It’s taken the New Orleans Saints just two weeks of NFL action to rack up the most penalty yards of any team (248, with the Arizona Cardinals a distant runner-up at 199), which isn’t great. If it’s any consolation, they’re tied with the Cleveland Browns for the second-most penalties by volume (16, trailing the Cardinals’ 20 fouls).
This is pretty much rock bottom, which means things can only get better from here. Surely. All sarcasm aside, at least these are problems the Saints can iron out through hard work in practice and keeping a cool head during games.
And the problem areas are easy to identify. Defensive backs Marshon Lattimore (three fouls), Marcus Williams and Janoris Jenkins (one each) have combined for 131 of the penalty yards the Saints have collected, more than 22 teams. It’s largely due to committing defensive pass interference. If they can just play a little more cleanly, this all looks very different.
So we’re on to Week 3, when the Green Bay Packers will visit the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on “Sunday Night Football.” The NFL has assigned second-year referee Brad Rogers and his crew to work the game, which will be his first blush with the Saints in this role. Rogers previously served as a field judge in 2017’s Christmas Eve game between New Orleans and the Atlanta Falcons, which the Saints won 23-13.
Last year, Rogers refereed a Packers-Broncos game at Lambeau Field which Green Bay won 27-16. Denver was flagged three times for 27 yards, while the Packers were fouled seven times for 53 yards.
Now in 2020, the Packers aren’t too far behind the Saints in total penalties (14), but their penalty yards yielded is much more pedestrian (123). Both teams have plenty to clean up, and this will be a great opportunity to make some progress in the right direction.