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Game Notes

ATL 27 DAL 7: Injuries Plague Cowboys In Embarrassing Loss

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott gave it everything he had today, but he and the Dallas Cowboys simply had no chance.

After a fantastic play by Anthony Brown forced an Xavier Woods interception, Prescott ran it in from a few yards out to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead. Atlanta quickly cut it to 7-3, where the score would hold for much of the first half.

But as the injuries piled up for the Cowboys, and they were left without Tyron Smith, Sean Lee, and Ezekiel Elliott, they had no answers for the Atlanta Falcons.

Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn sacked Prescott six times, each time after beating replacement left tackles Chaz Green and Byron Bell. There is no way to sugar coat it, Green was awful today. On most snaps he offered little resistance, and put Prescott at risk of injury on every play. When Bell came in for relief, he was just as bad.

With the hits piling up and Prescott having no chance, the Cowboys offense struggled to score just 7 points. If not for the early interception, the Cowboys might have been shut out today.

As putrid as the offense was, the defense was no better. With Sean Lee out after just a few minutes, the Falcons exploited the Cowboys' weak linebackers. Atlanta ran and passed the ball with ease en route to 27 points.

Dallas now falls to 5-4, and considering how good the rest of the NFC has been, will have difficulty getting into the playoffs. The next few games are critical to the Cowboys if they hope to make any type of run into January.

Next week, the Cowboys will face the 8-1 division leading Philadelphia Eagles. And if both Tyron Smith and Sea Lee are out once again, it's hard to imagine a scenario where this goes well for the Cowboys.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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8 Comments
  • Michael Barthel

    You are absolutely right. This team is terrible. The coaching staff should of pulled chaz green after first half he was terrible injuries and his play he should be released right now he is not capable of starting in this league. Every damn game we worry about lee and when he goes out there goes the chance of winning that’s pathetic. Jaylon Smith looks lost and confused every play. Anthony Brown gets beaten way too much. I blame the coaching staff for this lost they did not have this team ready to play with 2 of their best players sidelined with a 3rd before halftime. They did not adjust anything at all. Marinelli needs fired like now we as fans are getting sick of this. Garrett almost every week when a key player goes down is getting out coached. Without zeke lee and Smith Dallas is awful. Since Jerry doesn’t want to spend money to help out the damn defense looks like Dallas will continue to have a porous defense. If it wasn’t for dominating bad teams this team could be in very bad shape. If Smith and lee don’t play next week look out cuz dak will get sacked more than 9 times. For one guy to sack dak 6 times by himself is sickening. Green needs to be cut like right now cuz he is one of the worse lineman I have ever seen in my life. Dallas screwed up taking him in the 3rd round

    • Michael Barthel

      That’s Jerry for you though messing up picks and putting this defense in bad spots every single year. Brown is not ready to be a starter at corner. Lewis was beaten alot today too. If Garrett and marinelli return next year I think I’m done watching them cuz they are both terrible and have no reason to be coaching NFL teams. We had a easy schedule last year that’s why Garrett won coach of the year. Still our defense wasn’t very good against bad teams last year. This year has shown fans that were getting sick of this well were miissing 3 of our best players so we’re not that good. No NFL left tackle should give up 6 sacks to a defensive end that is not that very good

      • Michael Barthel

        I mean Williams is inconsistent one game has 9 catches 141 yards then completely disappears. Dak tried to do everything he could but without Smith this offensive line isn’t that good. That’s sad considering we still have Martin Frederick and Collins. Dez started off good then disappeared. Zeke gone we have no offense. Morris didn’t start going until 3rd quarter but then green gets called for holding then gives up a sack. I don’t think Dallas can win games without lee Smith and zeke. I had alot of faith before this game that they could but every analyst said they would be lost without them and they completely were. Defense is lost when lee leaves or isn’t playing. Offensive line can’t block without Smith. Running game can’t go without zeke. Morris said we will be okay with him how our running game didn’t look the same as the past 3 games with 130 yards a game. Our receivers didn’t step up and help dak. Witten disappeared. Everyone on the offense disappeared after the first quarter. Very hard to make playoffs now. We need a high pick to help this defense and get a better swing tackle and backup tackle cuz this game looked terrible and they got dominated in every aspect of the game. I understand you can’t win them all but good teams don’t get completely blown out like we have against Denver who is bad themselves and Atlanta who couldn’t buy offensive help

        • Michael Barthel

          I will say thought that the refs completely screwed us this game. 2 receivers knocked down twice no call. I have never heard of grabbing helmet by ear hole a 15 yard penalty. Everytime Dallas got going they called us for something. Atlanta got maybe 2 penalties Dallas had double digits c’mon man that’s ridiculous. Refs ruin games every week. Wouldn’t of made a huge difference but would of extended alot of drives for Dallas. How many face mask did they miss against Atlanta they missed alot of calls on Atlanta but caught every single call for dallas

    • MD

      Oh stop with the over reaction. They are not terrible but not special or playoff run worthy without injured starters like most teams. That said today’s game was another example of Garett’s inability to make in game adjustments. They are usually fine playing with a lead but having to make adjustments is something he has never really done well. Green was horrific today but it’s obvious the coaching staff should have schemed better to give him help. In all honesty Tyron Smith has been pretty bad this year also. Because of the back issues he just can’t hold his ground in pass protection hence the number of holding calls. I think Jaylon Smith was a nice story but it appears he just doesn’t have it right now to be anything more than a situational player at best let alone an every down player which he will have to be if Lee is absent for an extended period. With all of this adversity a win against the Eagles will put them back on the right track. I said 11-5/10-6 this year. They are capable of going 5-2 the rest of they way. Let’s hope Garrett and the coaching staff can solve some of these problems by next Sunday Night…….

      • Michael Barthel

        I see the only wins without zeke will be the chargers giants and skins. So yeah maybe 10-6 is right but I don’t think that will be good enough for a playoff berth. Falcons and green bay both have wins against us and they both in my opinion have a easier schedule. I think Dallas finishes 7th best in nfc. Wish that wasn’t true but I just don’t see Dallas winning much without them. Say what u will but even with Tyron smith hurt playing is better than chaz green 100% healthy. Smith has given up holding calls yes but he doesn’t give up 6 sacks to one guy that isn’t even that good. Smith is the best left tackle in the game and it was proven tonight. With him Dallas has given up 10 sacks in 8 games. Without Smith we gave up 9. Lee being out kills us at any chance of winning games cuz the defense is completely lost and terrible without lee

  • Russ_Te

    Aikman said he’s never seen pass blocking as bad as Green’s today, or something to that effect. And Aikman absorbed an 11-sack nightmare as a rookie against Philadelphia.

    I think Dallas fans figured the offense was still good with Morris or Smith or McFadden at RB. To see it all unravel because there’s no depth at OT, is pretty deflating.

    Aside from Garrett coaching another stinker like he did in Denver, it’s worrisome for the season and also for how long Tyron Smith can play football. Once the back injuries start, as we’ve seen, it’s usually deterioration from there. So the new draft priority might be OT and not RDE.

    It may prove to not be, but this season looks over now – play subs more to see who emerges and to get the highest pick possible.

    Garrett opened the game with the same predictability as he did in Denver – hand off on 1st downs. If that gets stuffed on the road, it throws off multiple bad effects that can set the tone for the entire game. He seems oblivious to that.

    He lets a player who can change defensive alignments, Butler, sit on the bench most downs.
    Worst is: how many sacks does Green have to give up before you get him help or bench him? Garrett went well into the 3rd quarter before visible alteration was made with Green.

    Then on that 3rd & 19 on the Atlanta 21, Garrett throws a screen that isn’t going to get 19 or score. That is a call for 2nd and very long, not 3rd. On 3rd & 19 from there, you throw it into the end zone, or dump it off as a last option. You roll Dak right to get away from Clayborn, and try to get 7. Instead Garrett calls a cave-in screen to set up a FG to trim the Atlanta lead to 17-10.

    He deserved to miss the FG.

  • tjones122

    The offense never got in a rhythm ala Chaz greenbrier think the offense will be fine. The defense was just starting to turn the corner and lee gets hurt. Why didnt we go after daryl Washington or bowman again?

Game Notes

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady

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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

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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

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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 Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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