In a recent story we pointed out the NFL’s most penalized teams and how those with the most penalties were also the ones watching the playoffs instead of participating in them.
Why not drill down deep and see who were the most penalized players in the NFL?
All but five teams in the NFL had offensive holding as their top infraction in 2015, but there was a good reason the New Orleans Saints were included in the minority five.
The Saints were the only team that had defensive holding as their most penalized infraction, and Brandon Browner was a big reason for that. Browner easily led the NFL as the most penalized player in 2015 – a whopping 24 penalties called against him.
He had at least one penalty called against him in 13 different games, including four penalties in Week 8 and three penalties each in Weeks 2 and 13. The cornerback was called for defensive holding 11 times – half of the Saints’ total for that penalty – pass interference three times, face mask three times, and unnecessary roughness three times.
Of Browner’s 24 penalties, three were declined, but 19 of them resulted in first downs and they accounted for 207 yards. Fellow Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux was the next-most penalized player on the teams with 11, and all of his penalties were either defensive holding, illegal contact or pass interference.
Browner was the only NFL player flagged more than 20 times in 2015, and St. Louis (now Los Angeles) offensive lineman Greg Robinson was the only other player called for more than 15 penalties last year.
Robinson was flagged 16 times, double the amount of any other Rams teammate. Of his 16 penalties, 11 of them were for offensive holding, four were false starts and one was a chop block. Three of his penalties were declined, but the 13 that were accepted counted for 114 penalty yards and 82 yards of nullified offense.
Three other players were flagged 15 times last year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Gosder Cherilus was one of them, but only five of his penalties were offensive holding and four were false starts. Also mixed in were illegal formation, ineligible man downfield, clipping and unnecessary roughness.
The final player with 15 penalties in 2015 was Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Although he gained a reputation as a dirty player in his days with the Detroit Lions, none of Suh’s penalties in 2015 were of that variety. Eight of them were neutral zone infractions, three of them were encroachment and two were for defensive offsides.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that three of the most penalized players – Browner, Cherilus and Suh – played for three of the five most penalized teams. Cincinnati’s Kirkpatrick was the only player among the top five most penalized that was part of a playoff team.