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Game Notes

Are Cowboys Ready For Ravens D? #DALvsBAL Staff Picks And Notes



The Star News - Are Cowboys Ready For Ravens D? #DALvsBAL Staff Picks And Notes

Who's ready for some noon football? Yeah, I know. Noon games are a little weird for me too. I don't know why. But it's what we've got as the Dallas Cowboys host the Baltimore Ravens at AT&T Stadium, and the Cowboys' week 11 opponent is set to follow the week 10 struggle against the Steelers with another whopper.

It's tough to know exactly what the Ravens defense has in store for the 'Boys because they haven't faced a rushing attack quite like Dallas', but they're pretty stout. And they can cover a bit too. When it's all said and done we might see another ugly outing for Dak Prescott.

Let's face it, it was an ugly game for Prescott last week. He had his moments, but from the first drive, when he fumbled the ball to an unnoticed rusher, it wasn't pretty.

But much like the trip to Pittsburgh, this hometown match-up against Baltimore could leave us all cheering Dak Prescott as the hero of the day. Ugly or not, a win is a win, and he found a way to do what was needed when it mattered most. That's all that matters. And with Ezekiel Elliott and that line at his side (figuratively speaking, of course), it's always possible.

With temperatures trending toward the mid to upper 50s, this will be the fifth meeting between the Cowboys and Ravens, and only the second time the Ravens have traveled to the Lone Star State. You might remember the first time the ravens were in town. It was 2008 and the final Cowboys game to played at the storied Texas Stadium in Irving, TX.

Talk about ugly...

I can still remember the stream of profanity pouring out of my mouth watching then-safety Ken Hamlin whiff on a tackle that wound up a 90-ish yard touchdown run. And then it happened again; almost the exact same play, the same whiff, same distance, same six points. It was just a different runner.

Anyway, enough of the (not so) glory days. Let's check out this team's outlook for the day.

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Brian Martin | @Bmart0204

This might be the toughest run defense the Dallas Cowboys have faced all season, but there's not much else about the Baltimore Ravens that suggests this should be a tough game.

I think the Cowboys will completely dominate this game from start to finish.

Cowboys 31 – Ravens 17

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Kevin Brady | @Kevinbrady88

Sooner or later they have to lose again, right? Well, after predicting it to happen last week, I think I'm done expecting a loss.

Baltimore is a pretty good football team with a strong defense, but I think the Cowboys' run game will prove to be too much. Joe Flacco gives our defense one, Dak Prescott doesn't, and that ends up being the difference in the game.

Cowboys 26 – Ravens 21

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Justin Grohowski | @Grohowknowhow

All of the attention for this game has centered around the elite Dallas rushing attack versus the league's best rush defense. I, however, expect the Cowboys to win this one through the air. Dak and Dez Bryant appear to have hit their stride and that will continue.

Jimmy Smith is doubtful to play as well, which hurts Baltimore in the secondary. I expect Dallas to hit a few big plays through the air, get the lead, and ride that running game in the second half.

Until a team proves they can slow down Zeke Elliott, I'll bet on him and that offensive line all day long. The pedestrian Ravens offense won't be able to keep pace.

Cowboys 27 – Ravens 17

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Ian Koplowitz | @BleedingTheStar

Man, I've got a bad feeling about this one. The Ravens are a team that truly has our kryptonite: stopping the run. I think they're going to sell out to stop the run and leave the game in the hands of their secondary to stop Dak Prescott. I'm just not sure he's going to be able to consistently beat them to pull out the win.

I think our defense is going to have to slow them down. If we can keep them out of the end zone one too many times, we'll pull it out. Just not sure about this one. Side note: I think this is a game Tony Romo would easily win. Just saying. 🙂

Cowboys 17 – Ravens 20

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Sean Martin | @ShoreSportsNJ

The Ravens defense certainly worries me, not because I expect the Cowboys offensive line to lose their match-ups across the board, but because of their ability to force tight throws. Dak Prescott will have to be as sharp as we've seen, and I think he will be.

The offense does just enough, and DeMarcus Lawrence records two sacks to help the defense.

Cowboys 24 – Ravens 20

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John Williams | @John9williams

This week the Dallas Cowboys will match their running game strength against a team who looks to play the part of a shut down defense, the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens have played three teams a good to very good running team, but with mixed results against the likes of the Buffalo Bills (65 rushing yards), the New York Jets (155), and the Pittsburgh Steelers (36).

The Dallas Cowboys bring a more physical style of running than any of those teams, which to me will be the difference in the football game. The Cowboys will be the first NFC team since the 2003 St. Louis Rams to go 4-0 against the AFC North with a decisive double-digit win.

Cowboys 24 – Ravens 14

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RJ Ochoa | @RJOchoa

The Ravens Defense isn't the dominant force people are purporting, but it's a little stingy.

The Cowboys will break away in the second half, and a garbage-time Baltimore score will make things look closer than they really were. Cowboys win. 9-1. Huzzah.

Cowboys 27 – Ravens 17

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Bryson Treece | @BrysonTreece

About the only thing that's certain this year is a team's potential to be better than those before them. After facing and defeating the Bengals, Packers, Eagles, and Steelers, with the special successes each have had thus far, the Cowboys continue to prove their potential is too much to handle.

I was nervous about last week and wound up sitting in agony on the edge of my seat for three hours, but the Steelers fell in the end. I'm nervous about the Ravens as well, but it's as much about the fear of eight in a row distracting some of the younger players than the Ravens.

The Cowboys will come out swinging in this one. Dak Prescott is gaining more confidence each week in his arm and his receivers and that'll show today. Combined with Ezekiel Elliott's NFL-best rushing attack, the 'Boys top the Ravens by two scores and ride Elliott through the fourth quarter.

Cowboys 24 – Ravens 14

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These Cowboys keep knocking them down as if they're not the best team in football and that's exactly what needs to happen today. Play like the record is 0-9 and that elusive 9-1 will come.

It's almost Thanksgiving and that means we get some more NFC East rivalry, good food, and Thursday football for the next two weeks. So enjoy the last Sunday of Cowboys football until December 11.

Be safe, get LOUD, and GO COWBOYS!!!

This is the General Staff account for Inside The Star, a blog for Dallas Cowboys news, scores, schedule, rumors, and analysis. We are the official home for @CowboysNation on Twitter. Follow us today for new content updates straight from our timeline. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Staff listing.

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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