TAMPA, Fla. - When you hear the Bucs say, "We beat ourselves," they mean one of two things: Turnovers or penalties. And penalties are really plaguing the Bucs.
No team has racked up more penalty yards than the Bucs this season and it's the leading problem for the offense, which has stalled 14 drives so far, the second-most in the league.
“We address it every single day since we got back here whenever we got here," said Bruce Arians.
In fact, no team has committed more penalties per game over the last three seasons. In the last decade, the Bucs have committed the third most.
“I don’t think [it is due to] teams’ reputations, but [I think it is due to] players’ reputations," said Arians. "I think officials come into the game with guys marked, and if it’s close, they call it on them. I look at Demar Dotson last year – he got holding penalties that were not holding penalties because he was a marked guy. I think the same thing with Ryan Jensen – I think he’s a marked guy. With his hustle and effort – he plays to the whistle.”
Four Bucs players rank in the top five among the most-flagged offenders in the league this year; left tackle Donovan Smith leads the NFL with seven and cornerback Carlton Davis is next with six.
“Poor technique usually leads to holding. You get your feet beat," said Arains. "If you’re beat, I don’t want the quarterback hit, so I don’t [care] if you tackle him. I’ll take the 15 yards and play from there. I don’t want the quarterback hit. As far as defensive penalties – personal fouls, yes. They have to be eliminated. Pre-snap penalties are the ones that bug me more.”
The Bucs will need a much cleaner performance against the Packers to pull off a win. Green Bay has committed the third-fewest penalties. Aaron Rodgers has yet to throw an interception and has been sacked just three tiems. Those are three key reasons why the Packers are undefeated.
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