After the disappointing 17-7 loss against the Broncos, the Dallas Cowboys penalty issues erupted. Head coach Mike McCarthy sent a clear message his team.
The Cowboys were flagged 17 time during the matchup. This was the highest number of flags in the NFL’s first week of preseason games. The situation is critical for the Cowboys who lead the league in 153 penalties — with 124 of them accepted — last year. McCarthy was not too worried considering the circumstances, but he recognizes that the Cowboys must be more disciplined in order to end the story.
“I think we all recognize that this isn’t the regular season,” McCarthy told reporters after the game. “I understand your question, (but) last year was last year. I think last year as far as trying to establish a play style and an identity, it took us a while to get that and once we did, we won a number of games. This is really the starting point that you go through every year.
“This is preseason. I don’t think this has anything to do with last year. But I didn’t like the number of penalties. I made it clear. I talked about it at halftime and I talked about it briefly in there (the locker room). We’ll take a long look at it.”
McCarthy was unhappy about one flag, a personal foul against Dante Fowler , a veteran pass-rusher . This flag was instrumental in setting up the Broncos’ first touchdown of the evening.
“That’s a discipline penalty,” McCarthy said. “Frankly, that’s why Dante was done for the night after that. We can’t have that.”
Fowler was acquired this offseason with the hopes of becoming part of the Cowboys pass rush rotation solution. However, Fowler is not happy being in the doghouse early with his coach. Fowler expressed confidence that he can contribute, even though his first appearance in Cowboys colors was cut short.
“[The Cowboys] put me in the right position just to make plays and that’s exactly what’s going on here. I feel really confident in the system, I’m getting more confident in it,” Fowler said during an interview on “105.3 The Fan” on August 10. “It feels great to be part of a team that just wants to win, being able to be a part of a team that has a lot of great guys, lot of great teammates that has good chemistry and really just has one goal to win a Super Bowl.”
Tyler Smith, the Cowboys’ first round pick, was the focus of all attention. Smith played 37 snaps and allowed pressure per PFF. He did however contribute to the penalty issues by making two holding calls.
“I feel like there’s a lot to improve on. I’m never going to praise myself,” Smith told reporters after the game. “I just got to improve. I seek to be better regardless if I had a good game, bad game or whatever it may be. Be better than you were the day before.”
The Cowboys’ second preseason match is set for August 20th against the Chargers.