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Dallas Cowboys Film Analysis: Grading the Offensive Line in the NFC East Championship



Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Film Analysis: Grading the Offensive Line in the NFC East Championship 5

Analyst: Todd Werley @TWerley62 (Due to issues with Word Press, Todd wasn't able to "post" this article but did all authoring/analysis)

Game Analyzed: Week 17 @ Washington Redskins

Starters: 77, 71, 63, 73 and 68 with Parnell rotating again.

Grading system used is pretty simple. For starting OL who get every rep a bad score is anything less then 10. The 11-20 range is average and anything over 20 is exceptional play.

Going into week 17 for a playoff spot should be your best football, so I believe these grades tell the tale more then others. Before reading these grades it should be noted that the Redskins ran a base 3-4 defense that caused a lot of protection problems by sending more then front five could block.

The non-existent run game had to do with trailing most of the game but Vickers also was a big factor. I can't tell you how many times wrote "Vickers blown up by LB", so a ton of running plays were over before they started.

Overall it still wasn't a stellar day for the trenches either.

LT Tyron Smith

Smith got every snap at left tackle and besides a few missed assignments on protection was solid. Main thing with Smith is if he gets his hands on a defender the most likely won't get near the Ball Carrier. A couple times Kerrigan got underneath his pads but Smith didn't give up a sack. Blitzes confused him early but later in game he adjusted. He was the most consistent OL and will only get better with another year at left tackle.

Grade +21

LG Nate Livings

Got every snap at left guard. Livings started the game fairly strong getting push on Bowen on zone runs and had good pass protection. Livings started to struggle when Skins brought pressure. One thing about Livings is that he has a decent punch but at times waits to engage with opposing defensive lineman. He will get pushed back but can reset himself well. In the second half Bowen got the best of him several times. Livings gave up a sack in protection late in the game when the Redskins continued to blitz and confuse protection. Out of the two guards neither were great but he was the best of the two. Still think when healthy he and Smith are solid on the left side. Out of starting offensive lineman Livings is the only one who seems to possess some nastiness on film.

Grade +14

C Ryan Cook

Biggest thing you see about Cook is he is definitely a Garrett type guy. He may not look or play like a Pro-Bowler but knows what he can and cannot do. Again like I've seen in previous breakdowns he positions his body well in front of defensive lineman. He missed a twist stunt early and caused another hurry when was overpowered by Cofield. Cook had a  pancake block on Fletcher when Murray broke a long run and for most part was solid. Great Depth/Backup guy moving forward if Dallas doesn't add a center and Costa can stay healthy.

Grade + 17

RG Mackenzy Bernadeau

Got every rep at right guard. Like I saw with analysis of the Steelers game,  its easy to see which position needs to be upgraded the most. For most of the game in pass protection 73 looks like he is on skates. Too many times has he has no punch and is being overpowered where Romo cannot extend his arm or follow through. Ball came out fluttering at least once because of Bernadeau getting beat. This is a recurring thing with Bernadeau, saw that many times in Steelers game as well.  In both games Bernadeau graded the lowest of 6 offensive lineman evaluated.

Grade +9

RT Doug Free

Rotated with Parnell but Free started and finished game at right tackle. Not sure if a light came on or if the rotation helped him but at the end of season Free was not nearly as bad as the first 8 games. Free showed good seal blocks to spark Murray on a few long runs and pass protection wasn't bad. Gave up two hurries but no sacks. The majority of the pressure on Romo came because of the interior offensive line and a few because Skins had more rushers than Cowboys had blocking.

Grade with split reps +10

RT Jeremy Parnell

Parnell got five series but a few were cut short because of turnovers. He appeared to be good in pass protection. Although he plays high at times, when he gets his body on defensive linemen he usually gets them moving. If he continues to progress I believe he can develop into a starting right tackle if the Cowboys don't draft one. From what I saw in two games evaluated  it wouldn't be as tragic as some think if Free took a pay cut and Parnell wins starting right tackle spot.

Grade with Split reps +10

Everyone breaks down film their own way.  I believe that my way is an accurate representation of these players ability.  If you disagree, let me know what you think! To each their own!

Check in every Sunday for film analysis by Todd Werley. 

Former Sports Writer. Veteran. Serving veterans is my passion. Johns Hopkins Student. Enjoy Discussing Politics and sports!

Game Notes

#SEAvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Wishlist Christmas Edition: Seahawks @ Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys found a way to get their first win last Sunday, defeating the New York Giants from start to finish, 20-13.

Now at 1-1 and locked in a three way tie for 1st place in the NFC East, Dallas is looking to string together a few victories and create some early separation. Seattle is now sitting at 0-2, and while that's typically a hole teams cannot climb out of in the NFL, the Seahawks will be desperately fighting to avoid an 0-3 start.

The Seahawks opened up as 3 point home favorites against the Cowboys, with the over/under set at 44.5 points.

Dallas Cowboys

After an abysmal season opener against Carolina, the Cowboys came out firing against the Giants on Sunday night. Dallas led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, and ended up holding on as the Giants made a late garbage-time run.

Dak Prescott looked as comfortable in the pocket as he as in weeks, finding Tavon Austin for a 64 yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. Ezekiel Elliott scored another rushing touchdown, and the Cowboys defense was straight up dominant.

Now, the Cowboys defensive line has another chance to increase their sack total against the Seahawks' weak offensive line. And you know DeMarcus Lawrence is salivating.

Dallas improved to 1-1 straight up and against the spread, covering the 3 point spread set by Vegas a week ago. Both Cowboys games have gone under thus far as well.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks fell to 0-2 on Monday night with a tough road loss to the Chicago Bears. Khalil Mack dominated the Seahawks offensive line, dictating protections and keeping Russell Wilson uncomfortable all night long.

The Seahawks haven't been able to get much of a run game going this season, despite their insistence upon doing so. Russell Wilson is their offense, and if the Cowboys can pressure him and force him into hero-ball throws, they should have success on Sunday. After all, this was the Bears recipe for success on Monday night.

Seattle is 0-2 straight up and 0-1-1 against the spread this season.


  • The score total has gone under 5 straight Cowboys' games.
  • Dallas is 2-4 against the spread their last six times playing at Seattle.
  • Seattle is 1-5 against the spread their last six games at home.
  • The under has hit 4 of the last 5 Cowboys/Seahawks games.


While I've thought hard about picking the under for the third straight week (I'm 2-0 doing so), I'll pick the actual game for you guys this time. I think the Cowboys will get this road win and improve to 2-1 behind dominant defensive line play and a strong running game.

This match up favors Dallas in multiple ways and I expect them to take advantage of Seattle's weak spots.

I like the Cowboys +3 a lot this Sunday.

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Dallas Cowboys

Kris Richard, the Cowboys X-Factor Against the Seahawks

Brian Martin



Top 5 Storylines to Watch in Cowboys 2018 Season Opener 1
(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

In the NFL, wins are hard to come by. That is why teams do their due diligence each and every week to try to come up with some advantage, however slight. This week, the Dallas Cowboys may have the biggest advantage they could possibly hope for over their opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, and he goes by the name of Kris Richard.

The hiring of Kris Richard may have been Dallas' biggest offseason move. We have already seen in the first couple of games of the 2018 season the impact he's had on the Cowboys defense. The entire defensive unit has been playing possessed and has pretty much dominated their opponents. I believe Richard deserves the majority of the credit.

But this week is different. The Dallas Cowboys travel to Seattle for a Sunday afternoon game against the Seahawks, who are a tough opponent when playing at home. History hasn't always been kind to the Cowboys when playing on the road in Seattle.

In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Tony Romo doesn't still have nightmares about playing in Seattle. A mishandled snap on a routine 19 yard field goal attempt ended up costing the Cowboys a playoff victory in 2007. Then he sustained the back injury that would ultimately end his career in a meaningless preseason game against the Seahawks in 2016.

To say history hasn't been kind to the Cowboys in Seattle would probably be an understatement. But still, that's where they're heading for this Week 3 matchup.

Kris Richard

Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coach Kris Richard

Luckily, I believe the Dallas Cowboys have an ace in the hole in 2018. I think their new Passing Game Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach, Kris Richard, is going to be the X-Factor. Who could give you more inside information than someone who spent the last eight years with Seattle as both a coach and a player than Richard?

Kris Richard should know just about all of the ins and outs about the Seattle Seahawks, especially on the defensive side of the ball since he served as their Defensive Coordinator the previous two seasons before joining the Cowboys. But, his knowledge of their offense could prove to be invaluable as well.

Richard has seen the Seahawks offense and Russell Wilson on a daily basis in practice firsthand. He should have a very good understanding of not only their tendencies, but what types of plays they run out of different formations. It should be just like having a spy within their own huddle.

Now, having inside information is one thing, but executing the game plan is something different entirely. Kris Richard can possibly predict with high probability exactly what the Seahawks plan on doing, but it falls on the Cowboys players as to execute the game plan.

In the end, this game will ultimately come down to which team executes better on the field Sunday afternoon. The Dallas Cowboys may have an X-Factor in Kris Richard, but he's not the one suiting up against the Seahawks. It all falls on the player's shoulders, as it always has.

Do you think Kris Richard can be the Cowboys X-Factor against the Seahawks?

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Reunion with WR Brice Butler Makes No Sense

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Does Brice Butler Deserve A Bigger Offensive Role?

The Dallas Cowboys have brought back Wide Receiver Brice Butler, who was with the team from 2015-2017. The reunion is a head-scratching move given the team's current stockpile of receivers, and especially given Butler's lack of impact during his previous run in Dallas.

There's no question that Dallas could use some more juice in the passing game. So far the post-Witten, post-Bryant era has only seen 165 yards-per-game out of Dak Prescott and his current receiving options.

I can understand the Cowboys getting antsy about this low production. I can understand the feeling that waiting for chemistry to develop between Dak and new faces like Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup, or any one of these young tight ends, could be damaging to the season.

But when you need a spark in the offense, it seems odd to turn to a guy who was in your system for three years and never had a huge game.

Let's just look at Butler's top five statistical performances as a Cowboy:

  • 5 catches, 41 yards, 1 touchdown (Week 4, 2016)
  • 2 catches, 90 yards, 1 touchdown (Week 3, 2017)
  • 2 catches, 50 yards, 1 touchdown (Week 17, 2017)
  • 4 catches, 74 yards (Week 16, 2015)
  • 4 catches, 60 yards (Week 17, 2015)

No games with over 100 yards. No games with more than five catches. No games with more than one touchdown.

I'm not trying to slam Brice here. He is what he is. This is all about trying to understand the logic of the Cowboys' front office in making this move.

Cowboys Blog - Terrance Williams Tuesday: #TWillTuesday 2

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

If the idea was to bring in a guy who Dak Prescott had more familiarity with, then why not give Terrance Williams more playing time? He's already on the roster and buried on the depth chart, getting the fewest snaps of all the WRs last week.

If you've followed my work for long, you know I'm no fan of Williams. But even I can admit that he's been more productive and effective in this offense than Brice Butler ever was.

If you're bringing in Butler to be a vertical threat, isn't that what you signed veteran Deonte Thompson for? Last year, playing for two different teams with shaky QB situations, Thompson had 38 catches for 555 yards. Brice hasn't had a single season close to that.

What about Tavon Austin? Just three days ago, Austin had a 64-yard touchdown. Did we really need another guy for field stretching? And even if so, what in Butler's history indicates he can do something that Thompson or Austin can't?

Don't forget about Hurns, Gallup, or Cole Beasley either. They're not vertical receivers, but they're still the top three guys in the offense.

If you're a Brice Butler fan, you've likely argued that his lack of production in Dallas was from a lack of opportunities. That may be true, but how has that changed in 2018? There are more mouths to feed than ever at WR.

What is Butler going to do now, that he didn't for three years, to earn more looks?

Should The Cowboys Consider Adding Troubled WR Josh Gordon?

Former Browns WR Josh Gordon, now with the Patriots

If Dallas was really concerned about adding an offensive spark, the opportunity was out there this week with Josh Gordon. The Patriots got him for a conditional 5th-round pick from Cleveland just yesterday.

I can understand why Dallas, given recent issues with Randy Gregory and David Irving, were reluctant to add a player with such a notorious history of substance abuse. But if the no-nonsense Patriots were willing to give him a shot, why not the far more liberal Cowboys?

If Gordon was one problem child too many, what about Jordan Matthews? The former 2nd-round pick is still just 26 (Butler is 28) and had over 800 yards in each year from 2014-2016. He had a down year in Buffalo in 2017, as anyone would, and then didn't make the Patriots squad this year due to an injury.

Whether it's on your own roster or out in the open market, there seem to be profitable options than Brice Butler. The chance for him to be the next Laurent Robinson came and went; the same QB and the same Offensive Coordinator are here.

Is there really some juice left to squeeze here?

There's an old saying that, "if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have any." I think the same logic applies to having seven wide receivers. There was already a logjam, and Dallas didn't even cut one of them to make room for Butler.

So yeah, I don't get it. I'm perplexed why they added anyone at all, this early in the year, while their current receivers are all healthy and still trying to find their role in the offense.

And if the Cowboys really felt that had to make a move, why the heck did they bring back this guy?

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