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Option Reads: Was Scott Linehan An Effective Play-Caller Against Giants?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Should Scott Linehan's Playcalling Be Questioned?

The Dallas Cowboys were nearly able to do just enough to come away with a victory against the New York Giants to kick off the 2016 season, but ultimately failed in the last few seconds of the game.

If you are anything like me, you are left with more questions than answers after the completion of the game against the Giants. There are a lot of things that worked well, but in the end it wasn’t enough.

The Dallas Cowboys were able to win the time of possession battle, they created more turnovers than the Giants, had more total yards, and more quarterback sacks, yet still managed to lose in the end. Usually, when a team wins in those areas of the game it usually results in a W in the win column.

That simply wasn’t the case Sunday afternoon against the Giants and I honestly think it has a lot to do with the playcalling of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

Below are just a few examples of why I question Linehan’s playcalling against the Giants.

Failure to adjust in the running game

Cowboys Headlines - Should Scott Linehan's Playcalling Be Questioned? 1We all knew coming into this game that the New York Giants were going to try to stack the box and shut down the Cowboys running game.

What we didn’t know was that Scott Linehan would continue to call running plays that were designed to attack the strength of the Giants defense.

Ezekiel Elliott and even Alfred Morris are at their best when they are running outside zone, where they can attack the outside edge of opposing defenses and then find the cutback lane if there is one.

For some reason, Linehan kept calling inside zone plays which was running right into the “meat” of the Giants defense. Jonathan Hankins (320) and Damon Harrison (350) shut down the inside runs and clogged up the middle of the field with their size alone.

Elliott’s best run of the night was a quick pitch where he was able to use his speed to get to the outside and run away from the middle of the Giants defense.

You would’ve thought that Linehan would continue to attack the edge of the Giants defense with more outside zone plays or swing passes to get the running backs out in space, but for some reason or another he failed to make the adjustment.

Dez Bryant‘s lack of involvement

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Season-Opening Loss To The GiantsThe failure to make adjustments in the running game might’ve been the most questionable in regards to Scott Linehan’s playcalling, but the failure to get Dez Bryant involved in the game is a close second.

Bryant was only targeted a handful of times and ended the night with only one catch for 8 yards.  That is simply unacceptable for a number one wide receiver in the NFL, let alone for someone with Bryant’s talents.

Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Geoff Swaim, Brice Butler, and Lance Dunbar all finished with more receiving yards than Bryant.

Scratching your head yet?

Bryant is at his best when he can get a few catches early. The fact that most of his targets were deep passes where he was asked to win in jump ball situations is questionable to say the least.

He needed to be targeted much more often with short to intermediate passes to get him going. He is dangerous all over the field when he has the ball in his hands.

Red zone woes continue

Cowboys Headlines - 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Season-Opening Loss To The Giants 1The Dallas Cowboys have struggled in the red zone since Scott Linehan has taken over as the offensive coordinator, so I guess it really shouldn’t come too much of a surprise that they continue to find ways to disappoint in this area.

It really astounds me that this is still an area of concern with all of the offensive weapons Linehan has at his disposal. Other teams around the NFL are able to be successful in the red zone with a lot less to work with.

Yes, he was working with a rookie quarterback, but Dak Prescott not only looked like a veteran QB Sunday afternoon but can be a threat in that it area as well.

Prescott has the unique ability to make plays with both his arm and his legs. I would’ve liked to have seen him get a chance to show this skill set in not only the red zone, but in different areas of the field as well.

This is definitely an area the Cowboys need to work on in practice. Hopefully things improve as the season progresses.

What do you think of Scott Linehan’s playcalling against the Giants?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic. I look forward to opening up the discussion and hearing all of your responses.

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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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22 Comments
  • Sal Sanchez

    Linehan REALLY SUCKED SUNDAY HE NEEDS TO STEP IT UP OR STEP OUT…DESIGN PLAYS TO OUR PLAYERS STRENGTHS ..IF A DEFENSE IS HIP..CHANGE IT UP!! Cmon man!

    • Brian Martin

      Sal, I agree with everything you said. I was excited when Linehan first became the offensive coordinator, but he has failed to live up to my expectations. He needs to do a much better job of finding the best way to attack defenses. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think he has become somewhat predictable.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      I have to agree. I was frustrated from the fourth running play on during Sunday’s game. The offense was so vanilla and the Giants just saw every run up the middle coming. Okay, so new QB, might not want to get too fancy. That could explain why the passing game was what it was. I was just frustrated. Conservative is not a team with Dez, Cole, Jason, Zeke, that offensive line. Linehan needs to realize that fast. Linehan needs to call the appropriate plays and give his guys a chance to surprise him. Just my two…

      • Brian Martin

        100% agree. I think Linehan has become somewhat predictable and conservative. Maybe that’s because he doesn’t have Tony Romo, but you can’t continue to play conservatively with all of the weapons the Cowboys offense has. Not if you actually want to win games. Linehan failed to make adjustments and continued to play to the strengths of the Giants defense. They didn’t have to worry about the down the field passing game, so they could continue to stack the box and keep plays in front of them. It was frustrating to watch and not hope that’s not what we continue to see.

  • Jeff Cook

    I totally agree some people want to blame the D for not getting much pass rush but I feel the D played good enough to win this game and was actually better then the Giants D but the Offensive play calling sucked just like last year its like they are afraid to win a game with a QB besides Romo maybe they are afraid Dak will do better than Romo and create a QB controversy. Now they did great at controlling ball and time of possession however that only works when you have at least a 2 TD lead not a 2 FG lead because like we saw this game it only takes 1 play from your opponent to take the lead and you would think a guy from an Ivy league school could figure that out with just a little math lol

    • Brian Martin

      Jeff, I completely agree. Linehan is calling plays conservatively and not taking many chances. It’s almost like they are trying to make it easy on the QB to help prevent against turnovers or something. I don’t know, but if this is what we continue to see in 2016 and the Cowboys are in trouble. Things definitely need to change.

  • Mike Young

    I’ve got to agree Cowboys were out-coached by a wide margin. I blind man could see by the 3rd quarter that running at teeth of Giants defensive line was ineffective. Zeke is a tremendous weapon in space but little variation in plays called to get him there. Same with Dez little persistence to get him the ball in space. Alond with defenses inability to stop the run were the key reason Cowboys lost this one.

    • Brian Martin

      Mike, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. The coaching staff actually had a good game plan for the Giants, but unfortunately they just didn’t make any adjustments when certain things weren’t working. To keep running into the strength of the Giants defense was mind-boggling and to not get Dez Bryant more involved was questionable as well. They did enough to win the game, but needed to execute better. If Beasley would’ve caught that one poorly thrown pass it would’ve been a walk-in touchdown and Bryant nearly had another TD but failed to secure the catch all the way to the ground. Let’s just hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

      • Eric Welly

        Let’s run directly at the 350lb guy they call “Snacks” instead of forcing Snacks to chase cheese all day. Last thing is how did Morris get to the 2nd level? Made it look easy running under center, shotgun is not going to work for Dak until the running game goes off, besides it’s really hard to run playaction, slants and screens out of shotgun. Asking the kid to think instead of react, he looked good when our offense was vanilla.

        • Brian Martin

          Eric, I was thinking the same thing the entire game. They continue to attack the “meat” of the Giants defense for some unknown reason. I reviewed the tape and Morris was more successful because he was more patient as a runner. He allowed the lineman just a little longer to secure their blocks a little better and because that had better running lanes to go through. And I agree about Prescott. They need to just let him cut loose. Quit game planning to not lose and game plan to win.

  • roger stiles

    The Cowboys almost always call a running play on 2nd down after an incomplete pass on 1st down. They are predictable and why they call a 2 yard pass play to Witten when he can’t run anymore or break tackles. Screen pass to Witten? Crazy.

    • Brian Martin

      Roger you make a great point. I also think that they have become pretty predictable with their playcalling.

  • Mike Young

    It was amazing how Cowboys were able to move the ball early so the game plan was effective but as you said not many adjustments once the Giants figured out what they were doing. And yes incompletions to Beasley and Bryant in red zone turned out to be huge differences in the final results. Looking for better play from the O-Line and the ‘Boys run game to have better results against the ‘Skins. It will also be interesting to see if Dez can get open against the ‘Skins secondary. Visa versa can Cowboys D stop Kirk Cousins and his aerial attack? Go D-Boys!

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Mike. It was a conservative game plan to help limit Prescott from making mistakes. It worked early and allowed the Cowboys to move the ball, but I would like to see them allow Prescott to take a little more chances. You can’t expect to win many games with the conservative approach. I’m hoping things look different against the Redskins.

  • TRUE BLUE

    Scott Linehan no longer has the capabilities to coach in today’s NFL..Maybe if the base defense was the old Buddy Ryan 46 defense…Even with Romo he doesn’t knows how to attack a defense with all of our weapons. If Romo was healthy we will still finish 8 and 8..

    • Brian Martin

      True Blue, I would like to disagree with you but I think you might be right. I initially thought Linehan would be a good offensive coordinator when he joined the Cowboys. When in Detroit he was able to get Calvin Johnson the ball despite being double and triple covered, but has failed to do so with Dez Bryant here in Dallas. I don’t know if Jason Garrett has any influence over the game plan or if it all falls on Linehan, but something definitely needs to change. The Cowboys offense simply has too many weapons to play conservatively like they did against the Giants.

  • david snyder

    s and possibly an interception than the vanilla play calls that were being made.let Dak play do some roll outs and move the pocket ,he throws well on the run.screens to Dez ,Brice,Lucky,Zeke,…. just saying go boys

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting David. I agree with you that they need to just let Dak play. They called a conservative game plan in order to protect him from making mistakes, but that also limited any big plays. Unfortunately, that played right into the game plan for the Giants defense. Hopefully things will change against the Redskins.

  • Eric Welly

    Out coached…Take what they give and they gave them the game.
    Who’d think Dez and Dunbar would tie for receptions and Beasly would catch more than Dez was targeted…hmmmm, Lenihan seems a bit skiddish or did JG get in the way, wouldn’t be the first time the RedHeadedGenius shot us in the foot.

    I like Z, but a rook is a rook and a rook with a no contact offseason, should be eazed into the game by sharing series with his 2 capable veteran RBs.

    Whatever the gameplan was against Seattle, would be the blueprint. Apparently they didn’t have enough time when Romo went down to make the gameplan Dak friendly like against the Giants. Way to much thinkin’ on both sides of the ball.

    Let Dak loose, Morris\Dunbar are easy set-up guys early, Z will get his in 2nd halves, Dez needs 5 targets a quarter until the O is rolling. Please please put Dak under center and give him a TE\FB and let him play behind that line.

    Defense wasn’t terrible for a bunch of guys playing into shape, rotations wise they got some pressure and held the run pretty well. the missed no brainer from the refs on the Cruz TD.

    Game was there all day for the taking, I wonder if we had gotten down 2 or 3 scores if they would have opened it up.

    • Brian Martin

      Eric, I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. I 100% agree with everything you said. I honestly have nothing to add. I think you hit the nail the head.

  • Erebustx

    I like Linnehan. I really do. I just think he’s become incredibly predictable, and I worry that neither he, nor Garrett have realized that because it’s not like this is a new thing. He’s been relatively predictable since 2014. Or at least, to ME he has. Seems like our offensive drives are ultimately determined by the 1st play, which is a run probably 95% of the time (and that’s fine). But if Zeke fails to get at least 6 or 7 yards, Linnehan has a bad tendency to abandon the run altogether for the remainder of the drive. Even going so far as to pass the ball our of shotgun on 3rd and short, without even putting a running back in the backfield to make defenses think we MIGHT run the ball. I watch it play out in every game. Run, pass, pass. Run, pass, pass. Run, pass, pass. So on and so forth. Defenses know that if we’re in single-back that we’re running the ball. Shotgun? Pass play. Even IF we run out of shotgun (which is generally useless), defenses don’t need to stack the box because they know that Zeke can’t get the kind of momentum he needs.

    I feel like due to the insane amount of talent we have on offense, we’re winning games in SPITE of Linnehan’s questionable play-calling.

    I’d like to see more pass plays ran out of single-back and I-formation, that way defenses stay guessing. And quite frankly, we need to do a better job of playing to our STRENGTH, which is pounding the rock. Don’t send Zeke home after the 1st play of the drive if he doesn’t get 8 yards. Run it again. 2nd and long shouldn’t keep you from running the ball. In fact, I would recommend it.

    Hopefully, Linnehan will do a little honest self-scouting and resolve this issue. If not, is there any chance of getting Norv Turner?

    • Brian Martin

      I completely agree with everything you said. I’ve never been a big Linehan fan. Here lately it seems as if he’s kind of abandoned what was working for them earlier in the season and trying to go to a more down the field passing team. Hopefully he can get back to the drawing board this weekend figure out what works.

      • Erebustx

        I wonder how much of that is geared towards keeping Zeke fresh for the playoffs? If that’s the case, I now question his ability to focus on FIRST, winning the game at hand.

        We may have secured A playoff spot, but a first round bye would do more for Zeke’s legs than 10 more carries would.

        Idk. Maybe I’m just old school. Linnehan’s “pass to set up the run” philosophy is a little bass backwards, imo. Especially when you have a rookie QB, Ezekiel Elliot, and the best o-line in the NFL.

        • Brian Martin

          You’re certainly not alone. I guess I have that same old-school mentality as well. The Cowboys offense is best suited to run the football and I think they need to do that with the heavy dosage of Ezekiel Elliott with either Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden filling in. I’m personally not a big fan of using Dunbar.

          • Erebustx

            The Dunbar situation is a little tricky for me because although I like him (only in obvious passing situations), I still have a hard time imagining a scenario where I’d rather have him on the field than Elliott or Morris.

            On a positive note, I did see one…I repeat…ONE designed pass play from under center where they didn’t use play action. Not that I don’t like play actions passes. I love them, but I think a bigger repertoire of plays from single-back and I-formation would do us a lot of good. Especially if we didn’t limit those formations to 1st down, only.

            Like I said, it just bothers me that a normal guy like me can know with near absolute certainly whether we’re going to run or pass based on our formation. That and the fact that running the ball seems like a chore, or a “necessary evil” to Linnehan lol.

Game Notes

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady

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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

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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.

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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.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

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

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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 Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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