News: Running the Numbers: Cowboys’ Penalties Not All Created Equal

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    By Jonathan Bales

    In 2012, the Indianapolis Colts wildly outperformed preseason expectations on their way to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. Not coincidentally, they also led the NFL in penalty-yard differential; their opponents were penalized 407 yards more than they were throughout the course of the year.

    Prior to the season, I published the following graph as evidence that, as we’d expect, excessive penalties affect team performance in a big way.

    In 2012, the effects were greater than ever before with successful teams like the Colts, Falcons, Broncos, Patriots and Packers ranked in the top 10 in penalty-yard differential and poor squads like the Rams, Lions, Bills, Jaguars and, yes, your Dallas Cowboys all ranked in the bottom 10 in penalty-yard differential. Overall, top-10 teams in terms of penalty yards won an average of 9.6 games, while the bottom 10 teams averaged only 7.1 wins.

    This year wasn’t an aberration for Dallas, either. Over the past six seasons, the Cowboys have ranked in the bottom six in the NFL each year in total penalties. That’s six straight seasons ranked 27th or worse! If there’s ever been evidence that penalties remain relatively stable from year to year (they do), the Cowboys are it.

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  2. Flinger

    Flinger Active Member

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    Boy, this is the very thing and the very reason I believe that it is all up to the players. Coaching cannot solve this problem. The players have to be professional and be focused.

    I am hopeful that drafting former college captains will start the process of changing this demographic.
  3. Rynie

    Rynie Benched

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    Coaching won't solve any problems with penalties but I think it's reasonable they get better. Under Garrett, they might be worse.
  4. fivetwos

    fivetwos Active Member

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    Don't know exact numbers nor care to look for them, but it sure seems like we have an inordinant amount of defensive penalties after a third down stop.
  5. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    If you look at that chart, it goes all wonky from 2009 on, and doesn't completely support the hypothesis. Also, for real serious work, you'd have to break the penalties down by offense and defense, pre snap and gameplay penalties, etc.
  6. Future

    Future Intramural Legend

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    The Cowboys were real good under Parcells....

    Although I think players need to be held accountable for stupid mistakes like false starts, it is the head coach that needs to do so. I don't think either Wade or JG has done that.
  7. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    I disagree.

    If you ever play a position like TE, there's a lot of little things you have to do to prevent getting pre-snap penalties. Sometimes you don't get enough practice in and get the reps in so you get that stuff down. Other times the system and QB don't work in sync and penalties are caused. Then you have holding penalties caused by a player getting beat. Maybe the system makes it easy for the defensive player to jump the snap and causes the O-Line to get a bit jumpy.

    I'm more concerned with offensive penalties since they have *some* correlation to winning and losing in the NFL. I don't like the amount that Romo audibles, particularly last second audibles. Either he's got to change that or we need smarter players or both.

  8. Flinger

    Flinger Active Member

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    Hey - regarding offense, these guys know "the system" better than their opponent. So, if anyone should be able to anticipate the defense jumping the count, etc. - it should be our guys.

    Regarding pre-snap penalties - sorry, that is just mental and they should know better. They practice enough in different packages to know what to do and what not to do - including Witten (and, I am a huge fan of his).

    Regarding penalties like holding due to getting beat, although that can be mental, it is usually physical and hats off to the opponent. If it is consistent enough, like in the case of Free, then bench him and next man up...

    Finally, on defense this year, it is certainly possible to concede that our coaching was so uncoordinated that it had a negative effect on the players - such as 8, 9 or 12 men on the field.

    But, to reinforce my point about penalties primarlily being on the players - consider Ware. He had traditionally been pretty bad a jumping offside. But, he said he was making a commitment to avoid that and it appears it worked. Don't have the stats, but he appeared to have much fewer penalties this year.
  9. SilverStarCowboy

    SilverStarCowboy The Actualist

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    Penalties are a huge reason why there has to be a total culture change, by the team before the Fans and Media follow.

    Winning NFL teams are committing fewer errors, it doesn't matter why or when or how, if you get penalties it usually shows up in the win/loss column.

    The mentality or culture of this franchise shouldn't start with the Owner or the GM, it should start with the Head Coach. Until that happens, your Dallas Cowboys will have the same problem with penalties that they've had since Parcells finished.
  10. Kristen82

    Kristen82 Benched

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    Can teams fine players for committing penalties? I know they can for missing meetings and stuff like that.
  11. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    I'm too lazy to look up the numbers but it seems Witten is a pre-snap penalty "machine".
  12. Future

    Future Intramural Legend

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    For sure. He and Ware, two of our leaders, are guilty time and time again.

    That's a significant problem imo.

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