Penalties continue to be problematic

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys’ magic number appears to be 13.

When they have committed 13 penalties in a game in 2012, they are 2-0.

But they cannot continue with such Oakland-like recklessness and expect to keep winning. Penalties have been an issue for this team for the last 10 years, whether Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips or Jason Garrett is the coach.

The Cowboys had 13 penalties for 105 yards in Sunday’s 16-10 win against Tampa Bay, two games after they had 13 penalties for 86 yards in the season-opening win at the New York Giants.

The Cowboys had five false-start penalties (two each by Jason Witten and Doug Free and one by Tyron Smith).

“The communication at the line of scrimmage, we just have to clean up,” Garrett said. “I think some of the other penalties that have happened were almost effort penalties, guys trying to do too much and getting hands up in a face mask or some things that occur in a ballgame. You have to address those as well. We constantly address 'do your job,' and sometimes a guy wants to do their job well and get themselves in trouble. The pre-snap penalties we’ve just got to eliminate. We’ll keep working as a coach staff on it.”

With 36 penalties in three games, the Cowboys are on pace for 165. The team record is 141 set in 1988.