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Game Notes

10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In Cleveland

RJ Ochoa

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Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott

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Who's got two thumbs and is 7-1? The Dallas Cowboys, that's who.

The Dallas Cowboys are on all kinds of fire, and they proved it with an emphatic win in Cleveland on Sunday. On Monday you and I celebrated this with another rendition of #VictoryPoloMonday, and now we need to actually discuss what happened.

We're no longer talking about a few games or a nice little streak. We're talking about one of the best teams in the National Football League, and one that needs to be taken very seriously. We're talking about how the Dallas Cowboys showed up and flexed their muscle in Cleveland. Here are my 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In Cleveland.

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Jason Witten Can Still Get It Done

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In Cleveland

Death, taxes, and Jason Witten is awesome.

'Ol man Witten is still getting it done in his 14th NFL season, and he's getting it done at an insanely high level. When the Cowboys traveled to Cleveland on Sunday and the Browns decided to take away Dez Bryant, Jason Witten made them pay.

Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott looked Witten's way a total of 10 times on Sunday, and he connected with him eight times for 134 yards. 134 yards. Jason Witten. In his 14th season!

It really is amazing how Jason Witten is continually great, in new and innovative ways... but always with a classic touch. Respect the legend.

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Gavin Escobar Is Alive

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In Cleveland 2

We're in the month of November so you're undoubtedly looking forward to some high-octane Thanksgiving action in a few weeks. It's a special holiday that comes once a year, and one that's deliciousness lasts throughout it.

The last time Gavin Escboar caught a pass in an NFL game was Thanksgiving... 2015. Seriously. Gavin Escobar had gone almost a full calendar year without catching a pass, until Dak Prescott found him in the endzone.

One catch for two yards. Welcome back to the world, Gavin!

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Maliek Collins Is A Big Part Of The Cowboys Defense

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In Cleveland 3

The Cowboys are getting tons of fanfare for two rookies - a rarity in the NFL - but they have a third who is balling out as well. Maliek Collins is a stud!

The only two defensive linemen who saw more playing time than Maliek Collins in this game were DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford. Maliek is the man, and he proved it when he produced two sacks to get on the board for his career.

It's no secret that the Cowboys pass rush isn't their strength, but they seemingly have a solid amount of depth at the defensive tackle position. Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, Terrell McClain, and Cedric Thornton would all be starters everywhere else. The Cowboys use who's on fire, and right now that's Maliek Collins.

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Dan Bailey Continues To Be Excellent, Even In Hidden Ways

One of my Bold Predictions for this game included the golden foot - and indefinable swagger - of Dan Bailey.

Inside The Pylon's Chuck Zodda pointed out that Dan Bailey has a tendency to alternate which hash mark he attempts extra points from. Danny boy did it again in this game! How awesome is that?

Coach Garrett told ESPN San Antonio's The Blitz on Monday that Dan "has a feel" for where he wants to attempt extra points. All of the points... give them to Dan Bailey. He is king.

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Dak Prescott Didn't Force Anything To Dez Bryant

When Dez Bryant returned from injury last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, we saw rookie quarterback Dak Prescott favor him a little bit more than other receivers.

It would be very difficult for a quarterback to not always throw Dez Bryant's way, because he's the man. Dak learned from last week - arguably his worst individual performance this season - and got back to putting the ball on the open receiver.

The Cleveland Browns were very intent on eliminating Dez Bryant from this game. While they seemingly did, it was that element that helped the Cowboys have success elsewhere. Dez contributed significantly, Dak Prescott just let it happen as opposed to trying and fight it.

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Dak Prescott Showed A Ton Of Leadership

It's totally alright that Dez Bryant served more of a decoy role in this game, and it's totally understandable for that to feel frustrating for him.

Witha a 7-3 lead at their back, the Cowboys were driving and trying to score. Dez Bryant had what looked to be a sure-handed touchdown, but he dropped a pass that hit him in the hands (to be fair Cleveland's Joe Haden was interfering with him).

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Dak grabbed Dez after the Zeke TD. Gotta believe he's telling him to be cool. This is a rookie quarterback.

Dez came over to the sidelines - after the Cowboys scored on an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown - and looked to be upset. We don't know what was said, but it looked like Dak Prescott grabbed him and calmed him down. Again, it's totally fine for Dez to be upset with being held/interfered with. It's great to see Dak Prescott be a leader in these situations.

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Cole Beasley Is The Best Slot Receiver In The NFL

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In Cleveland 4

Cole "The Saucemaster" Beasley has turned in game after game this season.

Beasley caught six passes (on six attempts mind you) for 56 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, he is the ultimate point of consistency. When Dak Prescott or whoever else is looking for Cole, he's always open. He always catches it. He always converts a first down. Cole is amazing.

There's no denying that Cole Beasley has been the best receiver on the Cowboys this season (considering Dez's absence for some of it), but he is far and away the best slot receiver in the NFL. There's nobody more consistent, reliable, or sauce-tastic as him. Bam.

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Ezekiel Elliott Was Quietly Amazing

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In Cleveland 5

When members of Cowboys Nation thought about Zeke Elliott taking on the Browns... they envisioned a gigantic statistical performance.

Zeke only carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards (not to mention a pair of touchdowns), but they were amazing. Dallas held the ball for 39:39. That's incredible! The Cowboys ran Zeke right at the Browns over and over and over again, and then they did it some more.

The pressure on Zeke Elliott was insanely high when the Cowboys drafted him fourth overall, and he's lived up to every bit of it.

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The Cowboys Defense Got Off To A Little Bit Of A Slow Start

The first two offensive plays for Cleveland went for 16 and 44 yards respectively. That was a bit of a shocker considering this was the Browns.

While the Browns offense certainly has some playmakers, nobody expected them to come out like that. Cleveland threw out some funny offensive formations, and it's fair to say they confused the Cowboys at first.

Three plays later the Cowboys saw Defensive Lineman David Irving get ejected, and that really woke the defense up. This was the first time all season the Cowboys didn't start the game with the ball, so the defense isn't used to being out there early. It was good that they found a way to get in a groove.

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The Cowboys Had The Ultimate Mic Drop At The End Of The Game

Do you know how to tell that the 2016 Cowboys are a legit team? They brought Mark Sanchez in for garbage time. Seriously.

"The Sanchize" not only came into the game, but he threw a pass! And he completed it! For eight yards!

Great teams are supposed to obliterate inferior teams. The Cowboys obliterated the Browns on Sunday, proving that they are an elite team. Life is awesome. Huzzah.

What were your takeaways from the Cowboys win in Cleveland? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

Tell us what you think about "10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Big Win In Cleveland" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

Game Notes

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady

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Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There's no doubt the Dallas Cowboys passing game faltered in 2017. Though never expected to throw for many yards, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys failed to maximize their attempts down the stretch. The passing game was simply inefficient and ineffective.

One reason the passing game took a step back was the disappearance of slot receiver Cole Beasley. Whether you blame defenses adjusting their coverages on third downs towards Beasley, Beasley growing another year older, or quarterback Dak Prescott, Beasley simply didn't look like the same player in 2017.

In the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cowboys selected a wide out who many anticipate could replace Beasley, in time. Rookie wide receiver Ryan Switzer rarely got chances to make an impact on offense this season, designated as the return man for much of the year. With Cole Beasley out for the season finale, however, Switzer got his chance to make a name for himself.

While the numbers were far from gaudy, Ryan Switzer showed some things we should be excited about for the future.

dalvsphi2018 switzer - Streamable

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Ryan Switzer's first target came on a third down -- something Cowboys Nation should get used to heading into 2018. Switzer is lined up inside in trips on the near-side of the formation. The Eagles show man coverage pre-snap, and with just one safety over top and the other rotated down on top of Jason Witten, it is clear to Dak Prescott they plan to bring some pressure.

As soon as Prescott gets the snap, his eyes go to Ryan Switzer.

The cornerback plays Switzer with inside leverage, refusing to be beat with a hot slant route. Switzer instead keeps the defender on his back hip and creates separation with an out-breaking route.

Prescott delivers the ball towards the sideline where the defender can't catch up to it, and Switzer comes away with the first down.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 2 - Streamable

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Later in the game, we once again see Ryan Switzer targeted from this inside-alignment.

Switzer is a pretty prototypical slot receiver, and if used correctly he should win in man coverage situations often. The cornerback attempts to maintain inside leverage on Switzer and get physical at the top of his route. Ryan Switzer does a nice job of fighting through that physicality and crossing the defender's face over the middle. He flashes open pretty quickly, and Prescott delivers a strike for the completion.

If Switzer can create this type of separation often, I see no reason why he shouldn't be a focus of the offense in 2018.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 3 - Streamable

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Switzer's third target is actually an incompletion, but it is worth studying, regardless. Switzer is in the slot on the far side and the Cowboys once again are in trips alignment. The cornerback over Switzer is in man coverage, but gives him room to breathe at the line of scrimmage.

Switzer exploits the cornerback -- who is cheating to the inside -- with his footwork and route running. He gets to the sticks, breaks to the outside, and creates enough separation for a first-down completion. Prescott delivers the ball a bit late and behind Switzer, causing an incompletion instead.

I'd still like to see Switzer adjust to the ball and make this catch, but I put more of the blame for this play on Prescott.

With a full offseason to work within the offensive system, as well as to develop chemistry with quarterback Dak Prescott, Ryan Switzer will prove to be an important piece to the 2018 Dallas Cowboys.



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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer's Good Game 1
AP Photo / Michael Ainsworth

The Dallas Cowboys put an end to a long, long season last Sunday after they defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia in a game that had absolutely no meaning for either team. Surprisingly, the Cowboys played with their healthy starters most of the game, but were barely able to put six points on the board, which were enough to take the win home.

The Cowboys might've lost more than what they actually won, and most of the fans were unhappy with the victory. Despite it being a pretty boring football game, we still learned a few things about the Dallas Cowboys.

The season's finally over. It wasn't easy, but we're still here. Here's to 2018. Let's hope it's a good one for our Cowboys. Here's this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday!

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Coaching Staff Didn't Help Its Cause

It's more than fair to say that a lot of us want to see changes in Dallas. And specifically, changes in the coaching staff. After the Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention, Jerry Jones said Jason Garrett's job was not an issue. Now, Jerry's even talking about Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan being back in 2018. Who knows if it's true.

While I don't think we'll see a new head coach anytime soon, I'd dare say that after the horrible game versus Philadelphia the front office at least got to thinking.

Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, HC Jason Garrett

Coming into this game, the team had a choice to make: play with the starters to win it, or let guys like Cooper Rush in the game and see what happens. A loss would've meant a better draft position for the Cowboys and a chance to see what rookies and other young players could bring to the table.

But they decided to manage the game like it was a "real action" game. Being conservative. Not going for it when there was nothing to lose. They did so after a team that, with the NFC's #1 seed secured, basically played with its B team. Not only that but for the Eagles, most of the game was played by a third string QB.

Despite all this, the Cowboys could hardly beat the Eagles 6-0. Poor execution and all, I can't help thinking about the coaches.

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Cowboys Should Keep Datone Jones for 2018

In late November, the Dallas Cowboys signed Datone Jones after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. The former Packers' first-round pick made an impact when he was given the chance. His play at DT was pretty solid and he showed very promising flashes.

DatoneJones - Streamable

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Jones will be under contract in 2018 and I'd be surprised if the Cowboys don't keep him another year. Per Over The Cap, he'll be paid $790,000 next year which isn't at all expensive for a 27-year-old player.

The Cowboys would add depth and even a potential starter at DT for next season.

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Ryan Switzer Can Play as a Wide Receiver

With Cole Beasley missing the game because of an illness, we finally got to see Ryan Switzer at WR. We had already seen good things from him as a kick returner, but on offense, he hasn't been as involved as Cowboys Nation expected him to be.

Last Sunday though, Switzer was used for more than a jet sweep.

SwitzerWR - Streamable

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He still has a long way to go, but I was impressed by his ability to create separation. I really hope he's used more next season.

At the end of the day, he's a fourth-round pick. He should be playing more on offense, not just on "gadget plays" or special teams. Could Ryan Switzer be Dak Prescott's best friend in the future? Only time will tell. Right now, it's too optimistic to expect something like that.

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Dan Bailey's Confidence is Shattered

Dallas Cowboys K Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey's 2017 season hasn't been easy at all. We've seen him miss kicks we never imagined he would, including extra points. One of the most painful moments of the Cowboys' season came late in the season finale when he lined up to kick a simple 20-yard field goal.

The ball went up, but failed to split the uprights. Dan Bailey stood in complete disbelief, with a blank look in his face. His confidence, shattered.

For kickers, it's all about confidence.

For years, we referred to Dan "Automatic" Bailey as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Now we're not sure about calling him "Automatic" anymore. Bailey will have a lot of time to pick himself up though, and will probably be back at it next year.

Let's hope that's the case.

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For now, the only thing left to say is one of the most encouraging, yet sad phrases in sports... Maybe next year. We're on to the offseason.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Starters Produce Uninspiring Week 17 Win

Playing more than enough of their starters in hopes of ending this 2017 season on a high note at the Eagles, the Cowboys produced a lackluster 6-0 win that will surely leave a bad taste in the mouths of Cowboys Nation - despite it being a victory.

The win put the Cowboys at 9-7 on the season, and it is a shame they had nothing to play for in this regular season finale. Once again in week 17, it was the offense holding back another fantastic performance by Rod Marinelli's defense.

We'll discuss both units in this final 2017 Dallas Cowboys version of Sean's Scout.

  • You have to love the way Chidobe Awuzie was able to bring physicality to a young Cowboys secondary that had another solid game. 

There were times earlier in this season when it seemed the Cowboys' second-round pick would have a lost season due to multiple hamstring injuries, but Awuzie quickly tuned around his rookie campaign by coming in and playing with exceptional technique and awareness.

With enough length to turn and run, Awuzie thrived in this zone scheme by keeping everything in front of him, as he did on his interception of Nick Foles. With Dallas in Cover 2 on the play, Chidobe read Foles' eyes the whole time to the boundary and was in position to cut off the pass.

This is a topic we'll now have much more time to discuss, and it is a hollowing one considering it was truly the Cowboys offense that kept them from the playoffs this season. The need for new talent at WR is clear, but the need for a target that better suits Prescott's strengths going into year three is even more important.

His pass catchers, along with inconsistencies in pass protection, were the main reasons Prescott struggled in 2017, although in this game it seemed like the only time he was affected in the pocket was when forcing the ball late to Bryant.

Coming from a spread system in college, Prescott simply does not have experience throwing his receivers open -- relying on route combinations and separation ability to hit open targets. Dez Bryant hasn't been that type of player through his career, and certainly isn't now that he's lost a step.

  • 9 wins for a team unlike their usual selves up front offensively is still pretty impressive. 

The Cowboys got nearly no impact from any of their free agent signings this season, which is why the depth of the team held them back once again. Veteran Byron Bell was brought in as a backup swing tackle, but he is simply not a scheme fit at tackle here.

Dak Prescott should not have been playing with Bell as his LT, and eventually Joe Looney at LG after Jonathan Cooper went down.

Bell lacks the quick-twitch ability and athleticism needed to be successful on every down, and it showed as he was again beaten by both speed and power against the Eagles.

The Cowboys have proven their acumen drafting young OL talent that performs at a high level early and often. So, instead of relying on more free agents, like Bell and Looney, drafting talent up front to spark the running game and give Prescott adequate protection is likely the best answer.

  • Ryan Switzer's ability to separate late in the down really stood out, as he finally got his chance at WR without Cole Beasley

Growing calls for more of Ryan Switzer on offense will surely take root this offseason after he caught four passes for 32 yards in the absence of Cole Beasley yesterday. More of a one-speed player at North Carolina, Switzer's spacial awareness and smoothness in giving Prescott somewhere to throw the ball as plays developed was really impressive.

In order to be a great team at the NFL Draft, you have to accurately scout your own roster. It will be fascinating to see just how the Cowboys feel about their current pass catchers, with not only Ryan Switzer but the likes of Lance Lenoir and practice squad addition K.D. Cannon in the fold as well.

  • The Cowboys found themselves a valuable addition to their rotation at DT with Datone Jones. 

Jones was able to push the pocket throughout this game in Philadelphia, and has done so consistently since getting here, at both the 1T and 3T positions. Using his hands to generate power as a down-the-line player, Jones plays with great pad level. That allows him to shoot gaps when needed, or anchor the line of scrimmage.

The Cowboys have not prioritized adding premier talent at DT in recent years, and may forego it again this offseason as well. The Cowboys expect Maliek Collins to contribute further with another season at 1T and David Irving back at 3T.

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To everybody who made this 2017 season at Inside The Star as enjoyable as ever, I would like to thank the readers of Sean's Scout. All this aspiring scout can ask for is to enhance the fan experience through both wins and losses, and your feedback on this series helped me to confidently do just that.

As we prepare for an even better 2018, Sean's Scout won't be going anywhere! I'm shifting my full attention towards the NFL Draft, looking for prospects that could help the Dallas Cowboys reach the playoffs again next season.

Thank you for another roller-coaster ride we call football season, Cowboys Nation. Truly the best fans anywhere.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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