Cardinals vs. Rams: Discipline

Michael Thomas

The Rams must cut down on their penalties, but can they?

The Cincinnati Bengals lost a chance to get the ball back. They were down by three points, when Ray Maualuga committed a personal foul penalty against the Chicago Bears.

The New York Jets were able to get into field goal range - and hit a game winning field goal - thanks to a late hit out of bounds by Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Rams weren't the Buccaneers or the Bengals on Sunday, but they easily could've been.

The Rams had four personal foul penalties against the Arizona Cardinals, in their 27-24 come from being win. If one of those came in the fourth quarter, at an inopportune time, the Rams' the locker room after the game might have been in a different mood.

These weren't penalties one might expect from a young team like the Rams. In fact, three of these fouls were on two of the Rams veteran players (Cortland Finnegan and Eugene Sims).

What the Rams have is a lack of discipline. Many of these personal foul flags (late hits, hits to the head, roughing, etc.) come from playing hard and tough. This comes from the culture Jeff Fisher has put in place in St. Louis; the very same one we saw with the Titans in Tennessee.

But there is a line between tough and stupid. The Rams crossed over it against the Cardinals. That discipline line is very delicate, and crossing over the line didn't cost the Rams the game, but it very well could in the future.

The Rams need to cut down on the penalties, but it may be set in the culture of the football team.

Last season, the Rams led the league in penalties. In Jeff Fisher's last three season with the Titans, they ranked 3rd, 10th and 2nd in the league.

Penalties have been a trademark of Jeff Fisher's coaching career. His team's have always played tough, and have always flirted with the line between tough and stupid.

Penalties were a problem Sunday for the Rams, and because of the culture Jeff Fisher instills in his football team, and the discipline they lack, it could continue to be a problem for the Rams the entire season.

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