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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs aim to reduce costly penalties

Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 02:46 AM

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the youngest team in the league once again this season and, according to quarterback Josh Freeman, their lack of experience is showing up in the form of yellow flags.

The Bucs enter Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium as the second-most penalized team in the league. Freeman believes youthful exuberance is the reason for it.

"We're a young team and, obviously, you've got guys that are eager to go out and make plays, and they're just not patient enough to wait for the shifts and the motions and that's coming back to get us,'' Freeman said.

The Bucs have been penalized 19 times for 202 yards the past two games. The worst part about it is the penalties have erased first downs and touchdowns while improving scoring chances for opponents.

"This is the NFL, and you have to take care of the things you can control and pre-snap penalties are one of them,'' Freeman said. "We're cracking down on that right now. It's on the receivers, on me, on everybody.''

The crackdown will only go so far, head coach Raheem Morris said. While he's determined to reduce the number of penalties his team can control, he's less concerned about some others.

"We had a couple of uncontrollable ones (against the 49ers), like the playing hard by Sean Jones one that got us misconstrued as a personal foul,'' Morris said. "Those are some of the ones I kind of look at and say, 'Well, I don't want to slow that man down.' But you do have to do something to taper some of those things.

"So we'll look at it, and the ones we can clean up – the illegal procedures that stop third downs, the jumping offsides on defense – those are things we have to be able to stop and be able to control.''