Penalties were a common theme for the Dallas Cowboys last season, as they led the league with 141 on the season. Additionally, Dallas had 14 penalties in their wild card playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers back in January. Now it's a different season, but the same problem for the Cowboys.
And yet, there is a sentiment out of team headquarters that suggests maybe it’s not all so bad.
The Cowboys were flagged 17 times in their 17-7 preseason loss to the Denver Broncos on Saturday, the most any team has been penalized in a preseason game since 2019.
"I don't like the number of penalties," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said after the game. "To be clear, I talked about it at halftime and talked about it briefly in there, we'll take care of it and we'll all look at it."
Despite the narrative from fans and the media, McCarthy doesn't see any connection between last year's struggles and the penalty issues on Saturday.
"This is preseason and I don't think this has anything to do with last year, obviously you guys can write whatever you want but it's a starting point," said McCarthy.
In fact, McCarthy went as far as making the penalties on Saturday a reason for optimism going forward.
"This will help us get ready," McCarthy stated. "You need to draft and develop. This is what it looks like unfortunately sometimes, but we will be better fundamentally, and I have great confidence in that."
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Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore also took an optimistic outlook when talking about Saturday's struggles.
"It counts a whole lot to our development," said Gallimore. "I just feel like the great thing we have in this room is that a lot of these guys are a lot harder on themselves then we need to [be], which is good because it allows us to get after the little things and attack the small details to make sure we don't make those same mistakes or try our best that it doesn't happen."
While many Dallas fans are pressing the panic button, Gallimore and McCarthy seem largely optimistic ... frustrating to fans as that might be. Nonetheless, if Dallas doesn't clean things up ar the Los Angeles Chargers this Saturday in Week 2 of preseason, there will be more ridicule going forward.
Or, optimistically, more to learn from.
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