Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown didn’t need much time to evaluate his or the team’s season.
“Of course it’s been frustrating,” Brown said. “We’re 5-6. Of course, it’s frustrating.”
Brown has become somewhat of a scapegoat for the team’s three-game losing streak. Demoting Brown from a starting job is part of what the Cowboys’ coaching staff will do to try and spark the team out of a rut.
Brown described his season as being “all right,” but is as frustrated as anybody with the number of penalties called against him.
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Brown has been flagged 10 times this season. He has been called for defensive pass interference five times, defensive holding four times and has one special teams penalty.
Asked about the penalties, Brown shook his head and said: “I don’t know, man. I watch every NFL game, I don’t see nothing different with what other DBs do to what I do, but I just get the calls. So I have to deal with it.”
They’ve been costly penalties at times, too.
A defensive holding penalty at San Francisco wiped out an interception by Brown; two defensive pass interference penalties happened near the goal-line or in the end zone to set up easy TDs for the opposing teams at Washington and at Atlanta; and a defensive pass interference on fourth down kept what became a scoring drive alive for the Los Angeles Chargers on Thanksgiving.
Brown feels he’s playing with the same technique and fundamentals that he did as a rookie last season when he went from sixth-round draft pick to starter. In 2016, Brown was called for just two defensive pass interferences and one penalty on special teams.
Brown said it’s “probably a little bit of both” in terms of whether it’s his technique or officials calling ticky-tack penalties.
On the season, Brown ranks sixth on the team in tackles with 43, including two tackles for loss. He has one interception, one quarterback pressure and six passes defensed.
Brown has played more snaps than anyone else on defense — 696 of a possible 722 — but his playing time will diminish going forward.
The penalties are part of the reason why.
“A lot of time it’s just technique,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said about Brown’s penalties. “It’s not about want-to and those things – he works as hard as any guy out here, preparation and everything. But, at the end of the day, we’ve got to be better with our hands.
“You can’t … those are 10 first downs. Major ones. That’s a lot of yardage, so we’ve got to cut down. We control penalties ourselves either by concentration, self control or good judgment. We’ve got to use one of those three. That’s all under our control.”