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Patriots offense is moving in the right direction, but penalties are still an issue

Related: 6 winners and 2 losers from the Patriots’ victory over the Browns

New England Patriots v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Despite a backup rookie quarterback starting the last two games, the New England Patriots offense has begun trending in the right direction. Against the Cleveland Browns in Week 6, it had its best performance of the year and put up 38 points in a blowout victory.

While the outing as a whole was impressive, and there is plenty to feel good about, the Patriots still have plenty of clean-up work to do. One area of concern is penalties.

The Patriots were flagged a total of 12 times against the Browns, with nine of those flags happening on the offensive side of the ball. Needless to say that head coach Bill Belichick sees some potential for improvement in this area.

“We have too many penalties offensively, period,” he told WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Monday. “We have to cut those back. It’s too many of everything. We just have to do a better job of coaching it. We have to make better decisions on the field. We have to stop going backwards with he penalties. We have good production offensively, but then with plays like that we put ourselves at such a disadvantage.”

The Patriots lost a combined 92 yards due to penalties on Sunday in Cleveland, with 61 of those coming on offense.

New England was flagged for four false starts, with offensive tackles Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn, tight end Hunter Henry (who also had an illegal touch) and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers responsible for one infraction each. Additionally, Meyers was flagged for an illegal block above the waist and Brown for a hold. Quarterback Bailey Zappe drew an illegal grounding flag, with the unit also called for a delay of game.

On the year, New England has now been penalized 43 times — tied for 11th most in the NFL — with 29 of those happening on offense (incl. five that were either declined or offsetting). Eight alone have right tackle Isaiah Wynn’s name attached to them, but he is far from the only culprit: 10 different offensive players have been flagged at least once.

“We have to coach it better. We have to play it better,” said Belichick. “Have to be more conscious and execute better on the field. A lot of those penalties are really unforced errors, they’re our fault — delay of game, false starts, and things like that. We had multiple penalties [on Sunday] and so as a team we have to coach and play better.”