Penalty problems problematic

Nick Saban has been asked practically every week — and that's from the start of the preseason — about what can be done to keep the Dolphins from committing so many penalties, particularly pre-snap penalties such as false starts and offsides. It's pretty obvious that Saban has gotten tired of answering those questions, but it's more like he's furious that the problem persists.

Really, it's high time the Dolphins improve in that department because it has been bad almost to the point of being a joke.

The Dolphins have been flagged 21 times in two games, which happens to be the most for the first two games since 1998.

The problem is that too many of those penalties have been the pre-snap variety.

The biggest culprit have been guard Rex Hadnot, who has committed three false starts in the regular season, and Jason Taylor, who has been offside three times.

"There's no excuses for it," said fullback Heath Evans. "The easy thing would be to say, well, it's early in the year, everyone kind of makes them, we're still kind of getting the dust off. It really comes down to a lack of focus and a lack of discipline."

The third quarter against the Jets illustrated just how damaging penalties can be.

On their first drive of the second half, the Dolphins, trailing 10-0, found themselves with a second-and-4 from their own 43-yard line. But David Boston was called for holding on a running play and it became second-and-14. Two incompletions, Dolphins punt.

On their next drive, the Dolphins used a 21-yard pass to Marty Booker to get a first down at the Jets 43. But on first down Seth McKinney was called for holding and it was now first-and-20. Three plays later, albeit including a dropped pass by Chris Chambers, the Dolphins had to punt again.

It was the same deal again on the drive that followed the Jets touchdown that made the score 17-7. The Dolphins had a second-and-10 from the Jets 41-yard line when Vernon Carey was called for holding, in essence killing the drive.

Let's face it, the Dolphins aren't nearly good enough to overcome those types of mistakes.

The offense has the potential of being efficient, but this is the not the high-voltage offense that Scott Linehan had in Minnesota. The Dolphins need to get things done step by step and don't appear to have the personnel to be able to handle second-and-20 and third-and-15 situations.

That means the penalties have got to stop. How? That's obviously the tough question.

"You guys analyze everything; why don't you analyze that," Taylor told reporters this week. "You can pick a reason why and we'll accept it and try to correct it."

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