November 18, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) celebrates with strong safety Roman Harper (41) after intercepting the ball in the end zone during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
In an afternoon press conference today, New Orleans Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt said that the team would need to be better with their penalties.
The Saints will also need to be a bit smarter with their penalties as well. While a false start or offsides can be common mistakes, the Saints had two yesterday that are quite uncommon for them.
The first came off an intercepted pass that safety Roman Harper reeled in for a touchback. The Saints would have started on their 20-yard line but Harper and fellow safety Malcolm Jenkins did a dance together in the endzone that resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for 10 yards.
This backed the Saints up to their own 10-yard line and the drive stalled seven plays later. While it is a freak occurrence that Harper does get the ball, wait until you get to the sideline.
The second was during a 27 yard touchdown run by running back Mark Ingram. As Ingram was about to cross the goal line, he turned and pointed, shaking his finger at Raiders safety Matt Giordano who was in pursuit.
Ingram was flagged for taunting and the Saints were assessed a 15 yard penalty with luckily the score being allowed to stand. Of course Ingram was likely ecstatic it being his first score of the season for him and also because of his dismal output until three weeks ago.
However, these are excuses that can’t and shouldn’t be tolerated by the coaching staff. In fact Vitt was seen given the cold shoulder to Ingram as he tried to explain after the penalty with Vitt saying few words in return and giving his trademark glare.
While the response by Saints fans yesterday was roaring approval to these penalties, the big picture still remains. The offenses need to be cleaned up or it could become worse and cost the Saints when it counts.
The Saints have always been an disciplined team and I really couldn’t remember them ever getting a celebration/taunting penalty much less two in the same game.
With the resurgence of the Saints that we’re used to seeing, emotions are high for fans and players. But to go further down the road, the Saints will need to play perfect football to even have a shot at the postseason.
These unnecessary penalties should become a a necessary point of emphasis as the Saints will face two upcoming opponents back-to-back that are playoff contenders and can’t afford to give yardage to, the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons.