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Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy Reveals 'No. 1 Offseason Focus' (Yup, Penalties)

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

FRISCO - Head coach Mike McCarthy disagrees that his Dallas Cowboys have what we termed to him a "dangerous habit'' of blaming the referees for losses, but did in his Wednesday season-closing media meeting here at The Star that his team's penalty problem is an offseason priority.

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

Dallas committed an absurd number of errors in that category in Sunday's Wild Card playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, with undisciplined play being a part of the fact the Cowboys committed 14 penalties in the 23-17 loss.

That ties the NFL record for the most by any team in a playoff game. ... following up a regular season during which Dallas led the league in penalties.

The Cowboys finished with 127 penalties on the season. Their 1,103 penalty yards were second in the league.

And in this game?

The 14 flags cost Dallas 89 yards in the loss, the mistakes matching a season-high and represented the fifth time this year.

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All told, the Cowboys committed 10-plus penalties in five games during this 12-6 (counting the playoff game) season.

"It's penalties, and it was self-inflicted," TV analyst Tony Romo said after the game on CBS Sports HQ. "It was a lack of a mental approach almost, it was careless. So many penalties before the snap, and you can't have that many and expect to beat good teams. The Cowboys really hurt themselves." 

McCarthy might agree with the Cowboys' mental approach to the refs - even as QB Dak Prescott felt obligated to apologize for his anti-ref remarks after the loss. But "hurting themselves''? The coach doesn't disagree with that.

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