IRVING, Texas -- For the sixth straight year the Cowboys had more than 100 penalties in a season, matching the longest streak in team history.
The Cowboys’ 114 penalties were fifth-most in the NFL and Jason Garrett was unable to correct a problem that has plagued predecessors Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips.
Doug Free and DeMarcus Ware led the Cowboys with 10 penalties called, although Ware had one penalty declined during the year. Free had five holding penalties and five false starts. Ware had seven offside penalties, two roughing the passer penalties and a neutral zone infraction.
Spencer had four neutral zone infractions, which means the Cowboys’ best pass rushers had 12 penalties in which they could not time the snap properly. Spencer’s other penalties were an unnecessary roughness, roughing the passer, running into the kicker and face mask.
An interesting note: three backup secondary players combined for 20 penalties. Scandrick had eight. Alan Ball had seven. Frank Walker had five. Fourteen of those were on defense. Scandrick was a quasi-starter as the nickel back, but Ball and Walker were flagged far too often given the amount of snaps they played. Guard Montrae Holland had six penalties in 10 games.
Another interesting note: Mike Jenkins was not penalized all year. Yes, he missed four games, but he was flagged nine times last year with six pass interference penalties. He was a much improved player all around in 2011.
Here’s the player-by-player breakdown of penalties
10 – Doug Free, DeMarcus Ware
8 – Anthony Spencer, Tyron Smith, Orlando Scandrick
7 – Alan Ball
6 – Montrae Holland
4 – Jason Hatcher