The Dallas Cowboys were much improved from the 2011 season during their 24-17 win over the New York Giants in the 2012 season opener. However, Dallas still has several in which it needs to improve with penalties being the most pressing. The Cowboys were flagged 15 times against the Giants, including nine in the fourth quarter. The fifth-most penalized NFL team over the past three seasons, Dallas won’t win many more games against playoff teams with that much dirty laundry on the field.
Going into CenturyLink Field on Sunday, the NFLstadium that draws more false starts by opponents than any other, will be a tough task for the Cowboys in their game against the Seattle Seahawks. As analyzed last week on RantSports.com, Dallas was called for five false starts against the Giants, including three against right tackle Doug Free, so the Cowboys’ offensive linemen are going to have to get much better at “holding their water” in a hurry.
Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram wrote Thursday that CenturyLink field has drawn more false starts from opponents per game (1.98) than any other stadium since since 2005. That’s a scary thought for the Cowboys, a penalty-prone team with a recent history of mental weakness.
To combat this, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has used speakers on the practice field at Valley Ranch in anticipation for the loud crowd noise in Seattle. This will be the first home game of the season for the Seahawks and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson‘s first game at CenturyLink Field, so the crowd will undoubtedly be deafening when Dallas’ offense is at work.
Even though the Seahawks’ stadium boasts the false start statistic, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo tends to have trouble with the play clock in loud arenas. Even though he supposedly “matured” in the off-season, Romo still had two delay of game penalties against the Giants and had to burn a timeout to avoid another. The Cowboys are hoping the speakers at Valley Ranch will help Romo with this, but it’s always been a problem for him.
The Cowboys have an excellent opportunity to prove the Giants game was no fluke, but guys like Romo and Free will have to show some mental toughness if Dallas hopes to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Dallas can bet that if it gets flagged 15 times again this week, the game won’t go the Cowboys’ way.