Cowboys' communication key for dome

November, 8, 2013
11/08/13
10:00
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys expect the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to be loud Sunday night when they play against the New Orleans Saints.

A night kickoff in New Orleans? Bourbon Street not far away? Yes, the fans will be ready.

While the practice fields might have been a little wet on Wednesday, the Cowboys moved practice to AT&T Stadium so they could practice indoors with crowd noise. Obnoxiously loud crowd noise. Arrowhead Stadium was loud in their Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but the other road trips have not been obnoxiously loud.

“It’s definitely a very tough spot to play,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “The communication is difficult. I think if you’re relying on communicating to move the football, you’re going to be in trouble, especially against this defense. I think you just got to have the team and players understand their assignments and be ready to go.”

The Saints’ opponents in their first four home games have committed just one false start and that came on a punt. So far this season the Cowboys have 11 false-start penalties, which is 21st in the NFL but way down from last season when they finished 31st in the league with 28.

The Cowboys altered their silent snap count from earlier in the season and had the right guard -- either Brian Waters or Mackenzy Bernadeau -- tap center Travis Frederick when Romo calls for the ball.

“It definitely helps,” Frederick said of the practice work with crowd noise, “because you can get used to things without crowd noise. You talk about it more on the line whereas with the noise you just have to know what it is or if this person says something it means something. Before [without noise] you could kind of ask, ‘What do you think this is?’ There’s no questioning now. Somebody has to make the call and then you have to do it because there’s no way to communicate back and forth.”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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