So far this preseason, the New Orleans Saints have looked pretty good, but they have developed an unsightly tendency to shoot themselves in the foot. After 10 penalties in their opening preseason game, they racked up 22 (with a few more that weren’t accepted), and it was obvious that head coach Sean Payton was more than a little upset.
Two of the calls came off of a Jimmy Graham goalpost dunk (unsportsmanlike conduct), the second of which earned Graham a fierce tongue-lashing from his head coach. To make matters worse, 18 of the penalties, including declined ones, were committed while the starters were on the field. Needless to say, that’s not the best way to go about winning.
The penalties put a damper on what was otherwise a decent game for the Saints. They had their issues, but it’s still the preseason. That said, this number of penalties is enough to make any coach or fan worry, especially if it leads to conflicts like that between Payton and Graham. Most will agree that Graham was in the wrong, but it doesn’t make a fight like that any easier to watch.
Like last week, the Saints are sure to put an emphasis on not committing stupid penalties in practice, and hopefully that will start to get everyone on track. The return of Drew Brees may also help relax the offense and ease up the number of mistakes. One thing is for certain: Graham has to find a new way to celebrate.