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Game Notes

Knowing the Enemy: 49ers Players Cowboys Defense Must Contain

Brian Martin



Knowing the Enemy: 49ers Players Cowboys Defense Must Contain

Football is finally back! The Dallas Cowboys will be taking on the San Francisco 49ers tonight in the first of four preseason games. For many it may be a meaningless game, but for the 49ers and Cowboys it's a chance to prepare and evaluate for the upcoming 2018 season.

Since this is just Week 1 of the preseason, don't expect to see any of the starters play much for either team. That means we will see a lot of the players on the bubble receive quite a bit of playing time in this contest. That's okay, because it's the first chance a lot of us will have to see some of these players in action for the first time.

Today, I wanted to do something a little different. Instead of identifying some of the  Dallas Cowboys players to watch tonight, I wanted to flip things around and take a look at a relatively unknown 49ers team. Sometimes, knowing the enemy is the key to success.

Please continue to read below to see a few of the San Francisco 49ers players I believe could possibly cause some problems for the Dallas Cowboys defense. Containing them could be the key to victory.

OT Mike McGlinchey

Mike McGlinchey

San Francisco 49ers OT Mike McGlinchey

The 49er starters likely won't see a lot of playing time, much like Dallas', but rookies are sometimes the exception to the rule. As such, San Francisco may choose to allow McGlinchey to remain in the game after several of their other starters are pulled in order for him to get up to speed as quickly as possible. The more game experience he receives could help him be better prepared for the season.

McGlinchey was one of the top offensive tackles in the 2018 draft class. He may not be on the same level as Tyron Smith or La'el Collins, but he should still challenge the Cowboys pass rushers. If any of Dallas' defensive ends are able to put McGlinchey on his heels and give him trouble, it would go a long way in helping earn a roster spot when cuts are made.

RB Matt Breida

Matt Breida

San Francisco 49ers RB Matt Breida (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Matt Breida was a pleasant surprise for the 49ers last season. The undrafted rookie free agent ended up having a pretty spectacular rookie season, accumulating 645 total yards and amassing an impressive 4.4 yards per attempt, mostly while spelling then starter Carlos Hyde. Despite his success, he could see quite a bit of playing time against the Dallas Cowboys tonight.

The 49ers signed former Minnesota Vikings Running Back, Jerick McKinnon, to a lucrative contract during the offseason, which means he is likely the lead dog in 2018. This means he probably won't see much playing time against the Cowboys, leaving Breida as the workhorse RB tonight. His footwork and ability to cut on a dime should be a challenge for the Cowboys defenders.

WR Dante Pettis

Dante Pettis

San Francisco 49ers WR Dante Pettis (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Dante Pettis is someone the Dallas Cowboys showed an interest in during the draft process coming out of Washington this year, but he ended up going to the 49ers in the second round instead. Word is, Pettis has been quite impressive during offseason practices with the 49ers and has made their defensive backs look pretty silly at times. Expect to see him utilized all over the field against the Cowboys.

This could be a pretty good challenge for several of the Dallas Cowboys younger cornerbacks. Pettis has a quick release off the line and has the ability to separate at any level on the field due to his precise route running. He will likely see plenty of single coverage from the Cowboys CBs, causing them to carry him all of the field. This could be a good test for them early on in the process, which could help with evaluations down the road.

RB Joe Williams

Joe Williams

San Francisco 49ers RB Joe Williams

Despite both being rookies last year, Joe Williams was clearly outshined by Matt Breida in 2017. Williams may be the more talented of the two, but ball security issues plagued him a season ago and likely led to his decreased playtime as the season progressed. However, that doesn't take away from what kind off threat he can be on the field.

Williams is a threat to score from anywhere on the field whenever he has the ball in his hands. He possesses game breaking speed, which could put quite a bit of pressure on the Cowboys defenders in both the running and receiving game. Williams could see the most playing time out of all of the 49ers RBs, and containing him could end up being the biggest challenge for Dallas'defense.

WR Richie James

Richie James

San Francisco 49ers WR Richie James (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Richie James was actually one of my favorite players to study in the 2018 draft class coming out of Middle Tennessee State. He is an exciting player to evaluate due to his ability to make something happen anytime the ball is in his hands. So, it was no surprise to me to find out he has been pretty impressive so far with the 49ers in training camp.

Being just 5'9", James is primarily going to be a slot receiver with the 49ers. It's a position he should excel at due to his short area quickness and ability to run pro-ready routes. This could be a huge challenge for the Cowboys CBs, especially the ones who aren't used to playing the slot. It wouldn't be all that surprising if he has a big game if not contained.

Will any of these 49ers players give the Dallas Cowboys defense any problems?

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.

Game Notes

WAS 20, DAL 17: Cowboys Make 1 Too Many Mistakes

Kevin Brady



WAS 20, DAL 17: Cowboys Make 1 Too Many Mistakes

Late in the fourth quarter the Cowboys faced a critical third down, trailing by just 3 points. As they did all night long, the Washington Redskins brought pressure, but quarterback Dak Prescott stood in the pocket this time and delivered a strike to Cole Beasley for a huge first down.

Cowboys fans rejoiced thinking the team might be on their way to a game winning drive. Then, we all noticed the yellow flag on the ground.

Holding, offense number 52.

The very next play Dak Prescott took what was one of the worst sack fumbles you'll ever see in his own end zone, and the Redskins extended their lead to 10 points. As Prescott tends to do, the Cowboys battled back late and got themselves in a position to send the game to overtime if Brett Maher could nail a 47 yard field goal.

Snap infraction.

Snap infraction. Rather than Maher attempting a more make-able 47 yard field goal, he was backed up to 52 yards, where he would miss the game-tying field goal. All of this resulted in an absolutely heartbreaking loss for the now 3-4 Dallas Cowboys, 20-17.

For a Cowboys team that had a chance to take over first place in the NFC East with a win, today's performance is extremely disheartening.

Other Notes

  • DeMarcus Lawrence hasn't been getting the pass rush we hoped to see, but he continued to be an absolute menace against the run today. He ended the game with 7 tackles, 3 of them for loss.
  • Dak Prescott's inconsistencies as a quarterback, the inability of any non-Cole Beasley wide out to beat man coverage, and the regression of the offensive line continued to handcuff the offense today. Their play simply wasn't good enough for most of the game.
  • Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie put together another impressive game, and this defensive back group (mostly the cornerbacks) seems to improve week to week.
  • Sean Lee looked healthy today, and made a key third down stop in the fourth quarter, knocking Alex Smith out of bounds and giving the offense a final chance to win or tie.
  • Ezekiel Elliott and this run game failed the Cowboys today. Elliott had just 34 yards rushing on 15 attempts and the offensive line was dominated all night.
  • The Cowboys have their bye this week before hosting the 3-4 Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football.

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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Big Return on Special Teams?

Mauricio Rodriguez



The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Jaguars

The last time the Dallas Cowboys played a football game, they made many of their fans' dreams come true. This happened by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-7 in a dominant performance against a top NFL defense. Can they make our wishes come true in back-to-back weeks? I don't know about walking away with another 33-point win, but we're obviously putting up a Cowboys Wishlist as every gameday.

Let's hope they come true. As always, I hope you enjoy this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist!

Wish #1: First Road Win of the Season

I mean, we obviously are wishing for a win. But this one right here would be a very important one, so I'm including it as a wish. The Cowboys haven't won any game on the road this year and doing so in Washington against a hated NFC East rival like the Redskins will be huge for this 3-3 Dallas Cowboys team.

Last Sunday's victory over the Jaguars might have been the moment when the Cowboys "turned the corner" to become a winning team in 2018. It's time to go on the road and beat a 3-2 divisional foe to prove that is the case.

Wish #2: Beasley Keeps It Up

The Cowboys' MVP last weekend was Cole Beasley. He was the only wide receiver on the team with more than one catch, ending his day with nine receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns. It was one of the best performances in his career yet.

The Cowboys need a WR to step up. Other than Cole, no one else is stepping up in the passing game. Beasley did so last Sunday but, can he consistently perform well enough to keep the offense going throughout the year? It remains to be seen.

For the long term, it might be better to have an outside, taller receiver be your #1 guy, but in the meantime, Beasley is the guy Dak Prescott should be targeting the most.

Lookout Deshaun Watson, QB Sack Leader DeMarcus Lawrence is Coming!

Wish #3: The Sack Hat Trick

Ok, I might be asking for too much here. But hear me out. The Dallas Cowboys defensive line is getting stronger and stronger. Just last week, David Irving returned to the field and got limited playing time. Although he didn't get a sack, his impact was felt since his first snap on the field.

Randy Gregory also saw limited playing time but was able to sack Blake Bortles once. And well, DeMarcus Lawrence is still playing at an elite level this year. How epic would it be for each of these three great pass rushers walk away with a sack?

Three headhunters, three sacks. Let's go!

Wish #4: Keep Redskins Under 10 Points

The Cowboys' defense is no joke. They're allowing 17.2 points per game, which is second best in the entire NFL right now. They're ready to face a Redskins' team that is ranked as the 25th offense in scoring. On top of that, the Redskins' receivers are pretty banged up.

Jon Machota on Twitter

3 of Washington's top 4 receivers (Chris Thompson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder) not expected to play vs. Cowboys

This could end up being the second consecutive big win for the Cowboys, specially because the defense should have a very good day.

Wish #5: Big Return on Special Teams

The last time the Dallas Cowboys played the Washington Redskins, Ryan Switzer returned a punt 83 yards into the end zone in what will remain his biggest highlight from his short career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist at Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

We haven't seen much excitement on special teams this year. Switzer is now a Pittsburgh Steeler, so Tavon Austin has gotten most of the punt returns. However, that's bound to change after he sustained an unfortunate injury. Deonte Thompson has taken care of the kick returns but nothing special has happened either.

I wish that changes today. With Austin out, I wonder if it'll be Cole Beasley or someone else fielding punts for Dallas but whoever it is, things will be spiced up. Through 6 weeks, the Cowboys longest punt return has been for 22 yards and the longest kick return for 35.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Big Return on Special Teams?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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

Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report

Jess Haynie



Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Though it's still early in the 2018 season, the lead in the NFC East is up for grabs when the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins meet this Sunday. Both teams would like their full roster available for the game, but the Week 7 injury reports indicate that won't be the case.

Here are the players either confirmed to be out of action tomorrow or are otherwise listed by Dallas and Washington:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - OUT
  • CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle) - Questionable

The Cowboys are getting healthier, with Sean Lee finally off the injury report and set to return to action. Not only will Dallas get their elite linebacker back, but it means a deeper rotation while the team remains without Joe Thomas.

Tavon Austin elected to skip season-ending surgery on his injured groin, but his should be out a few weeks. That will put Cole Beasley on punt returns and perhaps create more offensive opportunities for Deonte Thompson and Brice Butler.

Awuzie remains limited in practice but has played the last few weeks despite the ankle injury. There is no reason to think he won't suit up in Washington.

Washington Redskins

  • WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) - OUT
  • WR Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee) - Doubtful
  • S Troy Apke (hamstring) - Doubtful
  • RB Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder) - Questionable
  • RB Chris Thompson (rib, knee) - Questionable
  • G Shawn Lauvao (calf) - Questionable
  • CB Quinton Dunbar (shin) - Questionable
  • CB Danny Johnson (forearm) - Questionable

It's a rough time for Washington's offensive weapons. They will definitely be without slot receiver Jamison Crowder and likely starter Paul Richardson, who current lead all WRs in receptions. Josh Doctson will put into a major role, as will veteran Brian Quick off the bench.

Peterson and Thompson both practiced this week and should play, but have nagging injuries that could slow them down. Washington is already missing Rob Kelley and rookie Derrius Guice, who are both on injured reserve.

Starting left guard Shawn Lauvao is also nursing a lower leg injury, but practiced in a limited capacity all week. His backup is undrafted rookie Casey Dunn out of Auburn.

In the defensive backfield, starting CB Quinton Dunbar was a Friday addition to the injury report with a shin injury. He did practice with it, though, so will likely play. Backup safety Troy Apke is doubtful with a hamstring issue.

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