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Cowboys Need to be Better vs Leonard Williams This Time Around

John Williams



Cowboys OLNeeds to be Better vs Leonard Williams This Time

There was a lot that went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys in their week six trip to New York to face the Jets. In that 24-22 loss, a lot of players can shoulder the blame for how the game turned out. The Cowboys were slow to show up as the Jets got out to a 21-6 lead at the half. Though the Cowboys were able to make a game out of it in the second half, much the damage was already done and they couldn't complete the comeback.

In the first half of that loss, the offense struggled to find any consistency in their execution. Some of it was mistakes by generally reliable players and some of it was related to playing to backup tackles in Cameron Fleming and Brandon Knight. The offensive line as a whole seemed to struggle on the left side, particularly with 3-4 Defensive End Leonard Williams, now with the New York Giants after a trade deadline trade.

In that game, Williams would finish second on the team in total pressures with two quarterback hits and two hurries, per Pro Football Focus. He was disruptive in the middle of the field. In the first half when the Dallas Cowboys were able to find success, it was generally when Williams was off the field.

Here's one of those QB hits.

Cowboys OL Needs to be Better vs Leonard Williams This Time

At the snap, Williams immediately rushes the "A" gap between Travis Frederick and Connor Williams. Williams has to bail on the double team to pick up the linebacker blitzing into the "B" gap and Williams was too much for Travis Frederick to handle on this snap. He uses his length to bull rush Frederick before disengaging with a swim move to meet two more Jets just as Dak Prescott is getting rid of the football.

In the run game, the Cowboys had a hard time getting anywhere when running up the middle and over the left guard. Williams had two stops in the run game that kept Elliott from getting enough yardage for the play to be deemed successful. Per Pro Football Focus, when the Cowboys ran to the left of Travis Frederick and toward the guard, the "A" and "B" gaps, they averaged just 1.75 yards per carry.

Cowboys OL Needs to be Better vs Leonard Williams This Time 1

On this snap, Williams is lined up as the 3-technique, looking to penetrate the gap between the guard and the center. Connor Williams and Cam Fleming are forced to double team him there and Williams doesn't get enough of him to prevent him from slipping past Fleming and making the play to bring down Ezekiel Elliott for just a two-yard gain.

It was a rough game for the Cowboys offensive line against the New York Jets who were sending pressure a lot of the afternoon. With the Dallas Cowboys traveling back to New Jersey to face the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, the offensive line will get an opportunity to redeem themselves against Leonard Williams.

They'll be in much better health this week with Tyron Smith and La'el Collins returning in the Cowboys week seven win over the Philadelphia Eagles. With the bye week, the Cowboys offensive line should be as healthy as they've been all season.

For the Cowboys to extend their win streak over the New York Giants to six games and maintain their lead in the NFC East, the offensive line will need to play as well as they did against the Philadelphia Eagles front seven. The interior offensive line will be tested by Williams and 2019 first-round pick Christian Wilkins, but there's no reason they shouldn't be able to. Having all five starters out there for this divisional matchup is huge for this week and will help determine how the rest of the 2019 season will go.

If the Cowboys have playoff aspirations, the offensive line needs to take care of business this week, redeeming themselves from their previous visit to MetLife Stadium.

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


Player News

Report: Cowboys G Connor Williams to Undergo Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Expected to Miss a Few Weeks

Matthew Lenix



Report: Cowboys G Connor Williams to Undergo Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Expected to Miss a Few Weeks

The Dallas Cowboys received a bit of bad news today. According to ESPN's Todd Archer, Guard Connor Williams will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Connor Williams will have surgery on his knee Tuesday but the hope is he will be able to return after a few weeks. Xavier Su'a-Filo will likely move into the left guard role, which is how the Cowboys handled Williams' absence last year because of a knee...

Williams suffered the injury in Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. This is a minor procedure but will keep Williams sidelined for a few weeks. Backup Guard Xavier Su'a-Filo is expected to fill in during his absence, just like he did in 2018 when Williams missed time with a knee issue. More to come.

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Game Notes

Jason Garrett Reminds Everyone That Kellen Moore Calls the Plays

Jess Haynie



Jason Garrett, Kellen Moore

There's a lot of blame game being played around the Dallas Cowboys right now after a demoralizing home loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Even the head coach seems to be getting in on the act as Jason Garrett went out of character and got unusually specific in explaining Kellen Moore's responsibility for play-calling.

Garrett is not known for calling people out. In fact, many fans have criticized him for not being more critical of his players. He tends to speak in vague, nebulous terms when it comes to discussing the Cowboys' weaknesses or failings after a loss.

But in a radio appearance this morning, Garrett didn't mince words on who was deciding the plays during the Cowboys' final drive.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jason Garrett on @1053thefan on the two run plays late: "Kellen's calling the game. In that situation it's 2nd and 2. He felt like he had a good opportunity against a favorable box to run the ball in those situations. On each of those plays we had options beyond just the run.

Jason did try to excuse his offensive coordinator's decisions with some context, but he also made sure to clarify who was responsible for those calls. It was not very Garrett-like, and it may speak to his own growing frustration and concern over his future.

Garrett is on the final year of his contract and the Cowboys' front office has made it clear that any extension depends on the results of the 2019 season. With Dallas now dropping to 5-4 and only leading the division by a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Philadelphia Eagles, the future is increasingly unclear.

Jason Garrett famously uses "we" and "us" terms when talking about the negatives, not wanting to assign blame to any particular player or person when things aren't going well. That he strayed from this well-established behavior today may be an anomaly, but it shouldn't be ignored.

With a tough second-half stretch coming in this 2019 schedule, Garrett may be starting to feel like a dead man walking. We'll see in the coming weeks if this leads to anymore shifts in his usual demeanor with the media.

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Game Notes

Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 10 Against Vikings

Brian Martin



Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 10 Against Vikings

Well Cowboys Nation, the Dallas Cowboys let yet another winnable game slip to their grasp Sunday night after the devastating 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. By my count, that's three out of four games the Cowboys probably should have won this season. But, probably… maybe… and should have don't mean diddly squat in the NFL.

I'm not going to beat around the bush today because I would likely end up going into a long winded rant about what took place last night. So, let's go ahead and jump right into this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. As always, please feel free to use the comment section to voice your opinions and thoughts on the subject.

The Good

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Unlike in weeks past, I had absolutely no problem deciding what to go with this week for this category from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. I don't think anyone would argue that the good had to be Quarterback Dak Prescott's play and the Cowboys overall passing game. This unit was the sole reason they had a chance to win at the end.

Prescott was simply phenomenal Sunday night. He threw for 397 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception. He was on point last night and was dropping dimes all over the place. It's one of the reasons why both Amari Cooper (147 yards, 1 TD) and Randall Cobb (106, 1 TD) both went over the 100 yard mark in receiving, and Michael Gallup wasn't too far behind (76 yards, 1 TD). All in all it's an MVP caliber performance from No. 4, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to seal the victory.

The Bad

Brett Maher

Dallas Cowboys K Brett Maher

I thought and thought about what I wanted to go with in this category and I'll have to admit, I had a hard time deciding. There were individual players who deserved a nomination here, but in the end I think the bad for the Dallas Cowboys was them getting off to yet another slow start against the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, it's been a trend for them this season.

It all started when Jason Garrett decided to send out Kicker Brett Maher to attempt an ill-advised 57 yard field goal. Maher is capable of making such kicks, but there's a time and place to use that kind of weapon. Last night on the opening drive of the game was not one of those times. After the missed FG, the Vikings had excellent field position and scored a quick TD. Not long after they scored another TD to go up 14-0 after another stalled drive by the Cowboys offense. It's a hole they were never quite able to dig themselves out of.

The Ugly

Dalvin Cook

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook

Deciding what to go with here in this category was pretty easy after narrowing down what I wanted to put in the bad category. I think the ugly for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings was their defensive play. In all honesty, it was absolutely sickening to watch the Vikings have their way with the Cowboys defense. Dallas has far too much talent on that side of the ball to be manhandled like they were.

The tackling was atrocious and so was the execution. I'm pretty sure the game plan was to neutralize Dalvin Cook the way they did Saquon Barkley in Week 9, but the league's leading rusher (Cook) would have none of that. He pretty much did what he wanted. He ran through arm tackles and had room to run, whether it was as a rusher or receiver. It looked a lot like what Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones did to the Cowboys in Week 5. It was completely inexcusable and unacceptable!

What is your good, bad, and ugly from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup?

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