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Game Notes

5 Questions Heading Into Cowboys VS Broncos Game

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Opening the season 1-0 feels good. This week, the Dallas Cowboys will go against another 1-0 team, the Denver Broncos. As they get ready for their first road game, a lot of questions are rising among Cowboys fans.

Today on Inside The Star, I get into five questions I have in mind for tomorrow’s game. Make sure to comment below any questions that you have. Let’s talk Cowboys.

Will The Cowboys Give McFadden a Chance?

Elliott Suspension Or Not, Darren McFadden Critical to Cowboys' OffenseLast Sunday, when the Dallas Cowboys announced who their inactive players were, I was very surprised to see RB Darren McFadden’s name. We’ve been discussing who should be RB2 behind Ezekiel Elliott since training camp, and personally, I really thought McFadden was the guy.

But the Cowboys decided to roll with Alfred Morris. Morris had four carries for… one yard. Not ideal, specially not ideal when your starting RB could actually be suspended at some point during the season. Even if it’s not the most likely outcome, the possibility is there.

I’d like the Cowboys to give both McFadden and Rod Smith the chance to prove their worth this Sunday. I think McFadden is more versatile, and Smith could be a quality backup RB for a lot of years behind Zeke.

Cowboys Rookie CB Jourdan Lewis Announces Signing With Dallas 1

15 June 2017: Jourdan Lewis (27)
of the Dallas Cowboys during minicamp day 3 practice at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Will We Finally See Jourdan Lewis’ NFL Debut?

Jourdan Lewis may have been drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but the truth is he was a second round talent. Personally, I think he dropped to the third only because he was involved in a domestic violence incident.

After dealing with a DV trial and a hamstring injury during the offseason, Lewis has yet to see the field in a Cowboys uniform. He has been practicing all week as a full participant, and it’s more than likely we see him this Sunday.

The question is, will we actually see him play on defense? And if so, how many snaps?

Mark Lane on Twitter

Jerry Jones tells The Fan he hopes that where the #Cowboys see Jourdan Lewis Sunday is on defense, not just special teams.

With Orlando Scandrick injured, look for Jourdan Lewis to be on the field a lot. I’m ready to see what he’s got.

5 Questions Heading Into Week 2

Will We See More From WR Ryan Switzer?

Speaking of rookies, Ryan Switzer had his NFL debut VS the New York Giants last Sunday. While he was in for eight special teams snaps, Switzer was only in for two when the Cowboys’ offense was on the field.

This is something you expect from a fourth-round rookie who was mainly drafted to contribute as a kick returner. However, I think we could see more of him this Sunday.

Terrance Williams is dealing with an ankle injury he suffered versus the Giants. Fortunately, Williams participated in practice this Friday.

Even though it’s very likely we see him play versus the Broncos, he possibly won’t be 100%. And I can’t help wondering if Scott Linehan tries something with Switzer on the offensive side of things.

Will Dak Prescott Shine Against This Elite Defense?

 1Last week, I predicted the Cowboys to beat the Giants 27-24. I was right on the Cowboys winning the game, but I wasn’t correct in my explanation as to why.

I thought Dak Prescott would come out picking the Giants’ defense apart. I thought he would make some big throws. And while he didn’t put up a great performance, he did enough to get the win.

However, I’m intrigued about how he will come out for this Broncos game. We know he missed some passes last Sunday, including what would’ve been a TD to Dez Bryant on a slant route.

This feels like the perfect opportunity for Dak Prescott to make a statement versus an elite defense.

Will La’el Collins Pass His Biggest Test Yet?

La’el Collins has been another big story since the offseason for the 2017 Dallas Cowboys. Moving from LG to RT, Cowboys Nation has been keeping a very close eye on him. He is promising, and he is expected to be better than Doug Free.

So far, he’s been good. To be honest, I was on the “Keep La’el At LG” team. At some point, I even thought the Cowboys were making a mistake. Fortunately, it seems they were right.

Brandon Thorn on Twitter

La’El Collins making JPP pay for attempting to rush inside. #Cowboys https://t.co/CMuAQr09zm

Collins has lived up the hype. He did a decent job against Oakland Raiders EDGE Khalil Mack during the third week of the preseason and he dominated JPP during the season opener.

Now he faces Von Miller. Arguably the best pass rusher in the NFL, Collins will have a very busy Sunday.

We have been talking about La’el Collins potentially being an elite RT for this football team. This Sunday, when he lines up against the Super Bowl 50 MVP, La’el Collins can send that message to the rest of the NFL.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

It will be fun to get an answer to all of these questions tomorrow. It is no secret that this is a fun team to watch. The offense is one of the best in the country, and the defense looks very promising. Even still, the important thing is to get that W and continue with the Dallas Cowboys’ Super Bowl run.

Tell me what you think about “5 Questions Heading Into Cowboys VS Broncos 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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I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I’ve been rooting for America’s team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I’m in… You’ll find me at @PepoR99.

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2 Comments
  • Ethan Chazin

    I sure would like to see our Boys run over the Broncos D, plus a Jourdan Lewis sighting, a Ryan Switzer big return or two, 4 D QB sacks and 2 INT, and Dez throw up the “X!”

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Nice stuff, Ethan. Writing a wishlist article for tomorrow on the site, feel free to tweet me @PepoR99 and I’ll include your wishes. Thanks for reading!

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys headed to New York a couple of days ago with a mission: survive a potential trap game versus a 2-10 New York Giants team. Despite not getting most of the help they needed from other teams around the league, at least Dallas was able to do the job they could control.

Through three quarters, the Cowboys struggled a lot. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when they decided to have a touchdown party, outscoring the Giants 20-0 in the final eight minutes of the game.

What did we learn from the Cowboys’ seventh win of the season? Here is this week’s edition of Takeaway Tuesday! 

Dak Prescott Bounced Back

Although the Cowboys are a team that’s barely breathing in the playoff race, the truth is there’re a lot of ways that Dak has improved as a QB. It’s easy to look at a team lose football games and blame the QB without hesitating. That’s been the case most of the season.

It’s fair to say that Prescott hadn’t had an awesome game in a long time, though. But this time, he did just that.

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

Dak Prescott needed a performance like this one. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns last Sunday. He made some key throws and key reads during the game and managed to beat the Giants’ blitz with ease. Glad to see you hush the haters, 4.

Certainly a good thing to see when you need to go 3-0 in order to stay in the postseason conversation.

Concerns Around Dez Bryant Continue to Increase

Listen, I love Dez Bryant. He’s been one of my favorite players to ever watch. But at some point, you have to start admitting there is a problem. Yes, Dez Bryant has been struggling this season. Whether you want to blame Dak or Dez about it, it’s fair. I think they both are to blame.

The thing about Dez is that he can have quite a few bad plays and makes you forget about it when he  does something awesome. A perfect example of this is his 50-yard TD against the Giants last Sunday. It came at a perfect moment, but he had dropped some easy balls earlier in the game.

Dez – Streamable

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Dez is getting paid like an elite WR, and despite some great moments on the field, he’s been having a lot of bad ones lately. If you have a $70M contract, you can’t frequently drop passes like that.

It may be about chemistry with his new QB, it may be about age, or it may be just about a couple of bad years for the guy. Whatever it is, as much as we hate to say it, Dez isn’t anywhere close to the “top receivers” conversation this year.

Sean Lee Proved to be Invaluable Once Again

Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?I’m constantly amazed by the difference the Cowboys’ veteran linebacker makes when he’s on the field. In his heroic return against the Giants, he finished the day with 18 total tackles, 10 of which were solo. With Sean Lee on the field, this defense has been able to be a headache for opposing offenses.

Sean Lee could easily be this team’s MVP. For Cowboys Nation, it’s been a season of constantly missing football players in Dallas. Out of everyone, I think Sean Lee is the player we missed the most. Including Ezekiel Elliott.

This defense transforms into a very capable one with Lee around. The Cowboys need Zeke back if they want to have success in their hunt for the playoffs, but without Lee, they wouldn’t stand a chance.

Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis Are Still Killing It

Coming into this game, one of the biggest question marks was the cornerback position for Dallas. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis were going to get the start, and there’s always uncertainty around rookies going up against a QB like Eli Manning.

lewis – Streamable

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Look at that coverage by Jourdan Lewis. Look at him turn his head around when the ball’s coming. The way this secondary will grow is exciting to think about. The Cowboys have something special in these two guys. They’ll make for an amazing CB duo for years to come, and I’m excited about what they bring to the table.

Chidobe Awuzie has played the last two games, and he’s been very impressive. Throughout the entire game, his converge was pretty impressive. Eli only targeted him 5 times in the ballgame and was able to complete just two passes against him.

Sean Lee ended up with the interception late in the fourth quarter, but it was perfectly set up by Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie – Streamable

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It was a very fun fourth quarter for the Dallas Cowboys, and even though it looks difficult… this football team’s playoff hopes are still alive. Jason Garrett must keep this team focused in the Oakland Raiders for now, though.

Hope dies last, Cowboys Nation. Keep your head up.

Tell me what you think about “Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant” 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

Forget Elliott For Now, Cowboys Must Focus On Raiders

Kevin Brady

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Despite looking dead to rights just two weeks ago, back to back wins have put the Dallas Cowboys into the playoff hunt with just three games remaining.

In order to even have a chance at sneaking in as the sixth seed, Dallas will need to win each of its remaining games to finish 10-6. In some ways, the playoffs started two weeks ago when Dallas took on the Washington Redskins. But even though this Sunday’s contest is another must-win, elimination game for the Cowboys, it’s also a classic “trap” or “look ahead” game as well.

Before the season started, most expected the Oakland Raiders to be competing for AFC supremacy. Like the Cowboys, Oakland bursted onto the scene in 2016 with a young quarterback, a dynamic offense, and an exciting roster. But, like the Cowboys, they have faltered a bit this season due to underperforming stars, injuries, and a somewhat undermanned defensive unit.

The Raiders are now 6-7, and while still alive in the AFC West race, saw their best shot at overtaking the division go up in a smoke last Sunday as they were demolished by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Simply put, the Raiders are not a very good football team right now. And though this will be a road game for the Cowboys, it is one they should win if they are truly a playoff team. In fact, it’s one they have to win if they want to keep their slim playoff chances alive.

The reason why this could potentially be a “trap” game of sorts is who the Cowboys are scheduled to play after traveling to Oakland. A team who has been a perennial playoff contender in the NFC, and a team directly in front of the Cowboys in the current NFC standings – the Seattle Seahawks.

Not only will that Seattle game be massively important to the Cowboys if they can sneak out of Oakland with a victory, it will also feature the return of star running back Ezekiel Elliott from his six game suspension.

December 24th will be a huge day in Dallas if the Cowboys can get to 8-6 this week, but they can ill-afford to look ahead to that potentially important showdown with the Seahawks. Because if they do and the Raiders upset them at the home in primetime, the Cowboys season will end before Elliott even gets the chance to come back.

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Game Notes

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants’ Blitz

Kevin Brady

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Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

While much of Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants featured some ugly football from the Dallas Cowboys, the team continued to fight until completing a 20 point route of their division rivals.

Of course, stars emerged on both the offense and the defense throughout the game. Rod Smith had a breakout day, Dez Bryant made a couple of “vintage” plays, and Sean Lee returned to health and led the defense to a fantastic performance.

But as we all know, quarterbacks make the world go ’round. And no matter how great the other pieces play, it’s hard to win football games unless you can maintain high level quarterback play.

Dak Prescott returned to that high level against the Giants on Sunday.

Even if Prescott is missing throws or having accuracy issues, he had never lost his composure or made the wrong reads until that Atlanta Falcons debacle. I really believe that Dak lost faith in his protection, began abandoning clean pockets, and ended up having a few bad games in a row.

All seems right with Prescott now, as he threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns during the Cowboys’ big win. The area he was most impressive, was with those reads – specifically against the blitz.

dalvsnyg dak to dez td – Streamable

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On his first touchdown pass of the game, Dak Prescott beats the blitz perfectly. Just before snapping the ball, Prescott notices the safety roll down into the box. You can see him subtly move his arm to point out the safety, while calling it out to his linemen as well.

As soon as he gets the snap, Dak knows exactly where to go. The Giants tried to beat him with a delayed safety blitz, but once that safety comes, Prescott knows he has Dez Bryant in man coverage on the perimeter.

His eyes immediately snap that way, and his throw replaces the blitzer quickly. This allows Bryant to do the rest, and the Cowboys to tie the game.

dalvsnyg 17 cole beasley – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Later in the game we see more of the same from Dak Prescott. With the game tied at 10 the Cowboys faced a critical third down backed up in their own territory. The Giants once again show blitz, bring the  blitz, and Dak burns them for it.

The Giants show man coverage across the board pre-snap, with safety Landon Collins on the near hash. Cole Beasley is in the near-slot, and while he technically has a man over him directly, the Giants show 2-over-1 in the slot pre-snap. This usually tips off a blitz, as the Giants plan to bring their slot defender off the edge, and allow Landon Collins to cover Beasley one on one.

Prescott notices this pre-snap once again, and makes the defense pay. He quickly replaces the blitzer with his throw, allowing Beasley to make the easy catch underneath and then do the rest after the catch.

This may not seem all the difficult to do to those analyzing the game the next morning, but these reads indicate high level quarterback-ing from the Cowboys’ franchise leader, Dak Prescott.

Last season against the Giants, their defense was able to bring more than the Cowboys could block on key third downs a few times. Too often, Prescott and the passing offense could not beat those blitzes.

That was not the case this week at all.

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