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Cowboys aren’t having 11-on-11 drills in OTAs to avoid another violation of the rules

Mike Florio and Chris Simms examine Mike McCarthy’s shortcomings in recent seasons to assess how much of it ultimately falls on him versus circumstances that were out of his control.

The Cowboys’ practices don’t look like real practices, because, well, they aren’t.

After sanctions the past two years for practices that were deemed too physical, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is making sure they won’t incur another one this year during organized team activities.

“Our team periods are basically walk-throughs and jog-throughs,” McCarthy said, via Todd Archer of ESPN. “So, we won’t have a competitive 11-on-11 drill here probably ever again in the offseason.”

McCarthy paid a fine of $50,000 in 2021 and $100,000 in 2022 for the Cowboys having too much contact in offseason practices without pads. According to Archer, a brief kerfuffle between two players last year led to an investigation that prompted the penalties, which also included a fine for the team and a loss of OTAs.

A third violation potentially could cost the Cowboys a draft pick.

McCarthy said team drills under the current guidelines “really are not practical.”

He was asked whether the Cowboys’ change in format was related to his $150,000 in fines. McCarthy offered a smile, prompting laughter from reporters.

“I mean I’m glad you find humor in it,” McCarthy said. “My wife and I don’t think it’s really funny. It’s actually a sore spot with me. I’m on camera [or] I’d tell you exactly how I really feel. Got to follow the rules.”