The highly touted defensive recruit that arrived at Virginia three years ago and the dispirited Andrew Brown that coach Bronco Mendenhall encountered last December had very little in common.
Brown, a five-star recruit and Gatorade national player of the year, had lost his way.
He had quickly found his way into then-defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta’s doghouse once he got on campus.
Brown is one of several reasons for optimism at Virginia despite its disappointing record.
“What (the Raiders) overcame last week is amazing,” he said this week. “What was it, 23 penalties? That’s incredible. We had 12 or 13 down in San Diego, so I know they can get you beat.”
The Broncos’ opponent Sunday is the worst in the NFL in penalties this year with 103 called against them and 86 accepted. That’s 20 more than the second-most-penalized teams, Jacksonville and Washington, both wholesale jerseys with 66.
“Penalties are up throughout the league,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “I think at some point it will settle down as they put viewers to sleep.”
His jab was intended as speculation grows over the reasons for the NFL’s dip in TV ratings this year. One reason commonly cited is the proliferation of penalty flags, which slows a game’s rhythm. The number of penalties called and accepted has been on a steady rise over the past four seasons, slowing the game and wholesale NFL jerseys frustrating fans — and teams. This season, the number of accepted penalties per game is 14.1, up from 13.8 a year ago,
While the Raiders top the penalty logs, the Broncos haven’t been immune to the flags. In eight games Chicago Bears jerseys this season, Denver has been cheap NFL jerseys called for offensive holding 19 times, with 17 of the penalties accepted. In all 16 games last season, it was called for 23, 19 of which were accepted.
In the Broncos’ loss at San Diego on Oct. 13, all five starting offensive linemen were flagged for holding and the team as a whole was penalized 12 times. In their rematch with the Chargers last Sunday, the Broncos pared their penalties to six total, for a loss of 45 yards. And Denver won.
“To me, I still don’t know what a holding call is,” quarterback Trevor Siemian said. ” ‘There could be holding on every play’ — I hear a lot of people say that. It’s not for me to say ‘Stop holding.’ Truthfully, I’d probably rather them hold than me get hit pretty good back there. I think it’s something we’re working on and we’re getting better at.”The Raiders play host to the Broncos on Sunday night with the top spot in the AFC West on cheap jerseys the line. It’s a matchup built for prime-time television, pitting divisional rivals and one of the league’s best passing offenses against the league’s best passing defense. But penalties and the officials have the power to play a significant role.
Said Del Rio: “We’ll try to sneak a 12th guy in there from time to time.”