Under Pressure
Dum dum dum dugga-dum dum.

Under Pressure: Penalized

Under Pressure: Penalized
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by J.J. Cooper

There’s Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, Drew Brees’ 54-game touchdown streak and Wayne Gretsky’s streak of 51 consecutive games scoring at least a point. Streaks that spoke not only to a certain level of talent, but also to a certain level of consistency.

Raiders tackle Khalif Barnes has managed to avoid joining that lofty level, but just barely. For only the second time all year, Barnes made it through Sunday’s game without being flagged for a penalty. Barnes carried a six-game penalty streak into the Raiders’ Week 8 game. Apparently the bye week in Week 7 helped, as he stayed flag- and sack-free against the Steelers. But after avoiding the officials’ wrath for one week, he returned to form with a penalty in Week 9 and an amazing four penalties against the Giants in Week 10.

Barnes’ 4.5 sacks are pretty middle of the pack for an offensive tackle. But his penalties offer a pretty strong indication that he’s a tackle often in over his head. That’s somewhat understandable as he was supposed to compete for the Raiders’ right tackle job in training camp. Instead, because of the season-ending injury to left tackle Jared Veldheer, he’s been asked to play left tackle.

If you’re watching a Raiders game and you see a flag on the field, there’s a pretty good chance Barnes is involved. Barnes has been called for 12 penalties in 10 games this year, easily the most in the NFL. He’s been flagged for four false starts and called for seven holding penalties. He threw in an illegal formation penalty for good measure.

Jets guard Willie Colon can’t match Barnes flags for flags, but nine penalties for 63 yards is a pretty hefty bill of its own. Colon has five false starts, three holding penalties, and an illegal use of the hands infraction this year. The following chart looks at all offensive linemen with six or more penalties this season.

Player Team Yardage Penalties Player Team Yardage Penalties
69-K.Barnes OAK 65 12 62-V.Ducasse NYJ 40 6
66-W.Colon NYJ 63 9 63-J.Troutman SD 30 6
71-C.Brown NO 51 8 65-M.Brisiel OAK 35 6
73-J.Thomas CLE 50 8 65-R.Leary DAL 30 6
76-B.Albert KC 50 8 69-E.Mathis PHI 40 6
64-J.Sweezy SEA 37 7 72-E.Fisher KC 40 6
65-L.Johnson PHI 30 7 73-E.Winston ARI 26 6
69-D.Bakhtiari GB 65 7 76-L.Holmes ATL 30 6
70-L.Mankins NE 55 7 77-T.Smith DAL 20 6
75-D.Newton HOU 35 7 79-W.Young DET 36 6


If it was a better week for Barnes, it was a rough week for his teammate Tony Pashos. Pashos returned from a hip injury that had sidelined him for three weeks. Maybe he needed another week to recover. Barnes was tossed around by Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, giving up a pair of sacks including this beauty where Watt actually threw him to his knees.


Chargers rookie tackle D.J. Fluker has had a solid pro debut, but Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon managed to turn his cleats into a pair of roller skates on a fourth-quarter play last week.


Packers linebacker Brad Jones had one of the best-timed blitzes of the year as he shot through the the Giants line at full speed right after the ball was snapped.

Because he had waited until the last minute to take off, Giants running back Andre Brown didn’t really have a chance to pick him up. Jones was already hitting Eli Manning. From snap to sack, this play took only 1.3 seconds.


Bills quarterback EJ Manuel has been known to take a long sack -- nine of his sacks this year have taken 3.5 seconds or longer. But before Sunday none came close to taking as long as the eight-second beauty he endured against the Jets.

Manuel had plenty of time in the pocket. But eventually the pocket began to collapse, leading Manuel to do a complete 360. Anytime a quarterback has his back to the line of scrimmage, bad things are likely to happen. In Manuel’s case it lead to him being run out of bounds. To his credit, at least he didn’t lose any yardage.


12 comments, Last at 22 Nov 2013, 11:49pm

1 Re: Under Pressure: Penalized

Barnes seems to have been remarkably fortunate on his yardage, given how many penalties he's committed. A few must have been either declined or happened near the goal line where there wasn't much walkoff.

2 Re: Under Pressure: Penalized

The NFL gives Barnes credit for a 13th flag, a declined false start against the Chiefs in Week 6. (Pashos false started on the same play.)

Willie Colon picked up a 10th flag (and was ejected) for his role in the fight at the end of the Week 2 Jets-Patriots game.

Vlad Ducasse committed all 6 of his penalties in Weeks 3 and 4 and has barely played since.

4 Re: Under Pressure: Penalized

You have #79 Willie Young listed as an offensive lineman. Unless I really missed something, he plays defensive end. (But he definitely has been a penalty machine...far more of a problem than Suh has been).

5 Re: Under Pressure: Penalized

Surprisingly, a lineman doesn't lead the NFL in penalty yardage for an offensive player. Can anyone guess who does? (And even harder, what non-lineman finished 2nd in penalty yards in 2012?)

6 Re: Under Pressure: Penalized

This should be some combination of OPI for a receiver, or unsportsmanlike/taunting for anyone, or intentional grounding for a QB.

My first hunch is that it's going to be lots of intentional grounding, since OPI is limited to 10 yards a pop. How about Geno Smith?

7 Re: Under Pressure: Penalized

To be fair, illegal formation called on a tackle usually means that a wide receiver failed to "cover him up" on the line of scrimmage. Unless this was one of the rare ones where the tackle lined up too far off the line, which wouldn't surprise me with a guy who seems to be playing over his head and needs every inch he can get to not get burned by a pass rusher. Does anybody actually remember the illegal formation?

10 Re: Under Pressure: Penalized

I'm really surprised to see Joe Thomas in a three way tie for 3rd. As a 6x pro bowler and 3x all-pro it can't be said that he's "in over his head". Has his game deteriorated that much this year, or is he trying to do too much covering for the guard on his right?