‘We got a penalty problem’: Riders lead CFL in flags through two weeks

Courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Two weeks into the 2024 regular season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders lead the CFL in penalties and penalty yards. Head coach Corey Mace has recognized the problem and wants to correct the issue immediately.

“This group, man… right now, we just find ways to make it so much harder than it has to be. We’ve done it the hardest freakin’ way on the road these first two weeks,” Mace told 620 CKRM post-game in Hamilton.

“But when faced against adversity, this is how they’ve responded in the first two weeks of the season. That’s an important pedigree for building something special, I’m trying to lean heavily on that but it’s hard to ignore the other stuff.”

The majority of that other stuff: penalties. The Riders have been flagged 18 times for 199 yards through two games in 2024. Saskatchewan had seven penalties for 84 yards against Edmonton in Week 1 and 11 for 115 yards against the Ticats in Week 2.

“We got a penalty problem. I keep reminding myself that we finished 1-0 this week in an adverse situation on the road yet again. Another week that these guys have examples of over and over again seeing how hard we make this on ourselves. The silver lining is if we can clean that up, what do we look like?” Mace wondered.

“Consequences last week were guys having to do specific things in the gym or some people might have had the rotation moved on them,” Mace said. “We’re going to have to attack it. It’s no hard feelings, it’s just hard work. There’s only one way to figure it out, sometimes taking money ain’t the answer.”

Despite the penalty issues, Mace has two straight wins to begin his head coaching career. Saskatchewan scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to come back and win in Edmonton to start the year, while the Riders scored 13 unanswered points against Hamilton to earn a second straight road victory in come-from-behind fashion.

“We’ve gotten comfortable being uncomfortable,” Mace said.

Saskatchewan has scored the most points in the CFL with 62, including 37 in the fourth quarter alone. Trevor Harris has helped his team score seven majors with 695 passing yards and five touchdown passes, all tops in the league.

“Big credit to Marc Mueller, he’s a star coaching in the making,” Harris said. “We’re really lucky to have him as our OC.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.