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Game Notes

The Morning After: What Happened To The Dallas Cowboys On Sunday?

Kevin Brady




Last week, I published an article flashing us back to the last time the Cowboys faced the Denver Broncos. It was 2013, and after a shootout for the ages, the Cowboys suffered a heartbreaking defeat.

Well, yesterday, the Cowboys played like it was 2013 once again. For the first time since that 8-8 season, a Cowboys team which had its real starting quarterback got absolutely demolished.

That's it, demolished. From start to finish the Denver Broncos controlled the game, en route to an embarrassing 42-17 defeat. And, for once, it was a complete team failure.

No, you can't simply blame the defense.

Sure Dallas couldn't get off the field on third down whatsoever and seemed to fold on every single key down, but offensively they simply had no answers for the stingy Denver defense. The offensive line could not open any real running lanes for Ezekiel Elliott and not a single receiver seemed to create any separation from the Broncos secondary.

Dak Prescott, who I firmly believe is the future of this franchise, played about as poorly as we have ever seen him play. Though one of his two interceptions was clearly not his fault, Prescott was still rather inaccurate all night long, finishing the day off with a pick six to Aqib Talib.

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Domata Peko (94) of the Denver Broncos Todd Davis (51) and Adam Gotsis (99) tackle Ezekiel Elliott (21) of the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter on Sunday, September 17, 2017. The Denver Broncos hosted the Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

But, with all that being said, this is not completely on the offense either.

This was, by far, the worst tackling performance by a Cowboys defense in two seasons. There are obvious holes in this defensive unit which we have all acknowledged, but when Byron Jones and Sean Lee have bad days, the unit simply doesn't stand much of a chance.

Just about the only bright spot from this 42-17 loss was defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who pressured Trevor Siemian multiple times and came away with a strip sack to set up a Cowboys touchdown. Besides Lawrence, and a Jourdan Lewis interception, the defense was abysmal.

But, even with all of that said, I can't blame this all on the players either. Dallas was completely out-coached yesterday, from the top down. Jason Garrett made some very questionable decisions late in the game which, while may not have really affected whether a comeback would have happened, still caused me to scratch my head.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan tried to get cute a little too often, and left his young quarterback in some terrible situations. Especially on the road against this defense. And, of course, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's unit just did not seem ready to play whatsoever.

The season is far from lost, though, Cowboys Nation. The Cowboys now travel to Arizona to play a 1-1 Cardinals team which barely squeaked by the lowly Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Then, they face an improved Los Angeles Rams team at home, in another game in which they should be favored.

The point is, the Cowboys should have plenty of time to right this ship and get back to playing the way they did over 17 games last season, and have once this season already.

This is still a very talented football team, and one that should win a lot of games and compete for the NFC East crown. It's been a long time since the Cowboys were beat down like they were yesterday.

Maybe they were just due.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

  • Reynaldo Laporte

    Good article brah, I look forward to the content this site provides…. Now onto the task at hand.

    This game came further highlighted an area where we have been struggling for some time and that is coaching and the failure to adapt both seem to be our Achilles heel. I swear if I see JG clapping on the sideline one more time I’ll go crazy. I am so happy that this was only week 2, but we have to get it together and fast.

  • Matthew Harrell

    Sadly the USS Prescott will have to actually hit the bottom before anyone sees it’s a ship full of holes. He just can’t throw deep and he can’t pick up an offense. Man I miss watching Romo carve up defenses. He did it with no RBs, no blocking, on the road, against top defense. Teams used to talk about fearing Romo and how they had to game plan to stop him. No one will ever say the key to the game is stopping Dak’s passing. No one.

    • Wayne Young

      I strongly disagree. Dak showed several times last year that he could overcome adversity in a game and pick up the team. Just don’t expect him to do it on a timely basis, YET. You forget this is only his second year and this was by far the worst game he’s had so far. He was definitely due for one. Romo certainly would have fared better yesterday than Dak, but that’s only because Romo has been there and done that time and time again. Like any young player Dak needs time to grow and get experience. It is completely unfair to expect that he can just put the entire team on his shoulders in only his second year in the league and win games by himself. It took YEARS for Romo to be able to do that and even then, he always had one or two games where he had a complete meltdown. What will be telling of Dak is how he responds the next few weeks. Usually Romo played just fine the rest of the season once he got that one terrible game out of the way. So far nothing shows that Dak will not overcome this game. Another thing, this offense is built to run the ball, not have a second year quarterback chuck it 50+ times. The Cowboys usually didn’t fare well when Romo had to throw it that many times either. Regardless of who it is they’re playing, they can’t start the game throwing 10 times out of their first 15 plays. That’s not who they are. JG and Linehan got out coached on the offensive side of the ball. They needed to keep running it to protect Dak and keep Denver’s dominant defense honest and they didn’t do it. Anybody talking about Dak not being the answer for the long term success of the Cowboys after ONE game needs to chill out.

    • Herman Taft

      Are you always this wrong? “…carve up defenses” to the tune of TWO playoff wins in ten years?!

  • Hector Espindola

    You nalied it: outcoached. But still we need help on the backfield and Caroll is not the answer, but hey there is a roster spot wasted on Moore. The problem can go beyond week 2…

    • l.a

      Your right about Carroll not the answer

  • l.a

    Lack of effort all together players coaches not 1 player but all as a whole need to reevaluate and fans relax

  • l.a

    And Shannon Sharpe is just a hater

  • l.a

    And make a note of la Collins being exposed by Miller several times

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

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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



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



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, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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