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Game Notes

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against Broncos

Brian Martin

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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against Broncos

The Dallas Cowboys first road game of the 2017 season didn’t exactly pan out the way they had hoped. The Cowboys were handed their first defeat of the season at the hands of a dominant Denver Broncos team with a final score 42-17. Dallas will have to quickly compose themselves because they will be on the road once again next week when they travel to take on the Arizona Cardinals for Monday Night Football.

To say that the Denver Broncos dominated all three phases of the game would be an understatement. Offensively, defensively, and special teams for the Cowboys just looked off-kilter the entire game and it was just an all-around poor performance, especially from a team with so much talent.

Unfortunately, not everything can be sunshine and unicorns week in and week out for the Dallas Cowboys, but I don’t expect them to be down long. I think we’ll see a bounce back performance against the Cardinals next week, at least I hope so.

Having said all that, let’s dive into this week’s edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. As always, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of the article to voice and of your thoughts and opinions on the topic.

The Good

There wasn’t a lot of good for the Dallas Cowboys against Denver Broncos. But, if you’re looking for the lone bright spot, it has to be DeMarcus Lawrence’s performance. Lawrence might just be the one player for the entire Dallas Cowboys team that showed up in Denver to play.

DeMarcus Lawrence opened the season against the New York Giants with a 5 tackle, 2 QB sack performance and followed that up with another 5 tackle, 2 sacks, and one forced fumble game against the Broncos. Lawrence is finally healthy and playing like a man possessed. It’s probably no coincidence that he’s in a contract year, but I think he is probably the only player that really showed up against Denver Sunday afternoon.

CB Nolan Carroll

CB Nolan Carroll

The Bad

I hate to kick a man when he’s down, but Nolan Carroll was being picked on early and often Sunday afternoon by the Broncos offense. It was obvious the Broncos were targeting him and the best thing that might have happened to him was the injury. It’s a harsh thing to say, but probably true.

I don’t know about you, but I think Carroll is one of the worst CBs currently on the Cowboys roster. I think the only reason he still remains a starter is because the young CBs have struggled with injuries early in the season, which has slowed their development. Hopefully, Orlando Scandrick can return next week and Chidobe Awuzie can get healthy and take over.

S Jeff Heath

S Jeff Heath

The Ugly

I started to put this in the bad category, but obviously went a different direction. I think the ugly Sunday afternoon for the Dallas Cowboys was their tackling on defense. There were several instances where they had a chance for a tackle for loss or a tackle for a short gain, but they let the offensive players slip through their fingers.

C.J. Anderson is the first 100 yard rusher the Dallas Cowboys defense has allowed since Alfred Morris in 2015. Anderson was simply running through the arm tackles and having Cowboys defenders bounce off of him the entire game. The Dallas Cowboys absolutely to have to clean up their tackling and I’m sure defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will be on their case after watching film from the Broncos game.

What is your Good, Bad, and Ugly for the Cowboys against the Broncos?

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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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16 Comments
  • Bryan Case

    That was a bad a performance as I can remember from this team. They should all be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for the way they played yesterday. No discipline, seeming lack of energy. They looked confused in all areas of the game. Nolan Carroll should never line up for us again. He is terrible. If I have to watch our secondary get torched, I would just assume it be the kids with a chance to grow in the future. This game was a total embarrassment for all involved, players, coaches, etc…. I am getting just a bit tired of hearing what a guru Marinelli is supposed to be defensively, cause the “coach em up” process is looking pretty tired.

    • Brian Martin

      If they’re not ashamed of their performance, I certainly am. It was tough to watch. They can afford to play like that again this season. They have a tough schedule this year and need to be prepared each and every week. Hopefully they can bounce back against the Cardinals Monday night.

  • Corey

    Well lets talk about the problems with Dallas. The problem starts with Jerry and Stephen Jones. Jerry Jones thinks he knows what he is doing being GM and he still doesn’t have a clue how to do it. Stephen Jones is a penny pincher. He wants something for nothing. Dallas had a chance to add CB Joe Haden and S T.J. Ward and passed on both. One of these guys would have helped the Cowboys secondary immensely, but as usual Jerry and Stephen sat back and watched them sign else where. This story is going to repeat itself this year because Dallas has not done enough to improve this secondary. Jerry and Stephen need to open the check book and get this secondary some help real fast. As for Jason Garrett throwing Prescott under the bus for this loss it B.S. Maybe if Garrett knew how to coach it would be different, but Garrett sucks at being a HC and he always has. He is Jerry Jones “yes man” and that is the only reason Garrett still has his job. The whole organization is to blame for this disgrace, not just one guy. Prescott is ten times the QB Garrett ever was in my opinion. I have just lost a great deal of respect for this team’s management when they put the blame for this loss squarely on one guy.

    • Brian Martin

      I was in agreement with them passing on Joe Haden and TJ Ward. Both players are in their decline and it’s obvious. I heard that Jason Garrett threw Prescott under the bus, but I wasn’t interested in hearing anything they said after their performance. The Cowboys have done a next job building a really good roster. Unfortunately, they just didn’t show up to play against the Broncos. It’s as simple as that.

      • Rishie Cavalera

        They have an awesome roster at offense. The defense has really mediocre players (besides Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith) that haven’t raised their level, the scheme of Marinelli hasn’t worked well while being in Dallas. So basically the boys are trying to win every game by scoring a lot of points and keeping the defense out of the field. It is not that easy whenever they face a first level defense. And if they have a mediocre offense they will beat us like last night.

        • Brian Martin

          The defense isn’t terrible. They are in the midst of a rebuild and have a lot of inexperience on the defensive side of the ball. The Broncos game is going to get blown out of proportion, but nobody really showed up to play for the Cowboys. I am expecting a bounce back game against the Cardinals next Monday from everybody.

    • Russ_Te

      Very little of the problem yesterday was from Dak IMO, except that bonehead throw on the goal line late that went pick 6. The game was over by that point anyway.

      Garrett and Linehan – knew – that Denver would load up the box in an attempt to stop Elliott. They did go spread set to start the game, but then on the few chances they had to run, they played right into it by running between the tackles.

      Aikman has said on broadcasts that his teams faced 8 fronts all the time, and they went at them. But circumstances here said you needed to change up. Denver was determined to stuff Elliott, and if that team gets that on you at home in the 1st quarter, the place explodes. They all feed off it. Now you are in long downs against a very good pass defense.

      Linehan acts like Elliott cannot beat defenders to the edge. Nonsense. You come in to that game with multiple pitch & stretch plays, and you keep attacking it. You activate McFadden and give him a few attempts with it, after Elliott made Denver run side to side. Much better than what they did.

      They got lucky with the rain delay – free halftime – made no adjustments in offensive strategy.

      Garrett, looked like the coach of old… ;^)

      • Brian Martin

        Russ, I agree with everything you said. I was also add that I would’ve liked to seen Elliott being utilized in the passing game to get the ball in his hands. Just little dump off passes or have him slip the line to keep the Broncos defense honest. It was a peculiar coaching attempt by the Cowboys staff. Hopefully they will just all learn from it and be able to move on though.

        • Russ_Te

          I feel it’s more of an aberration than a defensive blueprint outing also. In short, they have speed and game breakers on offense, and fans want to see flexibility and range in how that is used week to week.

          I also think that teams expecting playoff berths, hold some of their repertoire back until the stretch run. All very well, but not worth absorbing an avoidable L for.

          And the OL gets a big ding IMO. Facing 8 on the road, should reduce run yardage from 5 to 4 or 3 per, not to zero. They got whipped by defenders who wanted it more. I also expect that will not be a pattern, they are prideful and will reset.

          There is probably also a cohesion issue for 8 to 10 games, as Collins and Green work in to their jobs.

          • Brian Martin

            I think it’s also important to remember that the Dallas Cowboys played pretty poorly in the first two games last season as well before they got things together. I’m pretty sure that they will bounce back this week against the Cardinals

  • Daniel Bollman

    One thing they could do is find out what shoes grip on that grass in Denver. So many players slipping and falling. Another thing they need to do is throw the slant like Aikman and Irvin used to do. I realize the first int was a slant but Dez has to catch that ball. He was open and he needs to make cb’s come up to defend that so he can run by them to get open on passes down field. The online had their pride stepped on yesterday, but they should come back strong and the defense has to tackle better. Hopefully this is just a wake-up call

    • Brian Martin

      Great observations Daniel. I agree with everything you said.

  • Russ_Te

    Lawrence looks a little heavier to me, with no loss in agility. It appears he has found the right weight to give him a good combo of quicks and power. That bull rush yesterday that caused the fumble, marvelous.

    So now you really have an overload of LDE’s. Lawrence is making a case that it is his job. Do you want to screw with that by moving him back to RDE? If not, does that put Irving mostly at LDT? What about if Taco gets nothing done at RDE? They have too many LDE’s.

    Meanwhile, if there is a RDE it might be Tapper. Or they also get Moore back now, who was big in preseason. Collins – invisible yesterday, except he scooped up (then fumbled), the fumble that Lawrence caused. Need to fall on that.

    Grenade from the Aggrieved ~ Shop Lawrence, right now. He’s at his highest value… ;^)

    • Brian Martin

      It’s doubtful that the Cowboys trade any of their pass rushers. I think we will see Lawrence at LDE, Collins and Paea at DT, and possibly Moore at RDE. Then once Irving returns you can play him all across the DL to find the best mismatch. Could be next to Lawrence at the 3-tech with Collins at the 1-tech or at either DE position. It’s a good problem to have, but hopefully they can find the right combination.

  • TreFKennedy88

    Total team failure, I was searching for the best o line in the NFL yesterday, 2nd, Dak and Dez really have to get on the same page, 3rd Dez needs to work with a route running specialist or something because outside of slants and fade’s what other routes does/ can he run?? Dez is my favorite wr so I’m pulling for him.

    • Brian Martin

      Prescott and Bryant weren’t really the problem. Yes, they can work on their bond more, but they have faced some pretty good secondaries to start on the 2017 season. Unfortunately, probably not going to see him run a lot of different routes. Those are the ones he’s most comfortable with and the ones Scott Linehan keeps calling. I don’t like all the 50/50 passes thrown his way. You need some easy completions to get him going.

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys headed to New York a couple of days ago with a mission: survive a potential trap game versus a 2-10 New York Giants team. Despite not getting most of the help they needed from other teams around the league, at least Dallas was able to do the job they could control.

Through three quarters, the Cowboys struggled a lot. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when they decided to have a touchdown party, outscoring the Giants 20-0 in the final eight minutes of the game.

What did we learn from the Cowboys’ seventh win of the season? Here is this week’s edition of Takeaway Tuesday! 

Dak Prescott Bounced Back

Although the Cowboys are a team that’s barely breathing in the playoff race, the truth is there’re a lot of ways that Dak has improved as a QB. It’s easy to look at a team lose football games and blame the QB without hesitating. That’s been the case most of the season.

It’s fair to say that Prescott hadn’t had an awesome game in a long time, though. But this time, he did just that.

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

Dak Prescott needed a performance like this one. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns last Sunday. He made some key throws and key reads during the game and managed to beat the Giants’ blitz with ease. Glad to see you hush the haters, 4.

Certainly a good thing to see when you need to go 3-0 in order to stay in the postseason conversation.

Concerns Around Dez Bryant Continue to Increase

Listen, I love Dez Bryant. He’s been one of my favorite players to ever watch. But at some point, you have to start admitting there is a problem. Yes, Dez Bryant has been struggling this season. Whether you want to blame Dak or Dez about it, it’s fair. I think they both are to blame.

The thing about Dez is that he can have quite a few bad plays and makes you forget about it when he  does something awesome. A perfect example of this is his 50-yard TD against the Giants last Sunday. It came at a perfect moment, but he had dropped some easy balls earlier in the game.

Dez – Streamable

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Dez is getting paid like an elite WR, and despite some great moments on the field, he’s been having a lot of bad ones lately. If you have a $70M contract, you can’t frequently drop passes like that.

It may be about chemistry with his new QB, it may be about age, or it may be just about a couple of bad years for the guy. Whatever it is, as much as we hate to say it, Dez isn’t anywhere close to the “top receivers” conversation this year.

Sean Lee Proved to be Invaluable Once Again

Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?I’m constantly amazed by the difference the Cowboys’ veteran linebacker makes when he’s on the field. In his heroic return against the Giants, he finished the day with 18 total tackles, 10 of which were solo. With Sean Lee on the field, this defense has been able to be a headache for opposing offenses.

Sean Lee could easily be this team’s MVP. For Cowboys Nation, it’s been a season of constantly missing football players in Dallas. Out of everyone, I think Sean Lee is the player we missed the most. Including Ezekiel Elliott.

This defense transforms into a very capable one with Lee around. The Cowboys need Zeke back if they want to have success in their hunt for the playoffs, but without Lee, they wouldn’t stand a chance.

Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis Are Still Killing It

Coming into this game, one of the biggest question marks was the cornerback position for Dallas. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis were going to get the start, and there’s always uncertainty around rookies going up against a QB like Eli Manning.

lewis – Streamable

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Look at that coverage by Jourdan Lewis. Look at him turn his head around when the ball’s coming. The way this secondary will grow is exciting to think about. The Cowboys have something special in these two guys. They’ll make for an amazing CB duo for years to come, and I’m excited about what they bring to the table.

Chidobe Awuzie has played the last two games, and he’s been very impressive. Throughout the entire game, his converge was pretty impressive. Eli only targeted him 5 times in the ballgame and was able to complete just two passes against him.

Sean Lee ended up with the interception late in the fourth quarter, but it was perfectly set up by Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie – Streamable

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It was a very fun fourth quarter for the Dallas Cowboys, and even though it looks difficult… this football team’s playoff hopes are still alive. Jason Garrett must keep this team focused in the Oakland Raiders for now, though.

Hope dies last, Cowboys Nation. Keep your head up.

Tell me what you think about “Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant” 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

Forget Elliott For Now, Cowboys Must Focus On Raiders

Kevin Brady

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Despite looking dead to rights just two weeks ago, back to back wins have put the Dallas Cowboys into the playoff hunt with just three games remaining.

In order to even have a chance at sneaking in as the sixth seed, Dallas will need to win each of its remaining games to finish 10-6. In some ways, the playoffs started two weeks ago when Dallas took on the Washington Redskins. But even though this Sunday’s contest is another must-win, elimination game for the Cowboys, it’s also a classic “trap” or “look ahead” game as well.

Before the season started, most expected the Oakland Raiders to be competing for AFC supremacy. Like the Cowboys, Oakland bursted onto the scene in 2016 with a young quarterback, a dynamic offense, and an exciting roster. But, like the Cowboys, they have faltered a bit this season due to underperforming stars, injuries, and a somewhat undermanned defensive unit.

The Raiders are now 6-7, and while still alive in the AFC West race, saw their best shot at overtaking the division go up in a smoke last Sunday as they were demolished by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Simply put, the Raiders are not a very good football team right now. And though this will be a road game for the Cowboys, it is one they should win if they are truly a playoff team. In fact, it’s one they have to win if they want to keep their slim playoff chances alive.

The reason why this could potentially be a “trap” game of sorts is who the Cowboys are scheduled to play after traveling to Oakland. A team who has been a perennial playoff contender in the NFC, and a team directly in front of the Cowboys in the current NFC standings – the Seattle Seahawks.

Not only will that Seattle game be massively important to the Cowboys if they can sneak out of Oakland with a victory, it will also feature the return of star running back Ezekiel Elliott from his six game suspension.

December 24th will be a huge day in Dallas if the Cowboys can get to 8-6 this week, but they can ill-afford to look ahead to that potentially important showdown with the Seahawks. Because if they do and the Raiders upset them at the home in primetime, the Cowboys season will end before Elliott even gets the chance to come back.

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Game Notes

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants’ Blitz

Kevin Brady

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Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

While much of Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants featured some ugly football from the Dallas Cowboys, the team continued to fight until completing a 20 point route of their division rivals.

Of course, stars emerged on both the offense and the defense throughout the game. Rod Smith had a breakout day, Dez Bryant made a couple of “vintage” plays, and Sean Lee returned to health and led the defense to a fantastic performance.

But as we all know, quarterbacks make the world go ’round. And no matter how great the other pieces play, it’s hard to win football games unless you can maintain high level quarterback play.

Dak Prescott returned to that high level against the Giants on Sunday.

Even if Prescott is missing throws or having accuracy issues, he had never lost his composure or made the wrong reads until that Atlanta Falcons debacle. I really believe that Dak lost faith in his protection, began abandoning clean pockets, and ended up having a few bad games in a row.

All seems right with Prescott now, as he threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns during the Cowboys’ big win. The area he was most impressive, was with those reads – specifically against the blitz.

dalvsnyg dak to dez td – Streamable

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On his first touchdown pass of the game, Dak Prescott beats the blitz perfectly. Just before snapping the ball, Prescott notices the safety roll down into the box. You can see him subtly move his arm to point out the safety, while calling it out to his linemen as well.

As soon as he gets the snap, Dak knows exactly where to go. The Giants tried to beat him with a delayed safety blitz, but once that safety comes, Prescott knows he has Dez Bryant in man coverage on the perimeter.

His eyes immediately snap that way, and his throw replaces the blitzer quickly. This allows Bryant to do the rest, and the Cowboys to tie the game.

dalvsnyg 17 cole beasley – Streamable

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Later in the game we see more of the same from Dak Prescott. With the game tied at 10 the Cowboys faced a critical third down backed up in their own territory. The Giants once again show blitz, bring the  blitz, and Dak burns them for it.

The Giants show man coverage across the board pre-snap, with safety Landon Collins on the near hash. Cole Beasley is in the near-slot, and while he technically has a man over him directly, the Giants show 2-over-1 in the slot pre-snap. This usually tips off a blitz, as the Giants plan to bring their slot defender off the edge, and allow Landon Collins to cover Beasley one on one.

Prescott notices this pre-snap once again, and makes the defense pay. He quickly replaces the blitzer with his throw, allowing Beasley to make the easy catch underneath and then do the rest after the catch.

This may not seem all the difficult to do to those analyzing the game the next morning, but these reads indicate high level quarterback-ing from the Cowboys’ franchise leader, Dak Prescott.

Last season against the Giants, their defense was able to bring more than the Cowboys could block on key third downs a few times. Too often, Prescott and the passing offense could not beat those blitzes.

That was not the case this week at all.

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