Well, it’s truly amazing, 13 weeks in and a 4-8 record to show but somehow, some way the Cowboys are not done yet. After watching the film here are 5 thoughts I had about the Game.
- After really not blitzing all year, and when they did, they would be sending an extra LB or the slot corner, Rod Marinelli really sent the house early and often. Not only did he call them well, the players executed them well. One play that stands out is Sean Lee’s sack. On the play Sean has a straight line to the quarterback, but he knows his job is to clip the Guard and free up the End on the Tackle-End stunt. He Chips the Guard, disengages and gets the sack anyway. This play really shows the kind of player Lee is, unselfish to do his assignment when he’s staring at a sack, but also so fast and productive he chipped the G and got the sack.
- Not a fan favorite by any means, Nick Hayden deserves some credit for the way he played Monday. Hayden took on double teams all night and was productive, getting up the field and in the backfield. Although the stats say he only had 4 tackles, he was productive and penetrating all night, something we have not seen out of the 1 technique since Terrell McClain got injured.
- Brandon Carr also played a very good game. In the past against the Redskins, Carr has been killed with crossing routes, especially playing against Garcon. With Desean Jackson being star covered by Morris Claiborne, Carr was left to deal with Garcon, Carr held his own and did not give up any big plays. Garcon finished with 5 catches on 7 targets for 54 yards. It was an impressive day for Carr especially considering his past struggles with the Redskins.
- I believe this team has found something with Lucky Whitehead. It is a shame that it took this long for them to start giving him opportunities after what was an impressive preseason. The jet sweeps that they run have been having great success, and his return statistics speak for themselves. I challenge the coaching staff to continue to find ways to get him the ball. On some third and short situations, we have seen Cole Beasly line up in the backfield and motion out wide. I believe that role would fit Lucky Whitehead perfectly, as defenses would respect him getting a handoff much more than Beasly in my opinion. Another aspect of Whitehead’s game that surprised me, considering his size, is his willingness and effectiveness to stick his head in there and block a linebacker or someone in the secondary. He fills the Point of Attack blocking role that was left void after Dwayne Harris left very well.
- Give credit to the way Matt Cassel played the second half of this game. He struggled mightily the first couple drives, but in the second half when a play needed to be made he stepped up. One thing about Cassel, when the game is on the line he is going to target his playmakers. Both Dez Bryant and Jason Witten played vital parts in the closing minutes of the ball game. Cassel was dealt pressure all day, and to his credit, he did not allow himself to get rattled in the pocket when he needed to deliver throws late in the game. One critique about Cassel this game, and it’s hard to determine if it’s his fault or the Oline but his passes were batted down much to frequent.
One last note, congratulations to Jason Witten on 1,000 catches. I’d be hard pressed to find a classier player in the NFL on and off the field.