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#DALvsNYG: 5 Cowboys Who Need A Big Game

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - #DALvsNYG: 5 Cowboys Who Need A Big Game

The Dallas Cowboys are now just a little over 24 hours away from kicking off their 2016 season against the division rival New York Giants.

I don't know about you, but watching the Denver Broncos narrowly escape the Carolina Panthers Thursday night really has me excited to finally see the Cowboys in action once again.

If you happened to watch the the game Thursday night and how it came down to the final seconds, I think you are fully prepared for what we will see between the Cowboys and Giants Sunday afternoon.

The Dallas Cowboys have won five out of the last six meetings with the Giants, but if they want to continue that streak they will need some of their players to have really good individual games.

Below are the Cowboys players that I think need to have big games against the New York Giants Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.

Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys Vs Giants: Who Has Better Chance Of Winning? 1Okay, I cheated a little here and decided to put Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott together. My reasoning is that both players really need to have a big game against the New York Giants Sunday afternoon in order for the Dallas Cowboys to come away with a victory.

There are no two skill players on offense that touch the ball as much as the quarterback and running back, thus the need for them both to show up.

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean they have to put up huge statistical numbers. They just need to do their jobs and not make any rookie mental mistakes.

There is a lot of optimism heading into the 2016 season by Dallas Cowboys fans (myself included) and I believe it's because of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

Of course, there are others whose opinions might carry more weight than mine and they also believe Cowboys fans have a reason to be excited as a well.

NFL on ESPN on Twitter

They may both be rookies, but the Cowboys have reasons to be excited about their new backfield. https://t.co/fXZEdcQBby

Dez Bryant

Cowboys Headlines - 5 Offensive Players To Watch In Training Camp

(AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

I personally think it would be wise for the Cowboys coaching staff to get Dez Bryant the ball early and often in this game. I think that would set the tone and let the Giants know that he is back to 100%, because we all know that Bryant is the emotional and inspirational leader for the team.

Some people believe being successful in the running game opens up the passing game, but I personally think that it works both ways.

On any given play opposing defenses have to account for Bryant wherever he is on the field. If he is able to force the Giants into double covering him, then that results one less defender they can put in the box to stop the running game.

Like I mentioned with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, Bryant doesn't need to necessarily show up big in the stat sheets. He just needs to make his presence felt on the field to keep the Giants defense honest.

Sean Lee

Cowboys Blog - Sean Lee: Comeback Player Of The Year? 1Without a doubt the Dallas Cowboys best defensive player is Sean Lee when he is able to stay healthy. He is one player that needs to show up in the stat sheets by having a big game.

He was moved to the weak side linebacker position to help keep him healthy and give him the opportunity to use his instincts and playmaking ability. It's those instincts and playmaking ability that need to show up against the Giants.

In all honesty, I think Sean Lee could very well have double digit tackles and a good chance of creating a turnover or two.

The Cowboys defense can use all the turnovers they can get and I think Sean Lee gives them the best chance of doing just that.

David Irving

 - David Irving, #95The Dallas Cowboys have Jack Crawford and Benson Mayowa listed as their starters at defensive end, but it's David Irving that I think needs to have a big game.

Irving was one of the best defensive players for the Cowboys last season. All he did was make plays when he was given the opportunity and should do so again in 2016 now that he is expected to have an expanded role.

Whether he is lined up at defensive tackle or defensive end doesn't really matter. He is a mismatch problem for opposing offensive lineman because of his ability to get off the ball quickly and use his 6'7" frame to his advantage.

I fully expect to see defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli use David Irving up and down the defensive line Sunday afternoon against the Giants to wreak havoc on the Eli Manning led Giants offense.

Don't be surprised if David Irving's name is mentioned often because I think he will be making positive plays all of the field against the New York Giants.

Defensive Secondary

Cowboys Headlines - Morris Claiborne Doing The "Right" Things At Training CampThe Dallas Cowboys secondary has a tough test ahead of them trying to keep the New York Giants wide receivers in check.

Yeah I know, I cheated a little bit here too.

Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr, and Morris Claiborne are all linked together because identifying them as individuals would be unfair. They will likely all have their turn at covering each of the Giants WRs.

Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard can all create mismatch problems for the Cowboys secondary and this matchup could ultimately determine the outcome of the game.

Beckham has established himself as one of the best WRs in the NFL already. Cruz gave the Cowboys problems in the past and if 100% healthy could do so again. Shepard is an unknown in the NFL as a rookie, but for some reason he worries me the most.

The Dallas Cowboys secondary has to have a good game to help ensure a victory.

Do you agree or disagree that these players need big games?

Please feel free to take advantage of the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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6 Comments
  • Joseph

    It will come down to the last two minutes of the game!!! Bailey kicks a 53 harder to win

    • Brian Martin

      Joseph, I completely agree with you. It seems to always come down to the last minutes of the game when the Cowboys and Giants play each other.

  • John Williams

    The most obvious “big game” needed is Dak. He is going to set the tone for the whole day. I think if he completes about 60% of his passes and has like 2 tds and only 1 turnover, i think that should be enough to win.

    • Brian Martin

      I agree that Prescott is the one that needs to have the biggest game against the Giants. I can’t wait to see what he does with both his arm and his legs. He really changes the whole dynamic of what the Cowboys offense could look like.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/968332473288913/ Zooid Organelle

    Giants will sell out to stop the running game, ‘forcing’ Dax to pass to single-covered receivers… Huge days for any and all Dallas receivers: Dez (yds and TDs), Beasley (catches), Witten (catches), Butler (yds), TWill (yds).

    The game will essentially be over midway through the 3rd quarter; but, Giants will have at least tried to staunch the bleeding by playing a Safety or two over the top of their defense… and then Elliott (who will have had a nice game by that point, regardless Giants’ attempts to stop him) runs amok, Morris gets untracked with a long TD run, and by mid-4th it’s Jackson’s turn to make the throughly demoralized Giants’ defense look feeble…

    Garrett tries to take his foot off the pedal midway before the start of the 4th quarter; but with only 1-week signee Sanchez to back up Prescott… Cowboys by 4 TDs

    • Brian Martin

      Zooid, I hope you’re right. That would really set the tone for the entire season if the Cowboys can come out and beat the Giants by four touchdowns. I don’t really see that as the way things play out. I think it’s going to be a much closer game, much like we saw between the Broncos and Panthers. I think it ultimately comes down to a field goal in the end.

Game Notes

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady

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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

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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

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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 Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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