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Wade Phillips: Might Be Time to ‘Embarrass’ Dallas Cowboys’ Penalty-Makers

In their first preseason game on Saturday, the Dallas Cowboys committed 17 penalties, costing them 129 yards. It was a carryover from Dallas’ Wildcard loss to the San Francisco 49ers last January and should be concerning for coach Mike McCarthy and the NFL’s most-penalized team in the 2021 regular season.

Here’s how I would handle a game like that if it happened with one of my teams: 

Hammer the Point Home

If you have a game where you have a lot of penalties, and it gets you beat, you can really hammer that home as a coach. 

You can ask your team, “Were they better than we were? Or did we beat ourselves with too many penalties?” 

Address It in Practice

If you have too many holding penalties, then at practice you should have an official that will call those holding penalties. When a player gets whistled for a hold, you take them out. 

When I worked with Dan Reeves in Denver, he used to take someone out if they made a mistake. If they jumped offside and got whistled for it, he’d make them run a lap.

You have to make everyone on the team know that the player did wrong. You have to make an example of them in practice to try to eliminate those things. 

Create Accountability

Sure, you’re trying to embarrass them a little bit, but you’re making a point. You’re saying to the team, “Hey, we can’t have those things, and if we do it in practice, there is going to be some kind of penalty for it.” 

You can say it’s treating them like kids, but I think it’s treating them like men, because now you’ve told them straight: “Hey, this is what’s going to hurt our team.”

That’s how you make sure players know they’ve got to be accountable.

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