It’s almost tradition at this point for the Oakland Raiders to be among the most penalized teams in the NFL. Through 10 games in 2019, Oakland has the second-most penalties in the NFL with 88. In the previous 13 seasons, the team only finished outside the top-10 in total penalties once. In 2016 when they went 12-4, they easily committed the most penalties in the NFL. While most teams would have a hard time winning if they committed over 10 penalties, the Raiders thrive. According to Josh Dubow at Associated Press, Oakland has a winning record over the past five seasons when they’re penalized 10 or more times.
They have won 10 more games than they’ve lost. That’s a fascinating statistic considering the rest of the league has not fared as well.
Raiders Are the Exception to the Rule
Per Dubow, other teams that have committed 10 or penalties in a game are a whopping 175-219-4.
Maybe the Raiders are better off committing as many penalties as possible. In all seriousness, Oakland has a very young team and it’s not a surprise that they are making very simple mistakes. While these young players have been very impressive, it’s clear that they have some work to do. The Raiders are not winning because of penalties, they’re winning in spite of them. Some may point to the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals have committed the second least amount of penalties in the NFL and they haven’t won a game. Every team finds different ways to win, but the Raiders aren’t reaching their full potential if they don’t limit the penalties.
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Raiders Commit Too Many Simple Penalties
One of the most avoidable penalties in the NFL is defensive offsides. Well, the Raiders lead the NFL in committing those infractions with eight, according to Vincent Bonsignore at Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The Raiders also lead the league in defensive pass interference as Bonsignore points out. One thing is for sure, Jon Gruden wants the team to clean things up.
“It’s been addressed,” said Gruden on Friday. “We’re trying to emphasize it in all three phases. And we’ve been in contact with the league about some of the penalties as well that we haven’t agreed with. We are trying to minimize ‘em, we are trying to eliminate ‘em. We’re doing everything we can. That falls back on my shoulders to get it done. We got to do better.”
The Raiders play a New York Jets team on Sunday that also isn’t great in the penalty department. They currently sit at fifth-most. It’s clear that racking up the penalties isn’t going to stop this Oakland team from winning, but it’s what’s keeping lesser teams in games. The Raiders should be blowing out teams like the Bengals and Jets. However, they have yet to win a game by more than one possession. If Gruden’s squad can figure out how to minimize mistakes, they could be formidable against any team in the NFL and could give some Super Bowl contenders nightmares come playoff season.