One of the trademarks of the Falcons under head coach Mike Smith is a lack of penalties against themselves. While they may lose games, rarely have they beaten themselves with penalties that provide the opponent an advantage.
So far this preseason, that hasn't been the case. The preseason is for cleaning up issues on your team and the Falcons are continuing to approach each game with a focus on fewer penalties. Through two games this season, Atlanta has 21 accepted penalties for 144 yards. While many of those penalties came in the second half when backups are getting their NFL experience, the starters aren't immune right now either.
In total, six penalties for 82 yards have been called against the Falcons in the first half of the first two preseason games.
"We had way too many penalties," Smith said on Monday. "We're a team that prides ourselves with leading the league, and then second, fourth, and 10th in our four year s here in the number penalties being called. That's not the case in the first two preseason games. That's somet hing we need to address. We are addressing it. We're making our guys very aware of it."
The Falcons have averaged 4.7 penalties per game since 2008, Smith's entire tenure with the Falcons. They'll spend the final two games before the regular season begins working out the kinks in their mistake-free approach to lower their average this year to levels they're more used to.
"It's a big emphasis point for us these last two preseason games," Smith said. "If a flag is thrown it's a penalty. That's what you have to coach to and that's what we coach to."