Come on Wade, Crack the Whip!

Take a guess what these numbers represent:

119, 102, 83, 74, 57


These numbers represent the total number of penalties of five different teams last year.


57 – NE – the least penalized team in the league last year.


The other four numbers represent the NFC East teams:

74 – PHI

83 – WAS

102 – NYG

119 – DAL – the most penalized team in the league last year.




Over the last couple of days, I’ve taken the time to crunch the numbers and want to share with you what I found out.


I have divided the Cowboys penalties into GROUPS (OL, DL, LB, etc.)


First, let me give you these numbers:

The Offense was penalized 58 times (427 yards)

The Defense was penalized 42 times (343 yards)

The Special Teams were penalized 19 times (182 yards)


Here is the breakdown for each group with the player with the most penalty yards listed first.


The Offensive Line = 33 penalties (235 yards)

Adams - 13 for 85

Davis - 6 for 55

Columbo -  8 for 45

Gurode  - 3 for 30

Procter - 2 for 20

Kosier - 1 for 10


Observations:  Adams is the most penalized player on the team.  He was the first player in 2008 to be flagged, and it only took until the 6th play of the first game for him to get off on the wrong foot.  Of his 13 penalties, 9 of them were False Starts.  He had penalties in 11 different games.  On 9 of his penalties the offense did not get a first down after his gaff and either had to punt, settle for a long FG, or ended up with a turnover.  He single handedly stalled more drives than any other player on the 52 man roster.  Columbo is almost as bad, he had 6 False Starts.  By comparison, Gurode had 1, while Procter and Kosier had zero False Starts.


The Tight Ends and Wide Receivers = 15 penalties (109 yards)

Witten - 6 for 34

Owens - 2 for 25

Bennett - 3 for 23

Crayton - 1 for 10

Unnamed - 1 for 10

Curtis - 2 for 7


Observations:   I was a little surprised to see that of Witten’s 6 penalties, 4 of them were False Starts.  T.Owens had 2 penalties in the first game, and then went the next 15 games without a single infraction.


The Quarterbacks = 9 penalties (68 yards)

Romo - 8 for 63

Johnson - 1 for 5


Observations: Romo had 4 Intentional Groundings, and 4 Delay of Games.


The Running Backs = 1 penalty (15 yards)

Barber - 1 for 15


Observations:  The RBs are the least penalized group on the team.  Barber had 1 Face Mask call for 15 yards.  There were no other gaffs in this group.  Great concentration guys!  Keep up the good work!


The Defensive Line = 16 penalties (108 yards)

Ratliff - 5 for 44

Johnson - 4 for 35

Spears - 4 for 19

Hatcher - 2 for 10

Canty - 0 for 0


Observations:  Notice that Canty was never penalized the whole year (and now he belongs to the NYGs.)  10 of the 16 DL penalties were Offsides, Encroachment, or Neutral Zone Infractions.  To be a part-time sub, Tank Johnson had more penalties than most of the DL starters.


The Linebackers = 12 penalties (66 yards)

Ware - 5 for 25

James - 2 for 20

Ellis - 4 for 16

Spencer - 1 for 5

Z.Thomas - 0 for 0


Observations:  Notice that Z.Thomas was never penalized in 2008 (and now has been replaced by Brooking.)  All 5 of Ware’s penalties were Offsides and 2 of them came late in the season when he was approaching the sack record.


The Defensive Backs = 12 penalties (155 yards)

Newman - 2 for 44

Henry - 2 for 33

Davis - 1 for 21

Scandrick - 2 for 20

Jones - 2 for 16

Watkins - 1 for 15

Ball - 1 for 5

Hamlin - 1 for 1

Jenkins - 0 for 0


Observations:  Jenkins did not have a penalty while playing defense, but only when he was on Special Teams.  Hamlin was only penalized for 1 yard all year.  Henry never had another penalty after game 5.  Both of Newman’s infractions came late in the year (game 15 and 17.)


Also the Defense had 2 penalties by unnamed players, both of which were “12 men on the field.”


The Special Teams = 19 penalties (182 yards)

Watkins - 4 for 45

Carpenter - 3 for 25

Rogers - 2 for 20

Holland - 1 for 15

Octavien - 1 for 15

Jenkins - 2 for 12

Ladouceur - 1 for 10

Scandrick - 1 for 10

Brown - 1 for 10

Austin - 1 for 10

Folk - 1 for 5

Procter - 1 for 5


Observations: Watkins is the most penalized Special Teams player.  Counting his defensive penalty, he cost the team 5 infractions for 60 yards.  He can’t play Safety very well, and he is a liability on Special Teams.  I wouldn’t be disappointed if he fails to make the 52 man roster.  I don’t know what the average number of penalties for Special Teams is in the NFL, but 19 seems like a large number to me.  Perhaps with a new ST Coach, this will be an area of improvement.


Final Thoughts:

The following penalties should have all been avoided .

29 - False Starts (shared by the whole team) = nearly 145 total yards

18 - Offsides, Encroachment, and Neutral Zone Infractions = nearly 95 yards

10  - Roughing the Passer, Late Hits, Taunting, and Unnecessary Roughness = nearly 150 yards

4  - Illegal Formation / Illegal Motion penalties = 20 yards


Total “mental errors” = 61 penalties for nearly 410 yards.


Wade Phillips said he wants to bring some positive changes; how about start by eliminating all these penalties due to lack of concentration.  How many extra wins would we have had last year if we had been on the lower end of penalties instead of #1, on the top of the list?


Come on Wade, crack the whip!

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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