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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Dockett, Lutui do what Incognito could not

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Last offseason, then-Rams guard Richie Incognito planned to work on becoming a more mature player.

The Rams wound up cutting Incognito in December after the volatile guard snapped during a game at Tennessee, drawing two personal-foul penalties -- part of a pattern dating to Incognito's college days.

A year ago, I used Incognito's pledge to build a chart showing 2008 penalty leaders from the NFC West. I've updated the chart to show how many penalties the same players committed in 2009, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The numbers reflect accepted and declined penalties.

Incognito committed two fewer penalties in three fewer games while playing for one additional team.

The Cardinals' Darnell Dockett reduced his penalty count in half despite playing roughly the same number of defensive snaps for Arizona. Even though the league did fine Dockett for actions that did not draw a penalty, the numbers suggest Dockett could be headed in the right direction. He had six penalties in 2007 and eight in 2008, but only four last season. His 2009 total was his lowest since he committed only one in 2006 (Dockett committed three in 2005 and five in 2004).

The 49ers' Nate Clements committed five fewer penalties last season than in 2008, but he also played in eight fewer games. The Seahawks' Josh Wilson cut his flags from eight to one while playing in four fewer games. The 49ers' Ray McDonald went from 2008 starter to 2009 backup. Kurt Warner cut down on delay-of-game penalties significantly.

Overall, the group committed 32 fewer penalties.