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Saturday, December 1, 2012
NFC West penalty watch: DB compliance

By Mike Sando

Cornerback Brandon Browner committed an NFL-high 19 penalties on his way to representing the Seattle Seahawks in the Pro Bowl last season.

Browner ranks tied for sixth with nine penalties this season. Teammate Richard Sherman has committed only two this season after getting flagged 11 times in 2011.

I was researching whether the most penalized NFC West defensive backs from 2011 had changed their ways when a better idea crossed my mind. Instead of comparing year-over-year numbers for total penalties, I filtered out special-teams plays by selecting only those committed on first, second or third downs. I then divided defensive snap counts by penalties to determine snaps-per-penalty counts for the players in question.

The chart shows results for Sherman, Browner, Arizona's Patrick Peterson, Seattle's Kam Chancellor, St. Louis' Bradley Fletcher and San Francisco's Tarell Brown, Dashon Goldson and Chris Culliver. The final column shows percentage change in penalties per snap. For example, Sherman committed one penalty every 87.3 snaps last season. He has committed one every 354 snaps this season. That represents a 75.3 percent reduction in penalty rate.

Culliver has four such penalties on 455 snaps this season after committing two on 541 snaps last season.