From a 30,000-foot perspective there is very little wrong with the Dallas Cowboys. It is difficult to poke holes in a team that has won six games in a row, is likely going to win their division with ease, and who’s latest victory came in a contest where they started an undrafted free agent at quarterback in the signal-caller’s first ever actual start.
Life in the NFL can be treacherous, though, and things can turn from rosy to grey rather quickly. This bumpy ride can even play itself out during a single game as fortunes can change over a half, quarter, or single drive.
We discussed the number of penalties that the Cowboys are taking on in the latest episode of The Ocho on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our podcast network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
We all want to see the Cowboys succeed. That means that we want to see them crack down on the number of penalties that are being called against them.
The Cowboys are on pace to be one of the most-penalized teams in NFL history
It is clear that in their return to action this week that Mike McCarthy is placing a high level of emphasis on penalties for the Cowboys. Consider that Bradlee Anae drew a critical offsides penalty in Minnesota that kept the Vikings drive alive (which wound up getting points by way of a field goal when they would have otherwise punted). Those types of things simply cannot happen and Dallas has been lucky to avoid any serious consequences from them.
McCarthy noted that the team spent “6-8 minutes” discussing penalties on Wednesday and for good reason. The Cowboys currently have the third-most penalties called and sixth-most penalty yards against them.
Dallas is averaging 8.3 penalties per game at the moment and right around 70 yards in terms of penalized yards against them per game. The fact that they are 6-1 while surrendering around 70 yards a game by way of penalties is actually unimpressively impressive.
Now, before you totally freak out and think that the Cowboys are this supremely undisciplined group, it should be noted that playoff teams since the merger average 6.2 penalties and 52 penalized yards against them per game. Does that make you feel better? Doubtful.
Perhaps it will bring you some solace to know that the Cowboys are not alone. Compared to other divisional leaders at the momen,t Dallas is sort of par for the course.
While the Cowboys are drawing the most penalties per game of any division leader at this point the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - no big deal, just the defending world champions - are actually taking on more penalty yards per game. The fact that Tampa beat Dallas in the season-opener is a bit more frustrating in this context, but obviously we are a long way removed since then.
Obviously we want to see the Cowboys float closer to the middle here around where the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals are at. You will note that the Green Bay Packers are currently an outlier in the opposite direction which somewhat suggests that maybe they could draw more penalties and penalized yards as the season goes on so as to get closer to average. They could obviously potentially stay where they are at or improve, though.
As Cowboys fans we are scarred to believe that there is a bottoming out coming for this team, but they have impressed us at every turn so far this season. There is a long way to go for them to actually improve how they are playing in this particular capacity which should help all the more.