Penalties Galore - 05/29/99
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The 49ers last season were plagued with more penalties then 27 other teams in the league. This is completely uncharacteristic of the 49ers. It caused the 49ers to lose games and their composure. Something has to be done. Steve Mariucci has a plan in place. Already, Jamie Brown, Chuck Levy and Antonio Langham have been released or traded from the 49ers. These three players were responsible for the majority of the 49ers penalties. Coincidence? I think not. The 49ers have a plan in place and it starts this week in mini-camp.

The plan is for the 49ers to bring in league officials to their practises. This strategy is something no teams has ever even thought of. The theory is that the officials will be able to report the penalties to the coaches who could then work with the players to eliminate the penalty. Furthermore the officials can report the players that are repeatedly committing the offences. In the process, the team may not start players that are repeatedly making mistakes.

This strategy is something completely new to the NFL. As always it is the 49ers heading up the rest of the league with a new concept. If this system works, look for the 49ers to be the least penalized team in the league next season. Players will be able to master their position. This is especially important with defensive backs, who must avoid the pass interference call. The team may finally learn the exact boundaries of the rules

The other advantage to having officials call penalties at the mini-camps is that it will force players to try different styles of play. The new style could further the players skill at their position. It will also be effective for the rookies who are not used to NFL rules. If this system works, look for many teams to follow in the upcoming years. In the mean time, the 49ers are still at the cutting edge of the NFL.
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