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Game Notes

10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Victory Over The Bears

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Victory Over The Bears

Welcome to life above .500, it sure is nice isn't it?

Hopefully you're enjoying your day, it is #VictoryPoloMonday after all, as you celebrate our Dallas Cowboys beating the Chicago Bears 31-17 in Week 3's Sunday Night Football affair.

There's a lot to be gleaned from this two-touchdown dominating performance, and that's why we're here. That's why we lift all them weights. Here are my 10 Takeaways from the Cowboys win over the Bears.

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Dak Prescott Is For Real

19/24 for 248 yards and a touchdown - Dak's first passing one in his NFL career - isn't exactly a stat line that's cause for celebration. To understand how great Dak Prescott has been quarterbacking the Cowboys requires that one understand a few things.

First you need to understand the purgatory this team has faced both historically and as recently as last season when it comes to the team's secondary signal-caller. Dak's performance gives Cowboys Nation hope, a rarity at backup QB.

What's most obvious about Dak's gameplay is the - we've used this word a lot lately - poise he possesses. Dak has demonstrated a sense of calmness this season, and especially during the Bears win, that isn't even present in some veterans. Dak handled the bright lights of Sunday Night Football incredibly well, and he looked phenomenal doing so.

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Ezekiel Elliott Is Who We Thought He Was

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Victory Over The Bears 1


The team's most visible rookie outside of Dak Prescott, oh only Ezekiel Elliott, faced some criticism after a pair of fumbles in Washington last week. Zeke responded by carrying the ball 30 times, a sign the Coaching Staff trusts him completely, to the tune of 140 yards.

Zeke is a physical runner who got stronger as the game progressed. He looked to make big plays in moments that allowed them, and he was unstoppable for the Chicago Defense. Zeke is totally and completely as advertised - a game-changing player.

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Cole Beasley Has Been This Team's Best Wide Receiver So Far

The tallest personality on the field when the Cowboys are on offense might be 5'8" Cole Beasley.

"Beastly" as Cowboys Twitter knows him, is Dak Prescott's favorite weapon. He's a chain mover, he helped convert three first downs, and he's as scrappy as they come (he responded well after a big pop early in the game). Cole led the team in catches during the Bears game with seven, but the energy he gave the offense is unmatched.

Dez Bryant is Dez Bryant and that doesn't mean that Cole Beasley is better. What is true though is that through three games it has been Cole Beasley who has injected this unit with the appropriate juice to get them going when they needed it most.

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Jason Witten's Age Is Showing 

For so long Jason Witten has played his backups (players like Anthony Fasano, John Phillips, and Martellus Bennett) out of jobs and shipped them elsewhere where they've found success. In 2016... the Cowboys depth at Tight End has actually been used.

This alone is a glaring indication that Witten isn't who he used to be, and that's perfectly fine. Jason Witten is still legendary and makes phenomenal plays, they just don't happen as often as they used to. His abilities in the run block game seem to have dwindled, and more than anything we should appreciate what he used to be while being grateful for players like Geoff Swaim.

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The Best Free Agent Signing By The Cowboys Might Have Been Alfred Morris

During the NBC Broadcast Cris Collinsworth said that the Cowboys are looking to put Zeke on ice every third series this season, and that means that the third series is when Alfred Morris - The Butler - gets to come in and shine.

The ability to keep Zeke fresh is a luxury that most teams wouldn't have, but because the Cowboys brilliantly stole Alfred Morris back in March they can. And that's a great thing.

Keep in mind that it was Alfred, Dak, and Lance Dunbar that allotted for the rushing touchdowns belonging to Dallas in this game, Ezekiel Elliott didn't have a single one. The different areas where this team can dominate on the ground are going to pay off massively as the season continues to progress.

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Morris Claiborne Is This Team's Best Cornerback

All offseason long we sang songs of Orlando Scandrick's return and how him eliminating receivers was a foregone conclusion. I hate to break it to you, but Orlando Scandrick has not been very good in 2016.

Brandon Carr continues to truck along as a mediocre corner, far more of a great thing than it sounds, but Morris Claiborne is the Dallas DB who is really making a leap. Mo is beginning to show flashes of the player the Cowboys thought they saw when they traded up to draft the LSU standout in 2012. Mo has been playing with aggression, tenacity, and wisdom that only comes with experience. We are very fortunate to have him.

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The Cowboys Defensive Line Has A Star

It's so easy to fall in love with Defensive Ends in the NFL because they're the guys who rack up the sacks and make all the fancy plays. Sometimes you can fall in love with boring, and that's sort of what Terrell McClain is in terms of greatness.

T-Mac has been an absolute force along the middle of the Cowboys Defensive Line, and he has consistently generated pressure for opposing quarterbacks. Granted this wasn't the world's finest quarterback - I'm sure Brian Hoyer is a nice person - but Terrell was all up in his business.

This is a great sign for the Cowboys as their defensive line is undoubtedly their achilles heel. Seeing McClain deal it out versus Chicago gives us a lot of hope.

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Maliek Collins Was A Great Draft Pick

When the Cowboys took Maliek Collins in the third round (67th Overall) of the 2016 Draft, many people scratched their heads. When Maliek was injured in early June things really felt terrible about the selection.

Cowboys Nation has felt incredible when watching Maliek Collins play. He and McClain have made a great duo along the defensive line, Collins was even credited with a tackle for loss, and he's allowed the Cowboys to be more flexible with players like the Crawfords. This is a great find and fantastic point of optimism that Maliek played so well as Dallas will need that talent moving forward.

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Dan Bailey Is Not Perfect

The weirdest thing that happened against the Bears could very well have been that Dan Bailey missed a field goal.

This was the first time a ball kicked by Dan Bailey in an effort to gain three points did not sail through the uprights since November 15th last season when the Cowboys lost in Tampa Bay. It's so rare that it actually explains the recent drop in temperature in the Texas area.

The Cowboys are incredibly fortunate to have the point of consistency that they do in Dan Bailey. He is so amazingly consistent that when he shows the smallest sign of humanity it causes alarm, but he'll be back. He always is.

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Coach Jason Garrett Is Not Here To Punt

Last week here at Inside The Star we talked about Jason Garrett's newfound disposition of boldness. This suspected mantra was proven to be accurate when, on the Cowboys first offensive possession, Coach Garrett chose to go for it on 4th and 1 (which he ended up getting).

A wave of criticism for Coach Garrett's unsuccessful challenge on a Jason Witten non-touchdown surfaced immediately in the Twitterverse, and I don't think that's fair.

For so long the thing we've begged, pleaded, and shouted for was a Jason Garrett unafraid of risk. It seems like, thankfully, we are closer to that than we ever thought possible. It's time to stop expecting perfection and be content with what we've wanted all along.

Bravo, Jason Garrett. Bravo.

What were your takeaways from the Cowboys victory over the Bears? 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 Victory Over The Bears" 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!

1 Comment
  • Jay

    Jason Garrett is indeed a whimp. Until he chooses not to run three times and kick it away when he’s in position to lock it up late in a game and keep his defense off the field, that’s the way I’ll see it. Wish he would spend more time watching Patriots film. Their coach knows how to finish.

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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