San Francisco 49ers

Greg Roman: Delay-of-game fouls not always bad

SANTA CLARA -- Yes, the 49ers tend to lead the league in delay-of-game penalties, and it's something the team wants to clean up. But it's also a problem they are willing to tolerate from time to time, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said today.

I think, No. 1, we want to be in control of the game,” Roman said. “And there's a lot of different ways to do it. And there's definitely specific opponents in the past (where) there was a couple of different situations where I was very willing to live with that. But generally speaking, it's something that we've got to improve and become more efficient at. And there's other areas as well. It's a race to it to get better.”

Whereas some teams – the Eagles, for example – try to race to the line of scrimmage as quickly as possible, the 49ers take the opposite approach. They often like to bring the play clock to its final ticks so that the defense is locked into a specific look that dictates the play the 49ers will use.

The problem is that sometimes the 49ers get burned by their own strategy and either have to waste a timeout or get hit with a delay-of-game penalty. That happened twice in Sunday's win over the Eagles.

Last season teams averaged 4.6 delay-of-game fouls over the course of the year, according to the NFL. The 49ers had 11. The only other team that came close to that number was Tampa Bay, with nine. Three teams – the Panthers, Packers and Patriots – had one.

Through four games, the 49ers are on pace to top last year. They have four delay-of-game penalties. Only one other team – Tampa Bay again – has three, and 11 teams have not been called for delay of game.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers .

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