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July 25, 2013

Cowboys not pulling out only a player for a pre-snap penalty, but an entire offense or defense

Jason Garrett has a new trick for getting accountability on pre-snap penalties.

If anyone jumps, the entire unit – not merely the offending player – is pulled out of the drill for a snap. For example, if Jason Witten false-starts, the entire No. 1 offense comes out.

“The 2s will go in. If the 2s jump offside or have a pre-snap penalty, the 3s go in. If the 3s go have to go out, the 1s will go back,” Garrett said.

It has happened every day. Tuesday, Tony Romo induced false starts from the first-team defense on its first two snaps.

“We have to take accountability for what we’re doing,” Garrett said. “We have to hold each other accountable. We have to get better in the area of pre-snap penalties. There’s no secret to that. 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’s, receivers’ and 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 joked that the No. 3 team certainly doesn’t want to lose its snaps, and not just because they get fewer than anybody else.

“If you’re a 3, you don’t want that to happen,” he said and smiled. “The 1s are some of the best players we have and have plenty of reps. They don’t want more reps.”

There is one little problem, however.

Because the Cowboys are mixing and matching some players between strings, it could be that the second-team guard, for example, who jumps gets to stay because he’s also the third-string center.

“So that’s something we have to figure out,” Garrett said.

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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