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Game Notes

10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Preseason Finale Against Houston

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Preseason Finale Against Houston

We chug along through most of February, March, April, May, June, and July to hear three sweet words.

"It's football season."

Cowboys Headlines - 7 Takeaways From The Cowboys Preseason Finale Against Houston

Such glory can only be topped by a special four-word sentence.

"The Preseason is over."

That's right. The next time that our beloved 'Boys hit the field it'll be for real. Get hyped! While that's so exciting that I want to eat my foot (what's wrong with me?) the Preseason finale must be discussed, analyzed, and considered.

Here are my 10 takeaways from the Cowboys preseason finale, a loss at home to the Houston Texans.

Darius Jackson Is Going To Be Very Valuable For This Team

When the Cowboys drafted Darius Jackson in the 6th Round of the 2016 NFL Draft, many scratched their heads. Just two days earlier they exercised the fourth overall pick on Ezekiel Elliott, and they'd already signed Alfred Morris, so... what?!

Darius Jackson may have only carried the ball 9 times for 21 yards and caught 3 passes for 32 yards (not to mention a fantastic screen he took to the house), but he does all the dirty work. This is a running back who will do whatever you ask him to do, and that's just the kind of guy that you want on your football team.

Jameill Showers Is Not Ready To Be A QB2

I like Jameill Showers. A lot. I actually, despite this point's heading, believe that he'll make this team's Final 53-Man Roster.

The reason Jameill is going to make this team is because of the circumstances surrounding that spot. He is one half of the two people that:

  • Are currently capable of playing quarterback.
  • Have a deep knowledge of the 2016 Dallas Cowboys playbook and scheme.

What we saw from Jameill was how do you say... not good? It wasn't terrible, but it was enough to tell me that I don't want him to be one injury away from being the primary signal-caller for America's Team.

Deji Olatoye Had A Bad Game

The Cowboys have a precarious amount of depth at the corner position, and Deji Olatoye is part of that. Prior to the Preseason finale he was actually considered pretty great by most standards.

If you were unable to watch the Cowboys/Texans game in its entirety (I recapped it for you on the RJOShow) then here's what you need to know about Deji's night - he made Brandon Weeden look good. That's how bad it was.

Deji Olatoye is a human being so he's subject to a bad game. He'll be alright. Don't panic.

There's No Way That Devin Street Makes This Team

If Devin Street defies logic, common sense, and gravity (shout out to Elphaba) and somehow makes this team... Andy Jones should consider it a personal insult.

Devin Street showed us who he is and who he's always been since being drafted in 2014 - a bad wide receiver. He, like Jameill Shower this season, has made the roster two years in a row as a result of circumstance. That gravy train is ovah.

Cedric Thornton Has Been Disappointing

It caught the astute minds of Cowboys Nation off guard when Cedric Thornton played so much in what is typically a rest game for veteran starters... which is what we thought Cedric Thornton was going to be when we signed up for this whole dealio.

Cedric not only played, but he played pretty poorly. He's still getting his feet wet under Rod Marinelli, but this didn't do much to inspire the hope that Cowboys Nation has for an already depleted Defensive Line.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Cedric Thornton just had such a poor swim move that they should call it a drown move.

With nine days separating today and the season opener, Cedric Thornton needs to take some advanced swimming lessons and he needs take them yesterday.

Rod Smith Would Make A Great Fullback

A former Ohio State Buckeye carried the ball seven times (for 42 yards) for the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night, and his name wasn't Ezekiel Elliott. Say whaaaat!

Rod Smith put on a nice little showing in the preseason finale, and he showed that he's certainly an able back in the NFL... against weaker talent on defense. Rod has undoubtedly spent a great amount of time since April 29th being known around the halls at Valley Ranch/The Star as "Jaylon's brother," but for one night - he was the Star.

It's hard to tell exactly what direction the Cowboys are going to go at fullback, but if they go Rod Smith's he'll be able to handle it.

Rico Gathers Is A Football Player

Rico Darnell Gathers made his first NFL catch and even made a great move, demonstrating some athleticism, right after it to gain eight yards.

How does Rico have such high levels of athleticism? He played basketball! I'm sure you've never heard that before.

It was nice to see the Cowboys Tight End project get some work and show off what Mike Pope has been teaching him. The Cowboys might try to stash Rico on the practice squad, but it won't necessarily be a slam dunk. Hey, I had to get one basketball pun in.

Anthony Brown Was A Great Choice

The Cowboys celebrated the drafting of Cornerback Anthony Brown in the sixth round because they had a fourth-round grade on him. That's what we call an actual slam dunk! ...sorry I had to.

Brown was all over the place throughout this contest, and he gave Cowboys Nation flashbacks to 2015 when we saw Brandon Weeden throw an interception... into Brown's awaiting arms. To make matters even more fantastic, Anthony took it to the house.

Great corner play... man I like that.

Kavon Frazier Can Cover As Well As He Hits

Dallas found themselves in multiple goal-line defensive situations, and Kavon Frazier took care of some business when they did.

Kavon had a phenomenal pass break-up when he leapt up in the air and batted the ball away with his hand. It was so foreign and weird to see a Dallas Cowboys Safety do something besides try to obliterate someone with their shoulder-first tackle. Weird.

Ryan Russell Cannot Be Counted On

The most forgotten-about storyline of the offseason seems to be that DeMarcus Lawrence is going to miss the first four games of the season, oh and Randy Gregory might not ever play again. So yea. Cool.

This team is in drastic need of some pass-rushers and the hope/prayer all along has been that sophomore player Ryan Russell would step up and fill that void. He hasn't. At all. Not even a little bit.

Russell has perhaps been the most disappointing player of all 90 that the Cowboys started the Preseason with. He, like Jameill, is going to make this roster simply out of its necessity for people who play his position. Yikes.

What were your takeaways from Thursday night's Cowboys/Texans Preseason Game? 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 Finale Against Houston" 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!

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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