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3 Dallas Cowboys Making Cases to be Cut

John Williams

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3 Dallas Cowboys Making Cases to be Cut

The other day, Staff Writer Jess Haynie gave you 3 Cowboys Making Cases for Roster Spots. It's right on the money and likely those players will make the roster. Today I'm going to bring you an opposite take. Let me apologize in advance if I mention your pet cat, but the reality is that the Dallas Cowboys have a long way to go before they make their 37 cuts on September 3rd.

Kellen Moore

Dallas Cowboys QB Kellen Moore #17

Kellen Moore

With his poor play and the excellent play of Cooper Rush, Kellen Moore isn't giving Scott Linehan a lot to defend.

Linehan has been the biggest #KelMo proponent for as long as Moore has been in the league, yet there isn't a lot to go on in his NFL career.

He's 27 years old now and has only played in three games since coming into the league in 2012. All we have to go on is his preseason play, which has been average to below average.

With Cooper Rush playing well, it would not surprise me to see the front office move on for a younger quarterback to back up Dak Prescott. Similar to how the New England Patriots use the quarterback position.

When has Tom Brady ever had a veteran backup? Only after he took the job from Drew Bledsoe. Why do we feel the need for Dallas to have a veteran backup?

Byron Bell

With experience as a starter at tackle and guard, it was thought that Byron Bell could come in and compete with Jonathan Cooper or Chaz Green at either left guard or right tackle.

Now with the team 100% committed to La'el Collins at right tackle, that has left an open competition at left guard.

Byron Bell got the start on Saturday night, but failed to impress. On one drive alone he was called for two holding penalties. There were times as well that he struggled with movement to the outside on running plays.

Not a single player who has received snaps has really asserted themselves at left guard. At the moment, he still has a shot, but if he continues to play as poorly as he did against the Rams, it could be a short stint for Bell as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

Robert Blanton

Signed in the offseason to be a veteran presence in the secondary and compete with Jeff Heath at strong safety, but Robert Blanton has been darn near invisible. He's been completely overshadowed by Heath who has started each game of the preseason along side Byron Jones and been outplayed by rookie Xavier Woods. Kavon Frazier has even been notable as an in-the-box safety and on special teams.

Once thought to be in the mix to start at strong safety, Blanton will now be fighting just to stay on the roster.

With the roster squeeze that is bound to happen by cut-down day, it's unlikely to me that the Dallas Cowboys will keep more than four safeties.


Little is decided after two preseason games, and these players have three more games to make their case for a roster spot. When it comes to the NFL and especially Jason Garrett's Dallas Cowboys, performance matters.

Moore, Bell, and Blanton will need to perform better if they want to keep a job.

What do you think? Any players you think have played their way off the roster?



Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

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4 Comments
  • George_Johnson

    John Williams: Lets look at the facts regarding K Moore and Rush. First of all K Moore is getting the 2nd team reps in practice and 2nd team playing time in preseason games. Rush is getting the 3rd team reps in practice and 3rd team playing time. There is a significant difference especially in preseason games. K Moore is more likely to play against defensive players who will make the 53 man roster and Rush is more likely to play against defensive players that will be working in a hardware store in a month. So comparing their play in preseason games is difficult. K Moore as best I can tell has scored an “A” in training camp. As a little data point, I think Prescott has about seven interceptions and K Moore has one. I am not sure about Rush. The QB coach said he has looked really good in games and implied not as well in practice. K Moore for his first preseason game scored an “A” as best I can tell. He was outstanding, especially if the interception which could have gone either way and Brown didn’t seem to play it quite right, would have been a touchdown. Rush also looked really good. In the second preseason game, K Moore did not look good. However, I am not sure what the defense had to do with this. He seemed to check down all the time which means either a receiver further down field was not open or K Moore was afraid to throw it down field. There also seemed to be a lot of pressure coming especially from the left side of the Dallas line. I haven’t heard from the coaches as to what they thought of K Moore’s play. Rush looked really good again in the 2nd preseason game. Again you have to remember he is playing third team. K Moore may have been playing against 1st and 2nd team defenses and Rush primarily against 3rd and 4th team defenses. A significant difference. So it is difficult to compare. Another issue is K Moore is a veteran even though he hasn’t played much and knows a lot at this point. Rush is a rookie and is drinking from a fire hose at this point in terms of learning and adjusting. Big difference. Your comments indicated you don’t like K Moore. Probably because he does not look like an NFL QB and can’t run and doesn’t have a real strong arm. I will remind you what S Linehan, one of the top QB coaches in the world, has said (paraphrased): He said K Moore can play in the NFL. He said his arm is strong enough. Linehan has said K Moore compensates for his physical limitations with his outstanding pocket passing skills/abilities. He has also said he is very accurate and uses uncanny anticipation. Recently he called him a machine. He has said he knows his limitations and gets the job done in his own way. He said he is like having a veteran on the team because of his QB knowledge and knowing exactly what to do.

    • Russ_Te

      As it stands, I’d rather have to put Moore in a playoff game than Rush. Or McCown. Or Cassel…

      But Rush is one of the preseason standouts so far, and I hope to see that continue. He won’t get past waivers in that case, so you’d have to keep 3 QB’s. Hanna might be on the bubble with the emergence of Gathers, and I won’t be surprised if they roll dice there and just keep Witten, Gathers and Swaim. If they are going to more spread sets on long downs and using the WR talent, then TE is a place to pinch a roster spot.

    • John Williams

      I’m not sure how we can describe Kellen Moore as a veteran having only played in 3 NFL Games in his 5 year career.

      Please tell me you watched the Colts game last night. I hope you did. Because Moore looked lost.

      If he’s doing anything good in practice, he’s not showing it in games. Kellen Moore looks like a rookie playing his first football in several years.

      Rush looks poised, composed, gets the ball out of his hands quickly and is decisive in his reads.

      I don’t care what the quarterback looks like or what his tools are. Cooper Rush by all indications doesn’t have a strong arm as well, but he gets through his reads quickly, gets the ball out of his hands quickly, is decisive. He has good touch and accuracy. If Kellen Moore was effective with the tools that he had, I wouldn’t care what the tools are. Joe Montana wasn’t tall or didn’t have a strong arm, but he was able to get the job done with the tools that he had. For all the talk about Kellen’s intelligence, it doesn’t show sometimes.

      Kellen made a few decent throws, but he’s just not consistent enough. On the fumble, it looked like he had no idea what he was doing with the ball.

    • PaulnFortWorth

      George,
      It’s nice that Kellen M. has supporters. However, pro football is merit driven and Kellen hasn’t been producing in the preseason games. Cooper Rush has. Kellen has been around for several years but last year he broke a bone and was out for the season. It could be that he hasn’t fully recovered or he may never completely recover. Either way, the most important time is during a game with the available resources. He has to produce or his career in pro football is over.

Game Notes

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Giants

Brian Martin

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Giants

I don't know about you, but I feel a lot better this week about the Dallas Cowboys after they thoroughly controled the game against the New York Giants last Sunday night. It amazes me how much better they played in the second week of the 2018 season as opposed to what they put on the field Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.

The Dallas Cowboys performed better in all three phases of the game. The defense was simply outstanding, the offense looked much improved, and the fact that there weren't any breakdowns on special teams is an added plus. Overall, it's hard to be too disappointed with the way the overall team performed Sunday.

With all of that in mind, I want to share with you what I believe is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys from the primetime matchup with the division rival New York Giants. I know you may disagree with what I decided to go with in each category, but that's part of the fun of it.

The Good

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

If you watched the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants Sunday night then you pretty much know what the good was. How could I not go with the Cowboys defense? They were simply phenomenal against the Giants and are starting to become the identity of this year's team.

The Cowboys pass rush continuously put pressure on Quarterback Eli Manning and ended the game with six QB sacks. Nearly every defensive lineman got in on the action, which is hopefully a sign of things to come. The secondary was also really impressive. They played man-to-man coverage nearly the entire game and shut down the Giants aerial attack, including Odell Beckham Jr.

I was also really pleased to see the Cowboys linebackers playing much better. You may not have noticed, but the coaching staff is going with a rotation of sorts with the LBs, and it really looked as if it's helping keep them fresh. This could pay huge dividends moving forward, especially with Sean Lee's injury concerns.

The Bad

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

I debated several different things to put in this section, but ultimately I decided the bad for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night was Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game. Yes, it was better than what we saw from them in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done from both Prescott and his receivers.

Unfortunately, Prescott only completed 16 of 25 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown against the Giants. Those are nearly identical numbers to what he put up against the Panthers, the only difference is he was much more successful on the ground, rushing for 45 yards on seven carries. If you take away his long TD completion to Wide Receiver Tavon Austin, those numbers are even more depressing.

The passing game and Dak Prescott needs to improve dramatically. The Cowboys simply aren't going to be able to continue to win games like this. The offense should've been able to put up a lot more points on the Giants Sunday night. Hopefully, things will continue to get better because if not, the Cowboys are in trouble.

The Ugly

There was a number of different directions I could've gone here, but for me the ugly for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night against the Giants was the penalties. Penalties became a problem for the Cowboys in Week 1 against the Panthers and once again reared their ugly head against the Giants. Unfortunately, this has continuously been a problem under the tutelage of Head Coach Jason Garrett.

The Dallas Cowboys were lucky that the untimely penalties didn't have much impact on the outcome of the game. If they would have been playing a better team than the Giants, they probably wouldn't have overcome the long down and distances. I want to believe this can be cleaned up, but Jason Garrett's going to have to start holding his players accountable, which at this point seems a little unlikely.

The Cowboys players are going to take it upon themselves to cut down the penalties. Most of the time it's just mental mistakes, so there is reason to believe they can accomplish this task. But, they are really going to have to buckle down and focus on remaining consistent down after down.

What is your good, bad, and ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against the Giants?



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Game Notes

Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Bounce Back Against Giants

Brian Martin

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Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Bounce Back Against Giants

Unlike last week, today's Monday morning hangover isn't nearly as bad. Thankfully, the Dallas Cowboys had a bounce back game against the New York Giants Sunday night, meaning you were probably drinking in celebration instead of drowning your sorrows. Hopefully, this continues.

Today, I want to do a little recap over what took place last night for the Dallas Cowboys and share with you some of the good and not so good I observed. Luckily, there was much more good for the Cowboys compared to what they put on the field Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.

First off, how impressive was the Cowboys defensive play against the Giants? The pass rush consistently put pressure on Eli Manning and finished the night with six quarterback sacks. Nearly all of the defensive line got in on the action. I think we can credit Passing Game Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard for the aggressive game plan.

The pass rush wasn't all that was dominant against the Giants for the Cowboys defense. Dallas' secondary pretty much shut down Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the Giants aerial attack. They played man-to-man coverage nearly the entire night and it paid off. Again, I think we can give credit to Kris Richard. He's changed how these defensive backs are being utilized.

Jeff Heath, Saquon Barkley

Dallas Cowboys S Jeff Heath (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

The one negative I took away from the Cowboys defensive performance was the missed tackles once again. There were several Cowboys defenders who failed to take down Giants Running Back Saquon Barkley on first contact. Barkley unfortunately was able to pick up several yards after contact because of this. Tackling was a problem against the Panthers as well and it needs to be cleaned up in a hurry.

Offensively, the Dallas Cowboys looked like an entirely different unit than what took the field in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers. Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan was much more aggressive with his playcalling, evidenced by the long touchdown pass to Tavon Austin on the first offensive series.

Unlike against the Panthers, Linehan put Dak Prescott in the best position to succeed. He didn't have No. 4 sit in the pocket, instead he put him on the move and allowed him to use his mobility to put pressure on the Giants defense. I believe this is where Prescott is at his best and should continued to be utilized in this manner.

Ezekiel Elliott didn't have the biggest rushing totals, but we all know the Giants defense was trying to take him out of the game. He finished the night with 78 rushing yards on 17 carries, but he did manage to pretty much put the game away with a rushing TD. Personally, I would love to see Zeke more involved in the passing game, especially down the field instead of around on a scrimmage.

All in all, the Dallas Cowboys did what they needed to do in order to secure the victory. They still have several things they need to clean up and improve upon, but what team doesn't at this point in the season. Now, they need to carry over this momentum into Week 3 on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.

What do you think about the Dallas Cowboys performance against the Giants?



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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Secondary Play, Improved OL Stand Out in Cowboys Win Vs. Giants

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Secondary Play, Improved OL Play Stand Out in Cowboys Win Vs. Giants
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Not many things about the Dallas Cowboys performance through two weeks has been pretty, but when they look up on Monday morning they'll be leading the NFC East at 1-1. Evening their record with a win on Sunday Night Football against the New York Giants, the Cowboys did enough in front of their home crowd to hold off a late Eli Manning comeback.

Tavon Austin's long opening touchdown would set the tone for the Cowboys on their first possession. Points would be at a premium for both teams the rest of the way, leaving the Cowboys with plenty to like about their defense and reason to be encouraged on offense.

Here are my full takeaways from the Cowboys first win of 2018.

  • There aren't enough good things to say about the play call from Scott Linehan to get the ball over the top to Tavon Austin for the Cowboys first touchdown. 

The Cowboys were able to take advantage of Giants Safety Landon Collins playing down in the box, something he's had success doing against Dallas before. I thought that trend could continue when Collins called out the Cowboys offense leading up to this game, but it was Dak Prescott getting the last laugh.

Prescott knew exactly where the ball needed to be placed once Austin beat Janoris Jenkins cleanly, giving Tavon room to run under it and find the end zone for the first time as a Cowboy.

  • It was another tough match up for rookie Left Guard Connor Williams, but this time he was up for the challenge of playing on the second level and getting out in space.

The Cowboys should be happy with Williams' steady progress at LG, as he took another step forward on Sunday night. A converted tackle from college, Williams looked much better playing on the move, which is when the entire Cowboys OL is at its best.

Not only was Williams comfortable handling more wrinkles in the play book, but he was able to play with improved power and leverage to get to the second level often. With Center Joe Looney holding his own against Damon Harrison, the Cowboys went back to their roots in grinding out this NFC East win.

  • That's a fantastic play by Jeff Heath to run across the field and tackle Evan Engram short of the line to gain on third down.

The Giants drive would continue with a fourth down conversion, but the Cowboys defense did eventually force a punt.

The Cowboys safeties were primarily called upon to play in run support in this game, a role Heath has struggled in previously. Showing off his strengths as an athletic and rangy defensive back on this play, Heath didn't get pushed up the field by Engram on his release, hunting him down after the catch in front of a fired up Dallas bench.

  • Speaking of the Cowboys safety usage in this game, it was a standout performance against Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants receivers by Cornerbacks Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie. 

Both Awuzie and Jones were asked to play on an island for much of this game, and handled this as well as Kris Richard could ask for. Beckham's longest reception was for 17 yards. The Cowboys kept the Giants best play maker in front of them all night, giving them a fighting chance to slow down RB Saquon Barkley.

Barkley was able to punish the Cowboys front seven a number of times with broken tackles, but never escaped the Cowboys grasp enough for the Giants to sustain a drive until the fourth quarter.

I'm not sure if the Cowboys strong cornerback duo of Awuzie and Jones were expected to play this well as early into the season as we are, but their man coverage ability has really allowed Dallas to mix things up on defense.

  • Kris Richard's impact on the Cowboys defense went beyond the secondary play against the Giants, as the team remained aggressive in blitzing the Giants offensive line.

It sure felt good to see the Cowboys exploit the Giants weakness up front, not content with letting their front four create the only advantage on defense. Knowing what Eli Manning is capable of when sitting in the pocket, the Cowboys disrupted the Giants passer all night by relentlessly sending stunts and blitzes at him.

Damien Wilson had a bounce back game at linebacker by using his speed to pressure Manning. Getting home for a game-changing sack, Wilson knocked the ball out of Manning's hand and created a turnover for his defense.

Defensive End Taco Charlton, who had a sack from the RDE position, recovered the fumble for Dallas. It was the right side of the offensive line for the Giants that let them down, but with so much attention being given to DeMarcus Lawrence at left end, Charlton simply had a free run at Manning for his sack.

  • That's a bad miss by Dak Prescott of Rico Gathers in the end zone off the Cowboys only turnover.

Looking to put the game away after their fumble recovery, the Cowboys called the perfect play for Tight End Rico Gathers - who was active in a regular season game for the first time. The play became an example of just how far criticism of Scott Linehan should stretch, as Prescott simply didn't execute.

Gathers sold his route up the field perfectly, breaking for the back corner of the end zone and running to open space before finding the ball sail over his head. Had Prescott thrown a better ball, Gathers turns around and easily secures a touchdown.

Who knows what the internet would be like this morning if he did. Nonetheless, the Cowboys settled for a Brett Maher field goal and took a 13-0 advantage before the Giants began their climb back into the game.

The Cowboys shouldn't be discouraged from using Gathers more in the passing game, but whether or not they will depends on the numbers they need on the active roster each game day.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The only NFC East team to earn a win in week two, the Cowboys have a long way to go to prove they're contenders in the division. With the Seahawks coming to town this week, the Cowboys will be reminded of how quickly things can go wrong, as Seattle's win in AT&T Stadium a year ago ended their hopes of making the playoffs.

On Sunday night, it was the Cowboys hindering the Giants chance to do just that by forcing an 0-2 start in New York. The Cowboys were impressive in their control of the game, executing a great game plan on defense while the offense started fast and finished with a physical drive in the fourth quarter.

Getting back to work after a win is always best, and such is the week ahead for the Dallas Cowboys.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Secondary Play, Improved OL Stand Out in Cowboys Win Vs. Giants" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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