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Game Notes

Cowboys And Redskins Return To Thanksgiving; Staff Picks And Predictions



Dez Bryant, Redskins

Once upon a time, a bountiful feast betwixt the Pilgrims and the Indians was shared, the end. Not much of a story, I know, but that's only because we had to wait nearly four centuries to get to the good stuff. It's Thanksgiving, and that means we're preparing for the Three Effs of Thanksgiving; food, family, and football. The first two are on you, so don't skimp, but that last one, well... fate had an idea on that one.

This Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys have invited the Washington Redskins into their home for something of a feast, too. Only this feast is sure to look a little more like:


Ezekiel Elliott


Than the more traditional scene of Thanksgiving festivities...

The first Thanksgiving 1621 by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1863-1930, artist. Published by the Foundation Press, Inc., c1932. photomechanical print halftone, colour. Pilgrims and Natives gather to share meal. (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

It's the Redskins, and we all know how that story goes. What we don't yet know is how this year's chapter, the Cowboys home game, will go. Lots of talk about Alfred Morris getting his second shot against his former teammates, which RJ Ochoa covered in this week's 5 Bold Predictions. But mostly, the talk of both towns is whether or not the Redskins can slow the Cowboys' roll at all.

The Cowboys sit atop the league at 9-1. While hugely improbable and not without its close calls, it is what it is. The 'Boys are also on a streak of eight consecutive games with at least 400 yards of total offence, and carrying that stat line through this contest would be an NFL record. Not to mention nine wins in a row, but there's no record to be set there (Thanks a lot, Dolphins and Patriots).

So, as we contemplate traditions, life, and the match-up before us, let's have a look at what The Star writers have to say.

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John Williams | @John9williams

Well, I've picked the Dallas Cowboys to win in every game this year, and they've made me look like a genius in every game, aside from the week one, one point loss to the New York Giants. As I am the eternal optimist, nothing will sway me now.

I see the Dallas Cowboys being able to win each and every game remaining on their schedule, the only question is, will they?

This week they face a Washington team on a bit of a role, that's running the ball very well and allowing Kirk Cousins to have some success. I see the Dallas Cowboys giving up a lot of yards to Washington, but will win the game because Washington will be forced to kick field goals.

Cowboys 31 – Redskins 24

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Kevin Brady | @Kevinbrady88

I expect this to be an absolute dog-fight, just as it was in week two.

This 9-game winning streak started at Washington, and it will continue to roll through Washington this week. Ezekiel Elliott goes over 100 yards against an NFC East foe for the first time, and Dez Bryant hauls in another touchdown catch.

Dan Bailey wins it late, and the Cowboys improve to 10-1.

Cowboys 27 – Redskins 24

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Sean Martin | @ShoreSportsNJ

I hope you're all ready to watch some points be scored on Thanksgiving. I have a feeling this is going to be a shootout game for the ages, and a new chapter on a classic NFC East rivalry.

As I submitted to RJ Ochoa in his bold predictions, I think the winning team will pull away by 17 or more points, and if I'm right in picking the Cowboys, the league will never doubt us again. Time to eat.

Cowboys 41 – Redskins 24

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RJ Ochoa | @RJOchoa

The Cowboys Offense has amassed eight consecutive games of over 400 total yards - only the 2007 Patriots and 2013 Broncos have done this. They'll get theirs, and they'll need them against Kirk Cousins and a feisty Redskins team.

Turkey Day Shootout!

Cowboys 30 – Redskins 24

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Ian Koplowitz | @BleedingTheStar

I just don't know anymore. I've picked against the Cowboys 3-4 times since week one, and they prove me wrong each time. This is a much improved Redskins team than the one we beat in week 2, but we're a lot better as well.

The weapons they have on offense scare me, but I think they're saying the same about us. We're really going to need a turnover or two in this game, and I think we can get one. In another close game, I look for Dan Bailey to give us the scores we need to widen the divisional gap.

Cowboys 27 – Redskins 24

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Jess Haynie | @CowboysAddicts

The Cowboys are the better team and get a major advantage with the short week at home.

Still, this will be a tight rivalry match-up. Dallas-Washington games are often unpredictable.

Cowboys 27 – Redskins 24

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Justin Grohowski | @Grohowknowhow

Two of the league's best offenses are squaring off in this divisional showdown. I expect it'll be a shootout, and the Dallas offense to not skip a beat in this one. Zeke Elliott gets back on track here, and the Dak to Dez show will continue to roll.

A banged up Dallas secondary could burn the Cowboys, but they finally force a late crucial turnover to swing this one in their favor. The extra short week for the Redskins could play a factor here as well, as they are coming off a Sunday Night Football win at home.

Dallas wins a tight one.

Cowboys 31 – Redskins 26

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Brian Martin | @Bmart0204

When the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins play each other, you can almost guarantee a tough physical game. This is the first time the Cowboys rookies are playing after a short week, but I think they're up to the challenge.

I give the Cowboys the advantage at home and think Dan Bailey kicks the winning field goal.

Cowboys 24 – Redskins 21

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Bryson Treece | @BrysonTreece

Yeah, the Redskins are on a roll, but so are the Cowboys. The only question is will the Cowboys find a way to win, again. They've done it most of the year so I know it's possible. It's even likely, and that's why I'm going with the 'Boys on this one.

Kirk Cousins and the Redskins will prove this to be just another NFC East rivalry match-up. They'll surprise us with their hunger, a rematch they've been waiting for since week two. But I see Dak Prescott (run), Dez Bryant (pass), and Ezekiel Elliott (run) each getting their own touchdowns, plus some Dan Bailey's clutch footwork to put it away.

Cowboys 31 – Redskins 24

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Wow. There's just a whole lot of wow going around this season.

I mean, even the most optimistic fan had to see 6-5 as a very real possibility when Tony Romo went down against the Seahawks in preseason. Nobody, and I mean no one, had any clue how these Cowboys could be playing for 10-1 come Thanksgiving.

But here we are, aren't we? It's just been a hell of a ride so far. I, for one, would have liked to see Tony Romo at the helm of this beast, but Dak Prescott has done an outstanding job leading this team. Which is why my gifts for Thanksgiving this year are new Tony Romo navy and Dak Prescott white jerseys. Not that I can wear them during the game, but that's another story for another time.

So enjoy it, folks.

We wish you all a very happy and fruitful Thanksgiving from everyone here at Inside The Star. We love you guys and enjoy sharing this ride with each and every one of you. Keep your loved ones close and the TV turned up loud, oh and try not to fall asleep before it's over, because this game is going to be fun to watch.

Stay Safe Cowboys Nation. 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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