Mike McCarthy on Cowboys’ 17 penalties: Clearly way too much

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It apparently doesn’t matter whether the Cowboys’ first team, second team or third team is on the field, they are going to commit penalties. Way too many penalties.

The Cowboys led the league with 153 last season, 11 more than any other team, with 127 of those accepted, according to NFLpenalties.com. Dallas continued that trend in the wild-card loss to the 49ers with another 14 flags.

Coach Mike McCarthy said this offseason that cleaning up the penalties was a goal for this season.

It hasn’t happened yet.

In Saturday’s preseason game against the Broncos, the Cowboys had 17 penalties for 129 yards, the most penalties for any team in the first week of the preseason. The league average was 6.6 penalties this week, according to David Helman of Fox Sports.

“The penalties are clearly way too much,” McCarthy said, via a transcript from the team. “We’ll look at those and keep going through it as far as combative versus disciplined. That’s clearly the biggest negative (from the game).”

McCarthy, though, doesn’t think the penalties in Saturday night’s preseason game have anything to do with the penalty problems the team had in 2021.

“I think we all recognize that this isn’t the regular season,” McCarthy said. “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.”

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