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Negative Yards
April 6 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
One of my biggest problems with the 49ers over the past few seasons was their tendency to be penalized on mass throughout the season. It's a problem coaches recognized and started working to correct several years ago - but it was one that just wouldn't go away. There's an old saying in football "don't beat yourself" and penalties play a big role on a team beating it's self.

This past season there was a dramatic improvement in the discipline of the team. Penalties were down substantially, and not coincidentally wins were up. There are several reasons for this, including that as teams win they become increasingly less frustrated and thus are less likely to commit that 'dumb' play. It's also a matter of improving the overall skill of the team.

I can say without hesitation, that last season was one of the most impressive I've seen in terms of not turning the ball over, and in not committing the penalties. The 49ers didn't beat themselves up all season, and for that the coaching staff needs to be congratulated. Installing that disciplined attitude is something the team can neglect this season either though.

The team will have some new contributors - mainly rookies who will have to be taught to play clean or rather play smart. Getting the upper hand in football, by holding, bumping picking etc, is part of the game whether the officials like it or not, it's learning the time and place to commit such acts that distinguish the teams who get penalized from those who don't.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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