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Gibbs Frustrated With Penalties

Head coach Joe Gibbs reiterated his concern on Monday regarding the Redskins' number of penalties this season. The team was flagged 12 times for 137 yards in Sunday's loss to Philadelphia.

Gibbs said he would incorporate changes in the offense's practice routine to minimize false starts and delay of game penalties.

"We are going to take a long hard look at the penalties," Gibbs said after Sunday's game. "That's something we can't have.

"That's what we mean by playing smarter-we have to be a smarter football team. If we have that many penalty yards, and we're playing one of the best teams in football, we're going to have a tough time."

The offense had four false start penalties, something that has prompted coaches to address the tempo in practices this week.

Gibbs admitted he was somewhat perplexed about the frequency of the false starts and said the offense will work with an 18-second game clock instead of a 20-second game clock in practice sessions in an attempt to speed up the offense's rhythm.

Said quarterback Patrick Ramsey: "We're going to focus on [reducing] penalties this week and I think we'll cut it down."

The Redskins also incurred several penalties on special teams, including three on Mike Sellers. He had two 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalties and a 15-yard face mask penalty.

"Right off the bat, Mike was in here [Monday] morning and met with [special teams coordinator] Danny Smith," Gibbs said. "They had a real good meeting there, and then I'll talk with him later on, too.

"I respect the way he covers things. He's a very physical guy and he's made a ton of big plays. But you just can't get caught up in [committing penalties] You can't put yourself before the team, and that's somethig we feel strongly about."

Gibbs said he disagreed with several of the penalties on defense, including a 47-yard pass interference penalty on Shawn Springs as he was covering wide receiver Terrell Owens. The play set up Philadelphia's first touchdown early in the first quarter.

On the season, the Redskins have committed 93 penalties for 872 yards. Last season, the Redskins set a club record with 124 penalties for 1,038 yards.

With the Redskins playing a number of close games this season--six of Washington's losses have been by seven points or less--penalty yardage are often the difference in wins and losses.

"In a close game, penalties can really cost you," Gibbs said. "If we continue to do that, it's going to hurt us. We try and stress it--we have referees here everyday in practice. Until we grasp that, it'll be part of when we start winning football games. We'll be playing error-free."

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