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10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Preseason Dress Rehearsal In Seattle

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Headlines - Ten Takeaways From The Cowboys Preseason Dress Rehearsal In Seattle 1

Thursday night's preseason contest between the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks had a wee bit of a late kickoff time. Many fans were concerned that they were going to fall asleep. Makes sense.

Cowboys Headlines - Ten Takeaways From The Cowboys Preseason Dress Rehearsal In Seattle

Three plays in the Cowboys saw their season writhing in pain on the ground. It was a painful, and unfortunately common, sight for Cowboys Nation to behold... Tony Romo clutching at his back.

Tony Romo did not sustain any significant injuries, Thank God, but it was definitely enough to wake us all up. I don't even mean wake us up on Thursday night, I mean wake us up for the 2016 Dallas Cowboys season.

They don't call the third preseason game the dress rehearsal for nothing. This is supposed to be the best barometer for the regular season. What did we learn from it? Here are ten things.

The Cowboys Are Going To Need Dak Prescott At Some Point

There's a very cold and extremely hard truth that we all need to accept: Tony Romo is extremely unlikely to play all 16 regular season games this year. You can have a moment to collect yourself.

Three plays, three plays, into this game Romo took a shot (albeit an unfortunate angle) and was done-ski. I love Tony Romo, but I also love objectivity and data.

Romo is very likely to go down at some point this season, and when that happens the Cowboys will have to rely on rookie wonder Dak Prescott. Through three preseason games Dak has exceeded any expectation given to a 4th Round QuarterDAK, so we're already playing with house money here.

Jameill Showers Is Going To Make The Final 53-Man Roster

Not only will the Cowboys need the services of Dak Prescott in 2016, but they'll need additional insurance.

Considering the fragility, however exaggerated you want to make it, of Tony Romo the Cowboys absolutely cannot roll into the season with only two quarterbacks on their 53-Man Roster. It would be absolutely irresponsible.

Say Romo went down for an extended period of time. That would leave Dak Prescott and, say also that Showers found a new home, someone who hasn't been with the team at all up through now. Showers will be on this team.

Ezekiel Elliott Is Totally And Completely For Real

When the Dallas Cowboys exercised the 4th Overall Pick on a running back, many people thought, "How could they possibly be better in the ground game?".

If you watched Zeke do work on Thursday night then you know. He showed burst, quickness, and a thumper-like disposition when he went after, and beat, Seattle's Kam Chancellor.

It was one preseason game and not a whole lot of work, but it's safe to say that the Cowboys have a star running back on their hands. Run Zeke Run!

Jason Witten Can Still Ball Out

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, two dudes who were in college last year, just went 81 yards on the Seattle Seahawks starting D for a TD.

You're probably wondering what in the world that tweet has to do with Jason Witten. Well just calm down a second and let me explain.

That 81-yard drive culminated in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Jason Witten. It was a perfectly placed ball, but it was kinda high up. It wasn't a pass that some rickety old tight end could make. This required athleticism.

Jason Witten made that play. This dude is still a stud.

Dan Bailey Isn't Perfect

In one of the most shocking events of the evening, Dan Bailey missed a 52-yard field goal. I know, I'm still stunned.

I found it particularly ironic that Bailey missed in Seattle considering this was the very same stadium/field where he became the NFL's all-time most accurate kicker. But hey. Even the best fall down sometimes...

Geoff Swaim Is A Legitimate Pass Catcher

If you look Swaim up in the box score it's going to say that he had 5 catches for 17 yards, and that's not exactly something that makes me salivate. What you need to understand is that Geoff made some unbelievable catches.

Swaim was literally the only reason why Dak Prescott wasn't literally perfect in the preseason opener in Los Angeles. He's rebounded quite nicely and turned into an option that could seriously contribute in the passing game from a dump-off perspective.

Lucky Whitehead Will Be Involved In The Offense

It's a rule of thumb that the Cowboys have to run a jet sweep with Lucky Whitehead every game. It's as true as gravity, Eli Manning being weird, and every other fact of life.

One carry for seven yards isn't anything super special, but Lucky himself is super special. He provides an element of surprise that simply cannot be replicated or emulated by anybody else on the roster.

The Pass Rush Was As Bad As We Thought It Would Be

I specifically said was because I don't want to generalize this unit for the whole season off of one game, but golly gee whillikers they stunk up the joint on Thursday night.

If generating pressure on the quarterback were equivalent to being dry, the Dallas Cowboys are soaking wet. They are completely drenched in suckitude.

To be fair Lawrence Okoye did wrangle up on sack, but Russell Wilson and Trevone Boykin had all kinds of time in the pocket. I could've sworn I saw Russell planting flowers back there.

Morris Claiborne Is Always Around The Ball

Dez Bryant on Twitter

I need my 20 push ups tomorrow 24... Two picks I know you could have had... #Cowboysworld

Dez is right, and a great live tweeter FYI.

Mo Claiborne did indeed get his hands on two would-be interceptions. Some players seem to have a knack for always being around the football, like a magnet of sorts, and Mo seems to have found that gear this season.

I propose we call him the MOgnet. Yes? Yes.

Dax Swanson Is Going To Make This Team

The cornerback from Sam Houston State had himself quite the game on Thursday night.

Dax actually took a punt all the way to the house that was called back on a silly penalty, but those things matter and more importantly - they stand out.

This team has a precariously solid list of depth at the corner spot, but Dax has shown an ability to make plays. That's a good thing. We've already got a Dak, what's a Dax added to the mix?

This Is Jason Garrett's Football Team

I thought you said 10, RJ? Well I gave you a bonus so Happy Friday!

The age-old criticism of anybody coaching the Cowboys Jason Garrett is that he's Jerry Jones' puppet. That song and dance has gotten pretty old, but if anyone was unsure about it... it's really dead and gone now.

It was Jason Garrett's decision not to bring Tony Romo back into the game once it was revealed that he hadn't suffered a serious injury. This was in spite of Romo's constant pleas to get back in the contest. Sorry, Tony. Coach said no.

Clap, clap, clap your hands. Jason Garrett runs this ship.

What were your takeaways from the Cowboys preseason loss in Seattle? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

Tell us what you think about "10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Preseason Dress Rehearsal In Seattle" in the comments below. You can also email me at, 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!

  • John Williams

    Jason Garrett has been the best thing to happen to this franchise post 2000. Stability at the head coaching position is huge and now they have a guy that the GM/Owner trusts and respects. I’m a GarrettHead to say the least, and I think this team wins with him.

    Romo going down was a kick to the groin. He’s probably ok, but dang it if that didn’t make me facepalm.

    Good news is, we have a quarterback that looks like he might be able to lead this team beyond the Post-Tony Era (though I don’t want to think about that.

    • John Williams

      Well maybe the best thing aside from Tony Romo

  • txpatriot

    I hope that Dez Bryant tweet wasn’t sent during the game. Players need to focus on the game, and not be distracted by social media.

    For goodness sake, there is plenty of time AFTER the game for all the social media bullcrap.

    • John Williams

      Dez wasn’t playing. Take it easy.

  • Kevin Black

    Geoff Swaim acquitted himself as a blocker as well. I saw quite a few runs where his block on the edge was critical to the play and success. I was very happy to see that he’s taking his blocking and receiving equally seriously.

    • John Williams

      Swaim might have made Hanna expendable, unfortunately (big OU fan here).

Game Notes

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady



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



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



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, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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