in my opinion. That stat is essentially saying that every time the Ravens commit a penalty, the opponent is gaining an average of 8.9 yards from it. That’s pretty much giving the other team a first down each time you commit a penalty. I don’t care how good the defense is, you can’t stop drives if you are giving away free first downs. A team at 3rd and 8 or 9 could get a free first down because of a penalty. That’s grueling for the defense. It will have to be something that changes this season.

The Bottom Line

The Ravens can be playoff team, but one of the major obstacles stopping them from doing this is themselves. Penalties can kill a team. They nullify big plays on offense and can give opposing teams life when they don’t have any. Just take the Jaguars game back in 2015 for example. An Elvis Dumveril face-mask penalty at the end of the game gave the Jaguars an untimed down and they kicked a field goal to win the game. Yes there should have been a false start called before, but the lack of discipline lost the Ravens the game.

Next: Fill in the Blank: Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl If_____

There has to be more discipline on both sides of the football this season. The Ravens pride themselves on being a physical football team, especially on defense, but they need to be able to do that without committing penalties. John Harbaugh and the coaching staff have to committed to making sure that the team stays disciplined on the field.