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Friday, January 17, 2014
Caldwell's goal: Top five fewest penalties

By Michael Rothstein

One of the biggest complaints about the Detroit Lions during the Jim Schwartz era was how often the team gave up yards for free.

During Schwartz’s five seasons with the team, Detroit was penalized 565 times, third-most in the NFL during that span, only topped by Seattle and Oakland. Now, under new coach Jim Caldwell, his goal is to change that dramatically.

“Winning football games takes a team that is not penalized very often,” Caldwell said on "Mike & Mike" on Friday morning. “You have to be in the top five in fewest penalties.

“It’s kind of going to be our goal.”

Under Schwartz, Detroit had the second most defensive penalties in the five-year stretch with 248 and the third-most penalty yards allowed (4,730).

Schwartz did a decent job corralling penalties in his fourth and fifth seasons, but the Lions were still over 100 penalties in his final four seasons with the club -- including 107 penalties in 2013.

The Lions had the second-fewest penalty yards in Schwartz’s five seasons in 2013 with 925 yards and the fewest offensive penalties, 38, in the five-year Schwartz tenure.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis had the second-fewest penalties in the NFL in 2009 (73), fourth-fewest in 2010 (77) and tied for fewest in 2011 (76). In Caldwell’s three years with the Colts, they had the fewest penalties in the league (226), second-fewest offensive penalties (109), third-fewest defensive penalties (71) and fewest overall penalty yards (1,804).

Some numbers in this story were culled from ESPN Stats & Information