Cowboys must avoid retaliation vs. Titans

Having seen the Tennessee Titans get underneath the skin of the New York Giants a couple of weeks ago, it's obviously an important part of their approach. Perhaps more than any team in the league, the Titans like to take an extra swipe or two after the whistle. That's what contributed to five post-whistle penalties for the Giants and caused Tom Coughlin to yank two of his starters off the field in that 29-10 loss.

Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips has warned his players this week about the Titans and urged them not to retaliate once the whistle has blown. Cowboys film sessions have zeroed in on what led to some of the infractions by the Giants. And Dallas should pay close attention to Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who just picked up his third $5,000 fine of the season Thursday per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton called Finnegan a "cheap" player following Sunday's game, but the cornerback wasn't fazed.

"I was just being me," he told Wyatt.

The Cowboys have been down this road with the Titans before. Albert Haynesworth was a member of the team when he infamously stepped on center Andre Gurode's head following a play four years ago. I don't think Titans coach Jeff Fisher would encourage something that dirty, but he certainly gives his players a lot of freedom to intimidate/annoy opponents.

Giants safety Antrel Rolle tried to explain after the game that it was important to defend his "manhood." But last time I checked, the league didn't award "manhood" points. The Cowboys will have to show a lot of discipline Sunday, and that hasn't been a particular strength this season.