August 10, 2022

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Mike McCarthy takes next step to prevent Cowboys…

3 min read
Mike McCarthy takes next step to prevent Cowboys...


Just a few days after the Dallas Cowboys‘ devastating Wild Card loss to the San Francisco 49ers, head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters the one thing he was ready to focus on with his team in the 2022 offseason.

“Our No. 1 focus going forward is the penalties. There were far too many,” McCarthy said.

He’s far from wrong. The 14 penalties against the Cowboys in the Wild Card round tied the NFL record for the most flags thrown against any team in a playoff game. But it certainly wasn’t just that final contest.

The Thanksgiving game against the Las Vegas Raiders was penalty central. Both teams combined for 28 penalties and 276 yards. Plus, it was an Anthony Brown pass interference call that led to the game-winning field goal for the Raiders. For some weeks, it felt like things were getting better, but it didn’t last long.

Dallas ended the year leading the league with 141 penalties that resulted in 1,192 yards lost. The team’s 20 declined penalties were only one less than the Detroit Lions – a team that went 3-13-1 in 2021.

So, when McCarthy was offered to have officials attend offseason programming, he saw it as an opportunity. At OTAs and minicamps, an officiating crew was there to throw flags and take part in meetings.

Mike McCarthy invites officiating crew to offseason programming to help with the Cowboys’ penalty issues

Here’s what the head coach told reporters after minicamp:

 “I thought it was great to have the officials. And really the biggest benefit that I’ve always felt when you have the officials at your practices is not as much having them on the field, but having them in your meetings: the ability to talk about the technique that we’re teaching, what they’re looking for. Because all of those guys- Bill Vinovich all the way through his whole crew- I thought they did a great job of communicating and interacting with our players and just telling them what they see. I think, like anything, group dynamics are about building relationships. Not that you’re going to build a relationship that’s going to benefit you with the referees as far as how they call it, but it does help you talk to them about… getting as close to the line as you can without getting a flag called.”

This is coming from a guy who complained about officiating many times throughout the 2021 season. Cowboys Nation can only hope that the coaching staff and players working together with referees will help penalty numbers in 2022.

Additionally, this wasn’t just something McCarthy wanted to use for OTAs. He told the press that he plans to have the officials at training camp multiple times. The head coach added that there will be two sets of officiating crews at the team’s scheduled practice with the Denver Broncos.

McCarthy admitted that this was more than he’d ever interacted with referees in offseason programming, but understood the benefits of including them ahead of the season. The 58-year-old said that these meetings will only help both the officials and players be better at their jobs when next season comes.

“I get more out of the conversation with the officials off to the side or in meetings than anything else. You get to talk about situations. You get to talk about how we’re teaching game management situations and how they view them and so forth. We obviously talked about our last play against the 49ers. You get a chance to go back and review the mechanics, and they’ve obviously had a chance to review their mechanics. I just think it makes us all better.”

This, of course, is an excellent look for a coach who led a team that just couldn’t seem to avoid flags and whistles. Hopefully, the mutual relationship will pay off this upcoming season.

Mike McCarthy takes next step to prevent Cowboys penalties at OTAs/camp