OXNARD, Calif. –We've seen running. We've seen pushups. We've seen players pulled from practice. Now, the Cowboys are trying a different approach in to get players to be accountable for their mental mistakes in practice.
This year, jumping offside before the snap doesn't just get you pulled out of the drill. The entire group will go off the field as well.
So earlier this week when DeMarcus Ware jumped the snap in the team period, he went off the field and replaced by the second-team. And along with him went Jason Hatcher, Sean Lissemore and Ben Bass, the players making up the first-team defensive unit these days.
"One of the things we really emphasize form a coaching staff standpoint and throughout our team is the word accountability," head coach Jason Garrett said. "We have to take accountability for what we're doing. We have to hold each other accountable."
Last year, the Cowboys ranked 31st in the NFL with 28 false start penalties. The Cowboys ranked also ranked 30th in the league with 16 defensive offside infractions.
"We have to get better in the area of pre-snap penalties. There's no secret to that," Garrett said. "It's a whole unit thing. It's the offensive unit or the defensive unit. Everybody's responsible for that. On offense it's the quarterback's cadence, making it friendly to the offensive linemen. And obviously it's the offensive linemen, receivers, backs and tight ends' responsibility to stay onsides. We feel like it's a good idea to make sure it's not only the guy who does it, it's everybody."
Garrett explained if a member of the first-team group jumps offside or has a false start, they will be replaced by the second-teamers. If the second group has the same infraction, the third group goes in. And if that happens again, the third-teamers gets bumped by the first-group. Garrett said that scenario won't go over well to the starters.
"If you're a 3, you don't want that to happen," Garrett said. "The (ones) are some of the best players we have and have plenty of reps. They don't want more reps. We think it's a good accountability system and got to make sure we get the behavior right on both sides of the ball."