Center Travis Frederick constantly works on the little things, and particularly focused on trying to eliminate as many penalties as possible going into his third pro season.
So far, so good.
Frederick has committed only one penalty, being flagged for a false start two weeks ago at Green Bay. That’s a significant improvement from a season ago when he made his first Pro Bowl, but had been called for six penalties. As a rookie in 2013, he was flagged three times.
“You try and eliminate negative plays,” Frederick said. “Even if you have a play that you don’t win on -- if you’re losing, the people around you can make up for it. It’s kind of something that I’ve tried to improve on. I had some penalties my first year and in my second year, and hopefully I’m trying to get through this year as clean as possible.
“We have playmakers. We have a ton of people that can make those plays, but we just have to give them the opportunity.”
Frederick, who earned Pro Bowl honors again this season, remembers the exact play in which he drew his lone penalty this season. It happened in the fourth quarter on a damp playing surface at Lambeau Field, an illegal snap to Matt Cassel.
“It was a mixture of things. It was a slippery ball, I didn’t get it up,” Frederick said. “I didn’t see the illegal snap – to be honest,. I thought it was a legal snap and a fumble. But I guess out of those two, I’d take the illegal snap penalty.”
Outside of that penalty, Frederick has had a seemingly flawless season. He has not allowed a sack, and has been a reliable center regardless of the Cowboys using four quarterbacks during the season for only the second time in franchise history.
“He’s such a solid, steady guy,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s a great leader for that offensive line unit. It’s great to have that at the center position, in the middle of your offense. He doesn’t say a whole lot, has great leadership qualities though. Those guys follow him, they listen to him, and he has great credibility in our locker room.
“And then he goes and plays well. I think his attention to detail in terms of technique probably has a lot to do with that [low penalty numbers]. He’s always in good position, has really good hands and really good feet, and he works very hard at refining those skills.”