Connect with us

Game Notes

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

Brian Martin



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?

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.

  • 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

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady



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

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

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

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

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

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

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.

Continue Reading

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game

Mauricio Rodriguez



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!

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

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.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

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

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

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.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

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

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

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.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

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.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

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!

Continue Reading

Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win

Sean Martin



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.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

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, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Continue Reading

Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here