The 2008 Cardinals are having a great season and a trip to the playoffs feels so close that most of us can taste it but it's not all sunshine and daffodils in the desert. The Cardinals led the league in penalties last year by a huge margin and Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that reducing penalties and playing disciplined football would be a point of emphasis this season. So how are they doing through eight games?
Well last year they finished the season with 137 penalties for 1,128 yards (8.6 for 71 per game). While leading the league is bad enough, the margin by which they led is even more disheartening. Second place in number of penalties had 17 fewer while the second in yards was 122 behind. This year the Cardinals are second in the league in 62 penalties for 417 yards which projects to 124 penalties for 834 yards. On one hand they could point to the significant reduction in yardage but they haven't reduced the overall number by that much. That could indicate that the team has reduced the 'emotional' penalties like unnecessary roughness calls and late hits that lead to 15 yard penalties, but it doesn't mean that they're playing smart football just yet. There are still far too many delay of game, illegal procedure and false start penalties and those point to nothing other than a lack of focus.
If you look at just the NFC West, Deuce Lutui leads the division with seven penalties (in just eight games) and Kurt Warner is tied for second with six. We saw Whiz sit Dockett down in a preseason game after a stupid penalty, but what else can be done to get this team playing more disciplined?