The Dallas Cowboys will play under the lights for their third consecutive game. This time, they'll host the Minnesota Vikings on a close Sunday Night Football matchup. Both teams have three losses to their name but are still considered contenders in the NFC. It'll be a fun one.
Let's get to this week's Cowboys Wishlist!
Wish #1: Let Byron Jones Travel with Stefon Diggs
It shouldn't be easy to cover Diggs, but with Adam Thielen out due to injury, the Cowboys will be able to concentrate plenty of their defensive efforts in holding him off. Easier said than done, right?
I'd love to see CB Byron Jones travel with the Vikings' starting wide receiver, but we haven't seen this coaching staff assign Jones to any specific receiver many times. He's limited talented receivers like Michael Thomas and Deandre Hopkins before in his career, but we've seen this team prefers to play him differently. I'll be keeping a close eye on #31 tonight.
In his last six games, Diggs has averaged 101 yards per game. We'll see what the gameplan is for the Vikings with Thielen sidelined. If the Cowboys can take him way from the game, it should make a big difference in what's expected to be a high-scoring affair.
Wish #2: Give More Snaps to Those Who Deserve It
There are three Dallas Cowboys that desperately need more snaps. Two on defense and one on offense. And they all made that clear once again last week when the Cowboys beat the New York Giants.
Jourdan Lewis played excellent football thanks to the fact that the Dallas coaching staff finally trusted him with more playing time. It's time for him to become at least the #3 cornerback on the depth chart. We can eventually talk about him going for Chidobe Awuzie's job as the #2, but let's take baby steps for now.
Jourdan Lewis has played at least 60% of the snaps in 17 career games. His numbers... 70 tackles 1 sack 2 TFL 2 INT 8 PD 2 FR
Sean Lee also played great football last week when he led the team in tackles with 12 total and nine solo. He's played less now that Leighton Vander Esch is the starter, but I believe the team should still ramp up his snap count. He can still play like one of the best in the game when he's healthy and playing him more should work just fine for the Cowboys' defense. Vander Esch should be back tonight, but Lee still deserves more snaps.
Finally, Blake Jarwin still needs a bigger role on the offense. Had it been Jason Witten who caught a particular pass from Dak Prescott late in the second quarter versus the Giants last Monday, we likely would've been talking about a fifteen-yard gain. But it was Jarwin, who after catching the ball at the 34-yard line took it to the house thanks to his speed. Just let him play more.
Wish #3: Exploit Vikings Interior OL
The Cowboys are far from great on defensive interior line play but they might have a favorable matchup against the Vikings. Michael Bennett was pretty good in his Cowboys debut last week and he played plenty of snaps at DT. I hope we continue to see this from the newest piece to the puzzle. Kirk Cousins doesn't perform very well under pressure, and he's been inconsistent when playing on primetime.
DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn will likely be consistently pressuring from the edges, but the Cowboys' defense will truly shine if they can keep it coming in the interior and keep Cousins from stepping up in the pocket.
Wish #4: Chris Jones has a Better Game
I expect this game to be a close one and special teams will matter. Oddly enough, not many fans have complained about Punter Chris Jones. Sure, he was among the best a few seasons ago and there's no forgetting his famous fake punt versus the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016, but he just hasn't been the same in a long while.
This season, the Cowboys have had some terrible punts and few great ones. Jones needs to have a better game against the Vikings if special teams are going to be a huge factor.
Jason Garrett Reminds Everyone That Kellen Moore Calls the Plays
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Randall Cobb has Breakout Game in Tough Loss vs Vikings
When NFL free agency began this past March the Dallas Cowboys spent the month making several additions to their roster. Veterans George Iloka (only one not currently on the roster), Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington, and Robert Quinn were added to help on the defensive side of the ball.
Offensively, there was a huge hole to fill when Wide Receiver Cole Beasley signed a four-year 29 million dollar deal to play for the Buffalo Bills. The Cowboys would then sign Randall Cobb about a week later to a one-year deal. The seasoned pro was brought in as an upgrade over Beasley in the slot to compliment Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Also, with his unique ability to play on the outside as well, it would allow Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore to present different looks for opposing defenses.
In his first seven games of the season, Cobb struggled to find his place within this offense. He produced 25 receptions for 274 yards, with his lone touchdown coming in the season opener vs the New York Giants. He had four or fewer receptions five times and his most productive game only produced 69 yards. However, last night against the Minnesota Vikings was a glimpse of how productive Cobb can be in this system.
Cobb finished with six receptions for 106 yards Sunday night. This was his first 100-yard game since Week 1 in 2018. Four of his catches went for 20 yards or more, five went for first downs and he scored his second touchdown of the season. Dak Prescott showed supreme confidence in looking for Cobb on crucial third-down situations.
That's exactly what Cobb can do for this offense. He provides another reliable threat in the Cowboys aerial assault. When Cobb plays at a high level it will only free up Cooper and Gallup to wreak havoc on the outside.
Last night's game was a perfect example of this. Cooper had 11 receptions for 147 yards and Gallup added four catches for 76 yards, each scoring touchdowns. It doesn't allow a defense to lock in on one receiver and take them completely out of the game.
Cobb playing well also has an impact on the running game. The better he plays the more defenses will have to focus on stopping himself, Cooper, and Gallup. What does that do? The Cowboys won't face as many eight or nine-man fronts which will give All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott the opportunity to wear down opposing defenses by playing ball control, which is the Cowboys bread and butter.
Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come from Cobb as the playoff push heats up. If he can continue to build chemistry with Prescott it will only improve one of the NFL's best passing offenses while simultaneously increasing Elliott's ability to be effective by taking extra defenders away from the box. Will Cobb make this a regular occurrence for the rest of the season? Only time will tell.
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