Throughout training camp and especially since the Redskins season has spiraled into the NFC East cellar, Mike Shanahan has stressed character and poise.
Showing character on the field by not taking stupid penalties and off the field by preparing well.
Displaying poise on the field by not retaliating to dirty play and off the field by being a locker room presence.
This is especially important for the teams four captains: Trent Williams, Santana Moss, DeAngelo Hall and London Fletcher.
But after examining each of the Redskins penalties this year in the wake of several key calls in Sundays loss to New England, its striking how many involve the captains.
Williams, who showed a huge character flaw by getting suspended for the final four games, leads the team with eight.
Hall is next with four flags and none are for defensive pass interference or illegal contact.
Fletcher has two penalties and Moss one infraction.
We understand you have to keep your cool regardless of if you like a call or dont like a call its important to handle yourself in a professional manner and more important, not put your team in a hole with a 15-yard penalty, Shanahan said Monday. Those are things I talk about with our football team. And you make too many of those mistakes, then eventually youre not with us.
The players voted on captains before the season.
Shanahan said he wouldnt strip somebody of the C, but added: People would lose confidence in a captain if they kept on making bad choices or bad decisions.
A look at some key penalties this year for the Redskins, who have the fifth-fewest penalties in the NFL, but 20 teams have less penalty yardage:
Week 3 at Dallas, Fourth Quarter
Leading 16-15 on Monday Night Football, the Redskins were in great position to start 3-0 (and 2-0 in the division).
The Cowboys took over at their own 14-yard line with 3:44 remaining and quickly faced a third-and-21 from the 30.
The Redskins blitzed eight and Dez Bryant caught a 30-yard pass when Hall got turned around in coverage.
To exacerbate the play, Hall was called for a 15-yard face-mask penalty. Four plays later, Dallas kicked the winning field goal.
Week 6 vs. Philadelphia, First Quarter
Early in a scoreless game, Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman threw an pass that Kurt Coleman intercepted at the Eagles 3-yard line.
It was early and a turnover, but at least the Redskins would get a chance to pin Philadelphia in its own end and play field position, right? Nope.
Behind the play, Williams retaliated to a Trent Cole block that ended Kory Lichtensteigers season by fighting with Cole. Williams got the only penalty.
With the added yardage, the Eagles marched 82 yards on 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead.
Week 9 vs. San Francisco, Second Quarter
The Redskins trailed 3-0 when they faced a third-and-8 from their own 49.
Ahmad Brooks jumped off-sides so John Beck had a free play and he threw 10 yards to Jabar Gaffney.
Behind the play, left guard Maurice Hurt was blocking Justin Smith when, after the pass was thrown, Williams pushed Smith from behind.
Instead of first-and-10 from the San Francisco 41, the Redskins had a third-and-23 from their 34 and punted after a short Beck completion. Williams sat out that play when he was pulled by Shanahan.
Week 10 at Miami, Third Quarter
Trailing the Dolphins 10-9, Ryan Kerrigan forced a turnover to give the Redskins possession at the Miami 24.
On second-and-6 from the 20, Ryan Torain ran around the left side for a six-yard gain, but Williams was penalized 10 yards for holding Cameron Wake.
The Redskins still got to the Miami 5, but that was on third down and they settled for a field goal.
Week 11 vs. Dallas, Fourth Quarter
In a 17-17 game, the Redskins started from their own 22-yard line with 14:38 remaining.
Grossman threw 13 yards over the middle to Gaffney to begin the drive. But that play was called back when Williams was called for holding DeMarcus Ware. When Grossman was sacked on the next play, the Redskins faced second-and-25 from the 7.
The Redskins drove to their own 45 before punting.
And Sundays game against New England featured three calls:
Second quarter. Fletcher was nailed for a bogus 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting Tom Brady as he just beginning to slide. The call was bad, but Fletcher was lucky he didnt get additional discipline for going berserk. Shanahan disagreed with the call.
Third quarter. Hall is called for a five-yard holding penalty and 15 yards are tacked on moments later, when he picked up the officials flag and threw it.
Fourth quarter. On second-and-goal from the Patriots 5, Moss was flagged for interfering Patriots defensive back Julian Edelman (10-yard penalty). Shanahan said that was the correct call.
At least Williams wasnt around to add to the penalty total.
Just because somebody earns a flag, it doesnt mean hes a bad guy, Shanahan said. It means you have to keep your poise and you cant give your football team 15 yards. You put your team first.
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