A View on New Orleans Saints' Penalties in 2019 (Week 12)

Kyle T. Mosley

Examining the New Orleans Saints Penalties through Week 12 in the 2019 Regular Season.

Many Who Dats and Saints fans are clamoring for changes by the NFL to how New Orleans is being officiated in 2019.  Despite all of the X-Files and Twilight Zone conspiracy theories floating around the Big Easy, let us attempt to boil down the important penalty numbers.  

The Saints have been penalized a total of 86 times.  The the league's average is 78.7, resulting in the Saints being a +7.3 in penalties.  This is more than the NFL teams' average total YTD in 2019.

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The Saints most penalties are offensive holding calls where they are 23 for 225 yards.  The league's average is 17.53, thus the Saints are a +5.47 against the NFL average.  Saints fans believe the pass interference calls or defensive holding penalties are a major issue.  This is a valid concern if you view the numbers.  However, the team has 6 interference penalties and 9 defensive holding calls blown against them in 2019.  The defensive holding flags in the NFL are averaging 5.59 per game, but the Saints' DPI's are on par for 5.84 per game average.   Not much a difference in this category.  But, the Saints are a +3 over the league's average on defensive holding calls against them YTD.

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Rookies Erik McCoy and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson lead the team with 8 and 6 penalties respectively.   This is not a major concern.  Gardner-Johnson's aggressive tendencies are being recognized as a positive factor in the Saints' secondary.  He has 6 passes defended in 2019, more than P.J. Williams (4), Eli Apple (4), and Patrick Robinson (0).  Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams lead the defensive backs with 10 and 12 passed defended, respectively.   McCoy is getting adjusted to being a starter and by Pro Football Focus, his play in pass and run blocking is rated very high in comparison to the penalties.

View how Jeff Asher of Crimealytics breaksdown the Saints penalties in 2019:

It is difficult to determine if the Saints are being targeted by the NFL and its officials.   New Orleans has self-destructed in a few games this season because of uncharacteristic penalties at untimely moments in football games.   Sean Payton's teams are usually more disciplined.   This season New Orleans has recorded double-digit penalties four times against the Rams (11), Seattle (11), Falcons (12), and Panthers (12).

We will keep an eye on the penalties for the rest of the season and into the playoffs, if New Orleans earns a bid.  If they win on Thanksgiving day versus the Falcons, they will claim the NFC South Championship and gain a playoff berth for the third-straight year.

Data on the Penalties from NFLPenaties.com.

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