Cowboys trying to fix penalty problem

Updated: October 20, 2010, 1:03 PM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- Coach Wade Phillips said the Dallas Cowboys are considering bringing in referees to practices in an effort to help fix the team's penalty problems.

The Cowboys (1-4) are tied with the Tennessee Titans for third in the NFL with 49 penalties, and the offense leads the league with 30.

During preseason, referees come to NFL training camps for a few days to go over new rules changes and to help offenses determine if formations are set up correctly and if players are onsides or offsides.

"We may. That's a possibility," Phillips said. "The officials we get [during camp], all they do is stand there and watch and see if we line up onside or offside. ... But there are some other things we're going to explore."

Phillips blames some of the calls on the Cowboys' offense having the ball more than any other team, creating opportunities for more penalties. Dallas leads the NFL in time of possession with an average of 33:47 per game.

"We've had the ball a lot more than everybody else," Phillips said. "I still think -- and I may be wrong -- but I think you have more penalties if you have more offensive plays. There's more things that can happen offensively.

"There's a line where you have too many that cost you drives or field goals or touchdowns. There is a fine line there. We've gone over the line."

The Baltimore Ravens are second in time of possession (33:34), but have been penalized 38 times (12th in NFL). The Atlanta Falcons are third (33:29), but have been flagged just 27 times -- 26th in the NFL.

Only the Detroit Lions (59) and Oakland Raiders (55) have been penalized more than the Cowboys. Both teams have losing records.

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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