Cowboys want NFL to look at snaps
As they do with several plays each week, the Dallas Cowboys have asked the NFL to look into Washington's snap simulation from Monday's game that led to several early shotgun snaps from center Phil Costa.
The Cowboys have accused the Redskins of causing Costa's itchy trigger finger by mimicking Romo's cadence. The culprit was thought to be Washington defensive end Stephen Bowen, who spent the last five seasons in Dallas.
An official response has not been sent yet, but coach Jason Garrett is not waiting for a reply to get it corrected before Sunday's game against Detroit.
"We need to be able to handle the situation and we'll do a better job of that going forward," Garrett said. "A lot of times there's noise at the line of scrimmage and we just need to be able to decipher what's our noise and what's their noise. The NFL understands what's going on and they're trying to address it and handle it the right way, but we've not had much communication with them about it."
It is illegal for a defense to simulate the snap, according to NFL rules. Section 3 Unsportsmanlike conduct, Disconcerting, Article i says, "The defensive use of acts or words designed to disconcert an offensive team at the snap. An official must blow his whistle immediately to stop play."
While Garrett may have talked with referee Ed Hochuli during the game about the tactics, the repositioning of the umpire from behind the defensive line to offset in the backfield opposite the referee makes it difficult for it to be heard during a game.
League spokesman Greg Aiello said via email, "Our communication on that will be with the team."
The Redskins, meanwhile, accuse the Cowboys of making up the whole thing. Washington coach Mike Shanahan says there's proof.
"The center is miked, and when the center is miked, you go back in audio and you'll find out if one of our players did say a snap count," Shanahan said. "And they did not."
Bowen was especially peeved about being dragged into this.
"You ask the guys in Dallas. They know my character," he said. "I've never been that type of guy. I just line up and play ball."
Bowen said he knew during the game that the Cowboys were making the allegations because, "the ref came to us and said, 'Are (you) giving fake snap counts?'"
"I looked at (nose tackle) Barry (Cofield), like: 'Did you make a noise?" Bowen said. "He was like, 'I didn't make a noise. I didn't even hear anything.'"
Bowen suggested that Costa is "trying to make excuses for him messing up."
"I lost a lot of respect for Costa," Bowen said. "Just be a man and tell the truth. If that was the case, if we were making snap counts, how come no other offensive linemen jumped offsides? It makes no sense because he's lying. He just needs to be a man and stand by his word. Everybody respects a man who could tell the truth."
Costa misfired on four snaps, two that sailed past quarterback Tony Romo and two that were tough for him to catch.
Undrafted out of college, Costa made the Cowboys last season and started one game at guard as an injury fill-in. He played so well at center during training camp that Dallas booted Pro Bowl regular Andre Gurode to hand him the job, even though he was dealing with a knee injury. The knee has sidelined him some this season, one of many injuries along the line and throughout the Cowboys' offense.
Costa took responsibility for the snaps after the game and had a conversation recently with Gurode.
"It was cool," Costa said. "He's a good dude."
On Tuesday, in an interview with The Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas, he absolved Bowen but said that the Redskins' defensive linemen were "barking a little bit."
"Either way, it is on me," Costa said.
Todd Archer covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.