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Sean’s Scout: Justin Herbert’s Poise, Chargers Pass Rush Stand Out in Win at WFT

With the playing in the NFL's season opener last Thursday night, the week one matchup between this week's opponent and the reigning East champion Washington Football Team provided a chance to scout both teams.

Washington lost starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second quarter of this game, and play the Giants on a short week this Thursday with Taylor Heinicke under . Fitzpatrick was placed on Tuesday.

The Chargers won on the road 20-16, returning home at 1-0 to play their first game with fans at the new SoFi Stadium. Rookie LT looked the part of a veteran against a strong WFT , as completed 31 of 47 passes for 337 yards and a touchdown to Mike Williams. Slater was a target that Dallas passed on for defensive help, taking the field against him now with a depleted themselves.

After re-watching the Chargers week one win, here is what else stood out ahead of Sunday's second straight road test for the Cowboys.

  •  The Cowboys defensive line put an emphasis on knocking off his spot in week one, and will need this same focus against Herbert. The Chargers made quick work of the WFT on their opening drive, thanks mostly to Herbert throwing in rhythm from a clean pocket. The only play Herbert was pressured on was a third down in the , but he found Keenan Allen out of the backfield for a conversion. One play later, Austin Ekeler ran behind Slater for a touchdown.


  • Washington's linebackers did a great job playing downhill and not biting on the misdirection plays the Chargers run. Against zone coverage, Herbert came off of his deep reads quickly and settled for check downs. Ekeler and Allen can turn these short passes into explosive plays, meaning Dallas will again have to be sound in tackling from the . said the Cowboys LB rotation will be fluid as the season goes on, after and saw the most snaps against Tampa Bay. This feels like another game where both should be featured heavily, as the Cowboys will need their coverage skills and range.


  • Even if the Cowboys were taking the field with at , Chargers DE is a game wrecking player that opponents must be prepared for. I was most impressed with Bosa's speed off the against WFT. Terence Steele will line up across from him for the Cowboys. If Steele can get his hands on Bosa and seal the edge, it should at least give a chance to step up or escape the pocket. Against less mobile passers in Fitzpatrick and Heinicke, Bosa's penetration from left end helped get the Chargers defense off the field numerous times.


  • If the Cowboys pass protection holds up, there should be opportunities against these Chargers safeties to create big plays in the . Nassir Adderley got caught flat-footed against Logan Thomas in the red zone for a Washington touchdown, and was slow to react to the ball thrown behind him a few other times. The against the Bucs called for the Cowboys to throw the ball early and often, with Dak Prescott even checking out of runs as needed. This week may look very similar, though the Cowboys could have opportunities to run against the Chargers' two-high looks.


  • Justin Herbert's biggest mistake of the game was a red zone interception to William Jackson on a throw intended for Stephen Anderson. The ball was late and thrown too high, allowing Jackson to step in front. This was hardly the only throw Herbert missed high with some hangtime, something a cornerback like should be looking for this week. Diggs mostly shadowed in the opener, and may do the same against Allen. This would likely put on the big-bodied Mike Williams, a better matchup for him than the speedy .

The Cowboys may not have been expected to win by many against the defending champions, but that doesn't change the last-second loss that has Dallas at 0-1 ahead of another game they're not favored in. Putting up points against Brady in a shootout was nothing Bruce Arians and TB hadn't seen before. If the Cowboys can do the same against a young but confident QB like Herbert, and continue to build continuity on defense, they should be in position to even their record before their first NFC East game the following Monday vs. Philadelphia.

Sean Martin
Sean Martin
Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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gary b

No bigger test than T Brady. Herbert is physically gifted but still learning the position. Gregory is a wild card. If he can’t play it gives the young QB more time to throw and greatly decreases our chances of winning. The other wild card is the extent to which Bosa dominates Steele. Likely they give him help with the TE chipping him and/or Zeke staying in to block.


We’re missing players at key positions, MG, DL, LC, NG, etc. But every team has this problem, to some extent. Is this a must win game? Certainly puts you in a hole early if you take another L.

I be watching tonite our two NFC East rivals.

Ethan L Chazin

Without Gregory, Tank and Gallimore on D line there will be zero pressure. Then on offense no La’el and lousy back up tackle play will also be a problem. Add in awful DTs , injured secondary and Brown, and I am NOT confident in this team

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