'Boys Expect Fewer Penalties As O-Line Adjusts With Cook

IRVING, Texas – Though he snapped admirably, the timing of the offensive line seemed shaky when Ryan Cook stepped in unexpectedly at center following Phil Costa's back issues on the Cowboys' first drive of the opener.

Dallas committed 13 penalties in the game, five of which were false starts. Left tackle Tyron Smith, who committed three of the false starts, said it was difficult to get on the same page as the center during the snap count.

Cook didn't play a preseason game with the Cowboys and was with the team less than a week before the opener.

"That's why I was offsides a couple, few times," Smith said. "We're on the same page this week and know what to expect this week coming up."

Four of the Cowboys' first six penalties were false starts, but they only had one false start penalty in the second half, as the line acclimated to the new center.

After more than a week of practice with Cook, head coach Jason Garrett said the pre-snap penalties on the line should diminish.

"A few of them were simply just timing issues where the other offensive linemen were anticipating that ball coming up a little bit quicker, and they got a quick jump on it," Garrett said.

Even veteran tight end Jason Witten committed a false start and a holding penalty in his return from injury. He knows it's rare to win with that many penalties, and he said it's a vital area the Cowboys need to correct against the Seahawks in a stadium renowned for its noise and intensity.

"You've got to communicate," Witten said. "We've worked on that. Obviously, we've got a new center in there. We can't allow that to get in the way. It's going to be loud. We need to play better on offense, just clean up. We can't have eight pre-snap penalties, for sure."

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