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Monday, November 12, 2012
Defensive penalties concern Cowboys

By Calvin Watkins

IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys were penalized 13 times for 75 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. There were 10 penalties on the defense, including a team season-high five on rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne.

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Defensive end Jason Hatcher was flagged twice on the opening drive and the secondary picked up six overall.

The penalties are concerning several people, including owner Jerry Jones and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

"We got to play the game right," Ryan said after the victory. "We don’t get penalized very often. That’s not who we are. We got a little excited there and we got to correct it and they can go on two (count) in this league and we thought they can go on one (count) and we’ll figure that out and get it corrected."

Jones is trying to be encouraging about a defense that knocked quarterback Michael Vick out of the game with hard hits by nose tackle Jay Ratliff and a push down by inside linebacker Ernie Sims. The Cowboys also forced a turnover, a Brandon Carr interception return for a score, and should have had three more, but Orlando Scandrick dropped two and Anthony Spencer had his pick negated by a Claiborne penalty.

"I'm concerned about focusing on offsides and concerned about some of those penalties," said Jones, whose Cowboys team was penalized four times for offsides and twice for encroachment. "They put us in an early hole. They know they’re going to hard count us (and) we got a good pass rush when we have Spencer in there with (DeMarcus) Ware and they are taught and coached to expect the hard count so we got to zero in on that more. That's not a criticism. That’s just an area we got some work to do cause I know how hard our guys work to coach our players to watch out for hard counts."