If you missed the Dallas Cowboys‘ first preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Saturday, here is a very quick recap: too many penalties. After being the most penalized team in football in 2021, it seems like the team picked up right where they left off.
To be fair, it is the preseason and none of the starters played. However, this entire offseason head coach Mike McCarthy has constantly talked about playing with better discipline and playing clean football.
On Saturday, the Cowboys were flagged a whopping 17 times. There were 24 other teams who were penalized less than half that amount in their first preseason games. The next closest team was the New England Patriots with 12 flags.
Although he seemed to shrug off the penalties in his postgame presser by saying “this is just the preseason” and it doesn’t have anything to do with last year, it’s hard to imagine that behind the cookie-cutter interview responses McCarthy wasn’t actually pissed. In fact, he seemed quite distressed during the game.
The Athletic’s Jon Machota caught a great moment on the broadcast after the 11th penalty drawn by the Cowboys. McCarthy is seen marching up the sideline, rolling his eyes, and tossing his hand away, as if to say he’s over it.
Mike McCarthy rolls his eyes and shows frustration on the sideline during the Cowboys’ heavily-penalized preseason game vs. Broncos
He should be angry! Continued lack of discipline is frustrating. It’s a reason many are doubting the team in 2022. The Cowboys coach certainly didn’t seem happy or thrilled during this incredibly short and tense halftime interview.
When the CBS 11 reporter tried to ask him about penalties, the coach cut him off midway through his sentence and said “it’s not good enough football.” He continued to say they battled through some penalty situations but ended by talking about getting substitutions and more players rotated into the game rather than addressing the discipline, or lack thereof.
It was a rough night for the team as a whole. It is early, but this wasn’t the first glimpse we wanted to see of this squad. This photo tweeted by Machota truly encapsulates the night.