The Ravens' propensity to commit penalties frustrated a lot of fans this season.
They aren't alone.
Asked during this week's "State of the Ravens" press conference what drove him crazy when watching his team this season, owner Steve Bisciotti pointed to the Ravens' high penalty numbers.
"I'm certainly not happy about it, I'm not going to lie to you," Bisciotti said.
Bisciotti's comment drew somewhat of a sarcastic smile from head coach John Harbaugh, who heard plenty of penalty-related questions from reporters throughout the 2009 season.
"To see the flow of the game stop because of penalties, I don't think it's just yards," Bisciotti continued. "It's trying to make these young guys understand that springing a guy for a 50-yard punt return by blocking some guy in the back, is not worth it. And we've got to address it."
The Ravens were penalized 115 times for a league-worst 1,094 yards this season, and they led the league in pass interference penalties. (We'll get to more on the P.I. department later on.)
Now, penalties don't always have a direct correlation to a team's record, and as Bisciotti pointed out, most of the teams in the playoffs this year had high penalty totals.
But it's the big-play, momentum-changing penalties that can change the outcome of games, and those are the kind of flags the Ravens seemingly saw a lot of this year, be it pass interference calls or flags on the special teams units.
What can be done to fix this problem? Bisciotti hinted at one idea: the team might have to start "weeding out some players" who aren't practicing proper technique and continue to show undisciplined play time after time.
The Ravens players and coaches certainly hope it won't have to come to that. But it's clear that the team's lack of discipline frustrated Bisciotti this season, and he's made limiting penalties one of his top priorities for 2010.
"I'd be the happiest guy in the world if we were 15th in the league in penalties, but we play an aggressive style of defense, and I really don't anticipate, nor do I care, if we're ever the least-penalized team," Bisciotti said. "But I certainly hope we're not one of the top-penalized teams, that goes without saying."