Game Notes What Cowboys, Dez Bryant Must Prove Against Cardinals Published 4 months ago on September 22, 2017 By Sean Martin Share Tweet The Jared Goff led Rams and Brian Hoyer quarterbacked 49ers combined for 80 points last night on Thursday Night Football, only further driving home the absurdity that is the weekly tradition of “Overreaction Monday” around the National Football League. This Monday, it was the widespread talk of impending doom for a stacked Cowboys offense that was shut down in a 42-17 loss at the Broncos that had many in Cowboys Nation anxiously awaiting the new opportunity that week three in Arizona will present. While it is smart to say that things can only go up from here for Dallas offensively, the Cowboys may have to rely on moving the football for another game without elite production from WR Dez Bryant. Preparing to face Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals after seeing Janoris Jenkins and Aquib Talib to start the season, the Cowboys need to prove that they can either scheme their top receiver into any game (like the defending NFC Champion Falcons did with Julio Jones in 2016) or win consistently without Bryant dominating games. Marcus Mosher on Twitter Patrick Peterson has always played Dez Bryant fairly well. A big reason why is that he isn’t afraid to get beat over the top. https://t.co/orFQZ4MYdJ With Dak Prescott as his quarterback, Dez Bryant was actually targeted 16 times against the Broncos – a new career high for passes thrown from #4 to #88. Obviously, the production did not follow these targets as Bryant caught seven passes for 59 yards and a touchdown in the blowout loss. Some of Bryant’s most efficient games have come when he is not force-fed the ball, but rather used intelligently by Scott Linehan as a chess piece capable of taking the top off of a defense at any time or moving the chains underneath. Putting Bryant in motion to free up the middle of the field, getting him away from physical boundary corners by lining him up in the slot, and keeping him mentally engaged by throwing some slant and screen patters his way are all ways that the Cowboys have found ways to win with and without Bryant carrying the offense. Marcus Mosher on Twitter One thing DBs try to do vs Dez is get their hands in his head/neck area. It can frustrate him at times. https://t.co/UoDYimHJXz Patrick Peterson is going to be yet another tough match up for Dez Bryant, as one of the most athletic cover corners in the NFL will combine aspects of what Jenkins and Talib have successfully down to slow down Bryant so far this season. With the ability to slow him down at the line, run with him to the boundary, effortlessly stay sticky on Bryant’s physical in-cuts, and play the ball at its highest point in the air, Peterson will make nothing easy when Dak Prescott looks Bryant’s way on Monday night. Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant and QB Dak Prescott One thing that did stand out was Bryant’s touchdown from 2014 against Peterson though, as it reminded me exactly of the play he beat Talib on a week ago for his lone score of this young season (as I explained more in Sean’s Scout). Marcus Mosher on Twitter Here’s Dez’s TD vs Patrick Peterson. https://t.co/ZcIgX1GVrF Let’s be real about one thing, Cowboys Nation. As excited as we are about Rod Marinelli’s defense slowly improving through the season thanks to the young talent the Cowboys added in the draft, it has been this team’s offense all along that is the source of any Super Bowl aspirations the 2017 Cowboys may have. There just aren’t many offenses in the NFL that can play at a championship level without a dominant “X” receiver, which Dez Bryant absolutely still is. It may not show this week once again, but Monday night could be a great opportunity for the Cowboys to again prove they can at least utilize Bryant effectively and execute on offense both running the ball with Ezekiel Elliott and throwing to targets that aren’t Bryant. In games where the Cowboys offense broke 30 points in 2016, Bryant averaged just under four receptions. A closer look at the film from these game would show a #88 that was still very much involved in the offense, which has not been the case through two games in 2017. Marcus Mosher on Twitter Again… expect PP to try to make this a brawl. https://t.co/uE8qBMI7zx Patrick Peterson won’t provide any relief on a brutal schedule of CBs that Bryant has had the task of lining up against, but no matter the result he will need to help his young quarterback and running back get back on track to avoid consecutive losses. Randall Liu on Twitter Only 4 in NFL history with 70+ TD catches in 1st 100 games: Rice Hutson Moss Alworth @DezBryant & @RobGronkowski can join the list Oh, and a breakout game from Dez Bryant in prime time could land him in elite company with Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. If anyone thinks the past two weeks have truly exposed one of the best WRs in football… Tell us what you think about “What Cowboys, Dez Bryant Must Prove Against Cardinals” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL! ADVERTISEMENT Related Topics:2017 Week 2Arizona CardinalsCowboys OffenseDez BryantWide Receiver Up Next Cowboys at Cardinals: ITS Writer Predictions for the Game Don't Miss Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss VS Broncos Sean Martin Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL. Advertisement You may like Could the Dallas Cowboys Feature a New-Look Offense in 2018? WR Brice Butler Makes Waves With Controversial Comments Cowboys Draft Target: Louisiana State WR D.J. Chark 3 Free Agent Wide Receiver Options for the Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys: 3 Best Plays of the 2017 Season Cowboys Draft Target: Colorado State WR Michael Gallup 4 Comments TreFKennedy88 Good article Sean https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin Thank you for reading! Corey I don’t mean to get off of the subject, but I have got to say this. I think Roger Goodell and the NFL are taking this suspension of Zeke a little to far. I mean there is no real evidence that he did anything and yet it seems that Goodell is really out to get him. Personally I think Goodell is the one who should be replaced. He sucks as the commissioner and always has, and probably always will. He is power hungry and he is so far off the mark in most of the decisions that he makes, he has made a mockery of the position of commisioner https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin Well said, Corey. Game Notes Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles Published 2 weeks ago on January 4, 2018 By Kevin Brady 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 Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. 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 Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. 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 Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. 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. ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Game Notes Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game Published 2 weeks ago on January 2, 2018 By Mauricio Rodriguez 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! ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ 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. 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. ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ 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 Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. 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. ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ 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 Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. 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. ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ 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. ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ 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! ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Game Notes Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win Published 2 weeks ago on January 1, 2018 By Sean Martin 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. I’m beginning to doubt that the Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant connection will ever improve. 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. ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ 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! ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Sportsbook odds for all Dallas Cowboys games Reader Survey Want to help make Inside The Star better? We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device. > Take the survey now Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.). Advertisement Advertisement Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here Trending NFL Draft3 days ago The Dallas Cowboys Will Have More Than Enough Trade Ammunition NFL Draft2 weeks ago Pre-Playoff 7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft Player News1 week ago Should the Cowboys Consider Not Giving Zack Martin an Extension? 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