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Game Notes

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

Brian Martin



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

All of Cowboys Nation is probably riding on a high right now after the impressive performance of Dallas Cowboys were able to put together against a talented Kansas City Chiefs team. Not many people gave the Cowboys a chance to win this game, but they were able to come away with a 28-17 victory at home and improve their record to 5-3.

This is one of those games that the Dallas Cowboys needed to win. Kansas City is considered to be one of the top teams in the league, and now the Cowboys are in that same conversation as well. It took a team effort, but that is why football is the ultimate team sport.

I honestly can't tell you how excited I am that the Dallas Cowboys pulled off this victory. But, before I get too far off topic, let's jump into this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly for the Cowboys against the Chiefs. As always, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of the article to share your own thoughts and opinions on this topic.

LB Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

The Good

There were just so many different ways I could have gone this week to identify the good for the Dallas Cowboys against the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday afternoon. There was Dak Prescott accounting for three touchdowns, Cole Beasley's two TD performance, or even Terrance Williams' 141 yard day. But, I think the Dallas Cowboys defense has earned the good spot this week.

From the start of the game the Dallas Cowboys defense showed something they really haven't shown the entire season… an attitude. They came out and were flying all over the field making tackles. They held the league's leading rusher, Kareem Hunt, to just 37 rushing yards and pretty much held Alex Smith in check as well. In fact, the Cowboys were the first team to intercept a pass off of Smith this season.

The Cowboys defense continues to get better week after week and they did an outstanding job against the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday afternoon. Well, if you subtract the pitiful attempt to tackle Tyreek Hill right before halftime. This is the kind of performance we need from the Dallas Cowboys defense going forward.

WR Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

The Bad

Even though a lot of us are riding on a high right now from the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, there could be some bad news coming out of this matchup. The Cowboys had several players injured in this game, and unfortunately nearly all of them play key roles. That is absolutely the bad this week.

Tyron Smith had to leave the game and be replaced by Chaz Green. At this time there hasn't been any kind of announcement of what type of injury he sustained, but it is deeply concerning. Dez Bryant was also injured and didn't return. The word is he has an ankle sprain, but the severity of it is unknown. Terrance Williams looked to have also injured his ankle at the end of the game, which isn't very good news for the depth at the WR position. Sticking with depleted depth at a position, Brian Price is an undervalued member at DT and his injury could end up being a huge loss.

We are just going to have to hope that none of these injuries are serious, but it is without a doubt the bad for this week.

S Byron Jones

Dallas Cowboys S Byron Jones

The Ugly

I honestly hate to single out Byron Jones because of all of the flak he receives from a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans, but Saturday afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs was probably his worst performance as a pro. That is why he finds himself in the ugly category this week.

Unfortunately, the boneheaded penalty Byron Jones received for hitting a player out of bounds set the Chiefs up in good field position with 13 seconds left on the clock right before halftime. The Chiefs were able to capitalize on that and get Tyreek Hill in the end zone. If Jones doesn't get that personal foul penalty, the Chiefs offense likely just kneels the ball to let the clock run out before halftime.

Byron Jones was also on the wrong end of the Travis Kelce touchdown. Jones is a really good cover safety, but Kelce made it look way too easy. This will hopefully be a forgettable game by Jones, because he's far too talented to play like this. Hopefully, this will be a thing of the past.

What is your good, bad, and ugly for Cowboys against Chiefs?

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.

  • Russ_Te

    Irving got a sack, Taco looked good on his, and Lawrence was disruptive. They seem to know to leave Lawrence mostly at LDE and set Irving up inside, and there might be some kind of synergy now with both getting consistent penetration. If Collins can turn a corner by the stretch run, this could turn into a withering DL.

    Most readers do not remember the fabled Cowboys DL of the 1970’s – Harvey Martin, Randy White, John Dutton and Ed “Too Tall” Jones. It’s something special when you have that kind of talent side by side on that unit, and it can dictate to offenses and change games by itself.

    So I agree that the D was a key yesterday. Lee led the team with 8 tackles, as it should be. I don’t see any issue now with the hamstring or whatever exact injury he had.

    I think I see Dak holding the ball too long, and also forcing it to covered receivers, more than what he did last year (which was almost none at all). If there is anything to that, then Linehan already knows it and they are addressing it. I would not consider it, as it is, as regression but rather a chance to nip bad tendencies in the bud. He remains the guy with poise and moxy who finds ways to make plays. It might not be a graph straight upward, but Prescott is on his way to elite QB stature over the next few years.

    Beasley came alive in this game with the 2 TD’s. He made great plays on both of them.
    Not a peep about Gathers, but it’s a wrinkle to bring in IMO for the stretch run.

    • Brian Martin

      I’m really liking what I see out of the Cowboys DL these last few games since Irving has returned from his suspension. They have been disruptive and should be a force to be reckoned with every week.

      I agree with you about Prescott. He is holding the ball a lot longer, but that’s been okay so far because his protection has been holding up. I honestly would like to see him tuck it a little more in those circumstances and pick up some positive yards, but I’m not going to change the way he plays right now. I wouldn’t want to mess things up because he’s playing at a high level.

      I don’t necessarily think Beasley finally came alive this game. He was finally targeted and responded accordingly. And, I don’t think we’re going to see Gathers this season. The Cowboys already have four TEs on the roster. I don’t think they will activate him unless there is an injury.

  • Ray Smith

    Byron is a talented player but he is not a great football player. The only reason he is not just average is that he has superior athleticism. In the last 3 years he just doesn’t show he has the IT factor.

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t disagree, but I think Byron Jones is vastly underrated for what he does for the Cowboys defense. I think he will get better as the talent around him gets better. He does a lot that goes unnoticed, but could definitely stand to improve.

  • Hobbes49

    Great game by the defense as a whole. Was very heartening to see Heath get and pick and Taco get a sack. If our defense can hold up this level of play, and our secondary continues to improve, I think this team can be the best in the NFL. Byron Jones had a bad two quarters of play, and that personal foul penalty was truly stupid, but I am inclined to give him a pass and hope to see improvement against the Falcons. Woods played a lot yesterday and maybe we will see Chido back on the field soon, and this secondary can continue to grow into a top 5 group. Seeing the pass rush we generate now on third downs is a joy to behold. Dak looked great, Zeke was strong, and it was nice to see Cole get back into a more prominent role with the offense. Witten is Witten, the O-line was strong. Dare I say this team is coming together for a Super Bowl run….

    • Brian Martin

      They certainly look like they’re coming together at the right time. I have concerns about the depth at the DT position with Brian Price’s injury, but the defense is looking strong overall.

      • Hobbes49

        Yeah, they may have to reach out to bring in a serviceable free agent. That’s a drop in talent for sure, but hopefully not too much.

        • Brian Martin

          They have to bring in somebody. I suggested Arthur Jones a few weeks ago. I think he is probably the best 1-tech FA. We will see though.

Game Notes

#DALvsCIN: Bengals DL Gives Cowboys OL Formidable Test

Kevin Brady



The Star News - Bengals At Cowboys: ITS Staff Picks And Notes
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

During their preseason opener, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line faced its first test of the season. The young, athletic, and downright talented defensive line of the 49ers gave the Cowboys starting five a chance to gauge their offseason progress thus far.

I'd say the starting group passed the test, while the backups and depth players looked a bit more shaky. The good thing about football, though, is that they get a shot to do it all again this Saturday.

This week's opponent, the Cincinatti Bengals, feature some serious talent upfront. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of the best interior defenders in all of football, terrorizing centers and guards since he entered the league.Carl Lawson, Auburn

On the edge is one of my 2017 draft favorites, Carl Lawson. Lawson was a draft target of mine for the Cowboys, but it appears the entire league missed on the stud edge rusher during that draft. During his rookie season a year ago, Lawson racked up 8.5 sacks and looked like the best rookie rusher in all of football. It's rare that a rookie defensive end tallies the sack total that Lawson did in 2017, but then again, Lawson is a rare type of player.

Opposite of Carl Lawson is veteran pass rusher Carlos Dunlap. Together, Atkins and Dunlap have been one of the more dangerous pass rush duos for quite some time, but the additions of Lawson and Jordan Willis make them an incredibly impressive group.

During the Bengals' preseason opener against the Chicago Bears, their defensive line looked to be in midseason form.

Though Geno Atkins had the team's only sack, the trio of Atkins, Lawson, and Dunlap looked as prolific as ever.

This deep and talented defensive line is a more-than worthy test for the Cowboys this Saturday. Rookie Connor Williams will likely have to block Geno Atkins at some point, and though he looked promising against the 49ers, this week presents a whole different challenge.

Many now expect veteran center Travis Frederick to miss Saturday's game as well, due to his shoulder troubles during training camp. If Frederick were to miss the start, Joe Looney would be thrown into the first against this first team defensive front of the Bengals.

A rookie at left guard and Looney at center might not be the best ingredients against Geno Atkins and company, but it'll be what they have to roll with.

Still, Saturday will give us another chance to see what the 2018 Dallas Cowboys offensive line is all about.

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Game Notes

Film Review: Connor Williams Overall Impressive In Preseason Debut

Kevin Brady



Film Review: Connor Williams Overall Impressive In Preseason Debut

The collapse of the 2017 Dallas Cowboys can be, in large part, attributed to the collapse of their offensive line. When left tackle Tyron Smith was forced to miss time with various injuries, neither Chaz Green nor Byron Bell could get the job done in his place. Not only were these two replacements unsatisfactory, however, they were disastrous.

From the beginning of the 2017 season the Cowboys had a problem at left guard as well. With Ronald Leary departing for Denver and La'el Collins replacing Doug Free at right tackle, the left guard spot was left to an open competition between Jonathan Cooper and Chaz Green. Quite frankly, neither was impressive.

As a result Dak Prescott's sophomore season was nowhere near as fun or remarkable as his rookie season, and the Cowboys faltered down the stretch as a team. Trying to rectify these issues, Dallas drafted Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams in the second round of last year's draft.

Though it could be argued that, on paper, the Cowboys had more pressing needs than their All-Pro filled offensive line, adding a player like Connor Williams was exactly what this team needed to do if it wanted to emulate its 2016 success.

So, through one preseason game, how does the rookie look? Let's take to the film to decide just how good (or bad) Connor Williams was in his debut.

dalvssf2018 connor williams

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Let's begin with the bad. Really the only completely poor rep of the night for Connor Williams came on the first drive of the game. Williams is working against former first round pick DeForest Buckner here. Buckner, lined up as the 3 technique over Williams' outside shoulder, knows he is in a one-on-one situation with the rookie.

Buckner immediately swipes Williams' hands down, quickly flipping his hips and getting upfield. Besides not getting a strong enough punch, Williams' biggest mistake is that he stops his feet on contact. This allows Buckner to get him off balance, forcing Williams to bend at the waist and look lost.

Buckner then blows by him for the easy quarterback hit.

dalvssf2018 connor williams 2

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Later on the same drive we see Williams struggle to execute a reach block. Once again Williams is faced with a 3-technique, this time defensive tackle Sheldon Day. Day gets a great get-off, beating Williams initially with his first step. Day then does a great job of stoning Williams' playside shoulder and redirecting the running back.

This is another example of Connor Williams needing to increase his play strength and speed a bit. Multiple Cowboys reporters at training camp have mentioned these issues with Williams' game, and they flashed on tape during this rep.

Thankfully for both Connor Williams and the Cowboys, things only went uphill from here.

dalvssf2018 connor williams 3

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On Dak Prescott's touchdown pass to Michael Gallup we see Connor Williams correct everything he had wrong earlier.

Williams comes out of his stance square, delivers a solid punch, and stones the defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. Williams stays strong with his hands even as the defender attempts to swipe them down as Buckner successfully did earlier.

He allows for no interior pass rush and keeps Prescott's vision clear down the field.

dalvssf2018 connor williams 4

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Earlier on the same drive we see Connor Williams work well off a double team and on to the second level. Williams delivers a solid punch to the 1-technique on the inside of him, allowing Travis Frederick plenty of time to overtake the man and drive him back.

What's most impressive, though, is how Williams keeps his shoulders square and his eyes on the second level the entire time. He never buries his head or over-commits to the down lineman, allowing himself to be an athlete and help spring Rod Smith for a nice gain.

Despite some legit reasons for concern about Williams' game, I do believe he will be fine moving forward. Connor Williams is an excellent plug and play left guard who provides some tackle depth as well, and is a vital addition to the Cowboys 2018 offense. His debut performance gives all of us even more reasons to be excited about this offensive line.

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Game Notes

What We May Have Learned From the Cowboys Week 1 Preseason Loss

Brian Martin



5 Things We Might Have Learned From Cowboys Preseason Week 1

The Dallas Cowboys unfortunately came out on the losing end of the battle in their first preseason contest against the San Francisco 49ers, despite pretty much dominating the majority of the game. The good news is it was just an exhibition game and means relatively nothing in regards to the upcoming 2018 season.

Last week was the first chance for a lot of us to see what this years Dallas Cowboys team could possibly look like. There was a lot of roster turnover this offseason, which means there were quite a few new faces on the field for the Cowboys Thursday night. But, I can't say that I was disappointed in what I saw, at least so far.

Now that I've had time to study and evaluate the Dallas Cowboys game against the 49ers, I wanted to share with all of you some of the things we may have learned. Up until this point we were left speculating about certain things, but I think the picture is much clearer now.

To keep myself from going overboard here, I decided to narrow it down to just five things I think we may have learned about the 2018 Dallas Cowboys last Thursday night. Continue to read below to see what they are.

✭ Rookie WR Michael Gallup the Real Deal✭

Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

With so much unknown surrounding the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver position, it was really good to see rookie WR Michael Gallup play well against the San Francisco 49ers Thursday night. Despite being a rookie, Gallup looked like the best WR on the field for either team. I don't believe I'm exaggerating the slightest either.

The highlight of the game might have been when he and Quarterback Dak Prescott were able to hook up on a 30 yard touchdown pass to close out the Cowboys first offensive series. Gallup might have scored a second TD later in the game if QB Cooper Rush's pass wouldn't have been under thrown. But, that's neither here nor there now. If Gallup continues to play like he did Thursday night, he could easily be the Cowboys top WR in 2018.

✭ Blake Jarwin Favorite to Replace Jason Witten✭

Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim

Dallas Cowboys TEs Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim

Geoff Swaim may have gotten the start and provided some good blocking Thursday night against the 49ers, but it was Blake Jarwin who may have ended up becoming the favorite to replace Jason Witten this season. Out of all of the options in the receiving game for the Dallas Cowboys, it was Jarwin who was on the receiving end of Dak Prescott's first pass of the game. And, if he hadn't had stepped out of bounds later in the game he would've found himself in the end zone.

Now, it's a little early in the process to claim Jarwin as the victor in the Cowboys TE competition, but he was able to carry over what he's been doing in practice into the game. That's no small feat to accomplish. I'm sure we'll see some of the other TEs on the roster receive opportunities to prove themselves, but for now, it's looking as if it could be Blake Jarwin's job to lose.

✭ Tavon Austin More Than a "Gadget" Player✭

Ezekiel Elliott and Tavon

Dallas Cowboys RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tavon Austin

When the Dallas Cowboys traded for Tavon Austin earlier in the offseason no one really knew exactly what kind of offensive role they had in mind for him. Since arriving in Dallas, Austin has been described as a "web-back", but that made things even more confusing because it sounded like a made up position. The only thing anybody really knew is that Austin has been mostly a "gadget" player since entering the NFL.

I know it was just Week 1 of the preseason, but if Thursday night was any indication of how the Cowboys plan to use Austin, then he will be more than a "gadget" player this season. Austin didn't line up in the backfield or receive any handoffs. He didn't even return any punts or kickoffs against the 49ers. The only thing he did do was lineup at WR and run routes. His role could change and expand later, but it looks as if he will be more involved offensively than we had originally thought.

✭ DE Taco Charlton Looks Much Improved in Year 2✭

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton

The Dallas Cowboys defense may not have recorded a single quarterback sack Thursday night against the San Francisco 49ers, but they did put consistent pressure on the opposing QBs. One of those pass rushers to consistently pressure the QB was the Cowboys second-year Defensive End Taco Charlton, who looks like an entirely different player this year. He was getting after the QB, making tackles, and deflecting passes.

Charlton is starting to look more and more like the first-round draft pick the Cowboys were hoping he would be last year. He looks bigger, stronger, faster, and more technique sound than he did a season ago, which should be good news for the pass rush this season. He also showed that his knowledge of the game has improved. Last season he would've been fooled by some of those bootlegs, but it doesn't look to be the case now.

✭LB Depth No Longer a Concern✭

Joe Thomas

Dallas Cowboys LB Joe Thomas

The Dallas Cowboys played the entire game against the 49ers Thursday night without Sean Lee, their best defensive player. Unfortunately, it may have provided a glimpse of what we could see at some point during the 2018 season since #50 has a problem of remaining healthy. The good news is, it looks like the Cowboys have covered themselves for such scenario.

Yes, all eyes were on Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch against the 49ers Thursday night, and rightfully so. Both players didn't do anything to disappoint, but it was the Cowboys free agent addition, Joe Thomas, who stole the show. Thomas was filling in for Sean Lee and did an outstanding job doing so. He was all over the field and even ended up getting an interception off a Kavon Frazier deflection. The way all the Cowboys LBs played should ease any concerns with the depth of the position heading into the 2018 season.

What stood out for you in the Dallas Cowboys game against the 49ers?

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