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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Prescott’s Improvements, Front Seven Stand Out Vs Chiefs

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: Prescott's Improvements, Front Seven Form Stand Out Vs Chiefs

The Dallas Cowboys put their backs to the wall when they began this 2017 season at 2-3 through five games. With Super Bowl aspirations put on hold for a moment, and the team forced to fully take Head Coach Jason Garrett’s “game at a time” approach, we’ve seen the Cowboys return to their winning ways for the last three weeks now – looking again like one of the best teams in the NFL.

Lacking a true statement win, the Cowboys defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 28-17 (allowing an unimaginable touchdown before the half to keep the Chiefs around) yesterday from AT&T Stadium.

With 375 more yards of total offense and a defensive performance that included intercepting Alex Smith for the first time all year, the Cowboys are winning in every phase of the game right now.

Let’s take a closer look at a few things that stood out to me in another edition of Sean’s Scout.

Sean's Scout: Prescott's Improvements, Front Seven Form Stand Out Vs Chiefs 1

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

  • Xavier Woods has a strong case to be a starter on this defense right now, and early on it appeared that he would be thrown into the fire after Jeff Heath exited the game following the Cowboys’ first punt of the day. Heath returned  to his usual safety spot and battled through the game to finally make a splash by picking off Alex Smith late in the fourth quarter, but it was Xavier Woods that introduced himself right away by ending Kansas City’s opening drive playing coverage with Byron Jones. Jones drew the tough assignment of Travis Kelce, and on this third down Smith had more than enough time to allow Kelce to overtake Jones and free himself for a first down. Reading the play the whole time, Woods did not bite on any underneath routes as he mirrored Smith and drifted towards the middle of the field. Finding himself in position to attack the football, Woods did what he does best and laid a hit on Kelce that ensured the pass would not be caught.


  • The Cowboys are getting an amazing level of cohesive play in their front seven despite naturally rotating in so many bodies across the defensive line and at linebacker. The high level of play that Dallas is getting at LB from starters Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens along with Damien Wilson and Jaylon Smith shouldn’t go without a lot of credit towards these defensive tackles. Once again finding value in pushing pockets from the interior of the defensive line, imposing DTs like Maliek Collins and David Irving have forced opposing offenses to play from their own backfield. This had made it so much easier for Lee and the rest of these linebackers to clean up plays in the run, and there were a number of times yesterday that pressure in Smith’s face forced an underneath throw into the coverage of either Lee or Hitchens. With Brian Price exiting this game late due to injury, it was even more important for the Cowboys to see the strides Maliek Collins made as the 1T DT in this game.

Ezekiel Elliott TD Vs Chiefs – Streamable

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  • We don’t talk enough about Dak Prescott’s pocket presence in making the slight adjustments needed to deliver accurate strikes as consistently as he does. Already known as an elite ball handler, decision maker, and runner, there were so many times against the Chiefs that Prescott’s ability to slide marginally to his left or right extended drives with big time throws. The moving pockets and other misdirection elements that the Cowboys dominated with in 2016 are proving even more lethal in 2017, mostly because of Prescott’s improvements as a cerebral pocket passer that can navigate the limited pressure he faces to get the ball downfield.


  • Speaking of Dak Prescott and Dallas’ passing game, this game was likely the best example we’ve had since Brice Butler arrived in 2015 of why he hasn’t overtaken Terrance Williams. With a career high nine receptions for 141 yards, Williams proved again how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands on the move – something Scott Linehan found more of with not only Williams but Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley too. Meanwhile, Butler’s opportunity down the field resulted in a drop as he closed his hands running towards the sun prior to the ball arriving. This inconsistency has frustrated the Cowboys, who could have an even bigger role for Brice Butler if he made plays like these. With that said, Terrance Williams is firmly in place as this team’s second receiver.

Taco Charlton Sack Vs Chiefs – Streamable

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  • Taco Charlton was more noticeable yesterday afternoon than he had been all season, and the very simple reason for this was because the Cowboys found snaps for him at LDE. Even from as far back as my own college scouting report on Charlton, I projected him as an ideal LDE in the NFL. With their “war daddy” pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence holding down this spot, Dallas tried the rookie first round pick on the right side to start his career – with the expected awful results. Able to generate push and capture the corner much easier as a left end, Charlton was able to put together some rush moves and set the edge with his solid base and strong hands. Breaking through for his first career sack in the clip above, Charlton notices the right tackle drop deep into his pass set. Instead of trying to run the arc and get to the quarterback, he keeps his momentum and rush going right at the blocker, who recovers to get Taco behind Alex Smith. With Charlton keeping his man away from his frame though, Smith holding onto the ball allows him to disengage and drill Smith in the back for a third down sack. There’s no telling what a performance like this, capped off with a fourth quarter sack, will do for Charlton’s confidence moving forward as a member of an amazingly productive defensive line in Dallas.


The Cowboys’ crucial stretch prior to their first meeting with the NFC East leading Eagles has gone as well as it could so far, with three wins against the 49ers, Redskins, and Chiefs. With the Eagles on a bye prior to week 11 in Dallas, the Cowboys are one game away from hosting Philadelphia with a chance to win and close the Eagles’ lead to just one game.

Playing at the sputtering Atlanta Falcons this Sunday, the Cowboys are on a mission to prove that their slow start will absolutely not define their 2017 season, dominating with complimentary football and elite quarterback play once again on Sunday.

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: Prescott’s Improvements, Front Seven Stand Out Vs Chiefs” in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we’re not how you think we are. Host of “Upon Further Review” on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

1 Comment
  • Hammer33

    You’re right of course, the woods breakup was much more impressive that the Heath pic.

    Woods is going to possibly be a good player one day, though you couldn’t tell that from last weeks performance. Heath had what, 6 solo tackles against SF?

    And not acknowledging Jones’ struggles tells me you have something against a perticular player.

    When a player does something well don’t just give them a backhanded sentence. Woods will not start for Heath this year. The coaches, team and front office know what he does well. If you want to dog him for tackles missed may I suggest you look at the entire league as everyone is struggling.

    With each article you prove exactly what you don’t know. Which is considerable.

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Mauricio Rodriguez



Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys headed to New York a couple of days ago with a mission: survive a potential trap game versus a 2-10 New York Giants team. Despite not getting most of the help they needed from other teams around the league, at least Dallas was able to do the job they could control.

Through three quarters, the Cowboys struggled a lot. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when they decided to have a touchdown party, outscoring the Giants 20-0 in the final eight minutes of the game.

What did we learn from the Cowboys’ seventh win of the season? Here is this week’s edition of Takeaway Tuesday! 

Dak Prescott Bounced Back

Although the Cowboys are a team that’s barely breathing in the playoff race, the truth is there’re a lot of ways that Dak has improved as a QB. It’s easy to look at a team lose football games and blame the QB without hesitating. That’s been the case most of the season.

It’s fair to say that Prescott hadn’t had an awesome game in a long time, though. But this time, he did just that.

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

Dak Prescott needed a performance like this one. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns last Sunday. He made some key throws and key reads during the game and managed to beat the Giants’ blitz with ease. Glad to see you hush the haters, 4.

Certainly a good thing to see when you need to go 3-0 in order to stay in the postseason conversation.

Concerns Around Dez Bryant Continue to Increase

Listen, I love Dez Bryant. He’s been one of my favorite players to ever watch. But at some point, you have to start admitting there is a problem. Yes, Dez Bryant has been struggling this season. Whether you want to blame Dak or Dez about it, it’s fair. I think they both are to blame.

The thing about Dez is that he can have quite a few bad plays and makes you forget about it when he  does something awesome. A perfect example of this is his 50-yard TD against the Giants last Sunday. It came at a perfect moment, but he had dropped some easy balls earlier in the game.

Dez – Streamable

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Dez is getting paid like an elite WR, and despite some great moments on the field, he’s been having a lot of bad ones lately. If you have a $70M contract, you can’t frequently drop passes like that.

It may be about chemistry with his new QB, it may be about age, or it may be just about a couple of bad years for the guy. Whatever it is, as much as we hate to say it, Dez isn’t anywhere close to the “top receivers” conversation this year.

Sean Lee Proved to be Invaluable Once Again

Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?I’m constantly amazed by the difference the Cowboys’ veteran linebacker makes when he’s on the field. In his heroic return against the Giants, he finished the day with 18 total tackles, 10 of which were solo. With Sean Lee on the field, this defense has been able to be a headache for opposing offenses.

Sean Lee could easily be this team’s MVP. For Cowboys Nation, it’s been a season of constantly missing football players in Dallas. Out of everyone, I think Sean Lee is the player we missed the most. Including Ezekiel Elliott.

This defense transforms into a very capable one with Lee around. The Cowboys need Zeke back if they want to have success in their hunt for the playoffs, but without Lee, they wouldn’t stand a chance.

Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis Are Still Killing It

Coming into this game, one of the biggest question marks was the cornerback position for Dallas. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis were going to get the start, and there’s always uncertainty around rookies going up against a QB like Eli Manning.

lewis – Streamable

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Look at that coverage by Jourdan Lewis. Look at him turn his head around when the ball’s coming. The way this secondary will grow is exciting to think about. The Cowboys have something special in these two guys. They’ll make for an amazing CB duo for years to come, and I’m excited about what they bring to the table.

Chidobe Awuzie has played the last two games, and he’s been very impressive. Throughout the entire game, his converge was pretty impressive. Eli only targeted him 5 times in the ballgame and was able to complete just two passes against him.

Sean Lee ended up with the interception late in the fourth quarter, but it was perfectly set up by Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie – Streamable

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It was a very fun fourth quarter for the Dallas Cowboys, and even though it looks difficult… this football team’s playoff hopes are still alive. Jason Garrett must keep this team focused in the Oakland Raiders for now, though.

Hope dies last, Cowboys Nation. Keep your head up.

Tell me what you think about “Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant” 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

Forget Elliott For Now, Cowboys Must Focus On Raiders

Kevin Brady



Despite looking dead to rights just two weeks ago, back to back wins have put the Dallas Cowboys into the playoff hunt with just three games remaining.

In order to even have a chance at sneaking in as the sixth seed, Dallas will need to win each of its remaining games to finish 10-6. In some ways, the playoffs started two weeks ago when Dallas took on the Washington Redskins. But even though this Sunday’s contest is another must-win, elimination game for the Cowboys, it’s also a classic “trap” or “look ahead” game as well.

Before the season started, most expected the Oakland Raiders to be competing for AFC supremacy. Like the Cowboys, Oakland bursted onto the scene in 2016 with a young quarterback, a dynamic offense, and an exciting roster. But, like the Cowboys, they have faltered a bit this season due to underperforming stars, injuries, and a somewhat undermanned defensive unit.

The Raiders are now 6-7, and while still alive in the AFC West race, saw their best shot at overtaking the division go up in a smoke last Sunday as they were demolished by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Simply put, the Raiders are not a very good football team right now. And though this will be a road game for the Cowboys, it is one they should win if they are truly a playoff team. In fact, it’s one they have to win if they want to keep their slim playoff chances alive.

The reason why this could potentially be a “trap” game of sorts is who the Cowboys are scheduled to play after traveling to Oakland. A team who has been a perennial playoff contender in the NFC, and a team directly in front of the Cowboys in the current NFC standings – the Seattle Seahawks.

Not only will that Seattle game be massively important to the Cowboys if they can sneak out of Oakland with a victory, it will also feature the return of star running back Ezekiel Elliott from his six game suspension.

December 24th will be a huge day in Dallas if the Cowboys can get to 8-6 this week, but they can ill-afford to look ahead to that potentially important showdown with the Seahawks. Because if they do and the Raiders upset them at the home in primetime, the Cowboys season will end before Elliott even gets the chance to come back.


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Game Notes

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants’ Blitz

Kevin Brady



Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

While much of Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants featured some ugly football from the Dallas Cowboys, the team continued to fight until completing a 20 point route of their division rivals.

Of course, stars emerged on both the offense and the defense throughout the game. Rod Smith had a breakout day, Dez Bryant made a couple of “vintage” plays, and Sean Lee returned to health and led the defense to a fantastic performance.

But as we all know, quarterbacks make the world go ’round. And no matter how great the other pieces play, it’s hard to win football games unless you can maintain high level quarterback play.

Dak Prescott returned to that high level against the Giants on Sunday.

Even if Prescott is missing throws or having accuracy issues, he had never lost his composure or made the wrong reads until that Atlanta Falcons debacle. I really believe that Dak lost faith in his protection, began abandoning clean pockets, and ended up having a few bad games in a row.

All seems right with Prescott now, as he threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns during the Cowboys’ big win. The area he was most impressive, was with those reads – specifically against the blitz.

dalvsnyg dak to dez td – Streamable

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On his first touchdown pass of the game, Dak Prescott beats the blitz perfectly. Just before snapping the ball, Prescott notices the safety roll down into the box. You can see him subtly move his arm to point out the safety, while calling it out to his linemen as well.

As soon as he gets the snap, Dak knows exactly where to go. The Giants tried to beat him with a delayed safety blitz, but once that safety comes, Prescott knows he has Dez Bryant in man coverage on the perimeter.

His eyes immediately snap that way, and his throw replaces the blitzer quickly. This allows Bryant to do the rest, and the Cowboys to tie the game.

dalvsnyg 17 cole beasley – Streamable

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Later in the game we see more of the same from Dak Prescott. With the game tied at 10 the Cowboys faced a critical third down backed up in their own territory. The Giants once again show blitz, bring the  blitz, and Dak burns them for it.

The Giants show man coverage across the board pre-snap, with safety Landon Collins on the near hash. Cole Beasley is in the near-slot, and while he technically has a man over him directly, the Giants show 2-over-1 in the slot pre-snap. This usually tips off a blitz, as the Giants plan to bring their slot defender off the edge, and allow Landon Collins to cover Beasley one on one.

Prescott notices this pre-snap once again, and makes the defense pay. He quickly replaces the blitzer with his throw, allowing Beasley to make the easy catch underneath and then do the rest after the catch.

This may not seem all the difficult to do to those analyzing the game the next morning, but these reads indicate high level quarterback-ing from the Cowboys’ franchise leader, Dak Prescott.

Last season against the Giants, their defense was able to bring more than the Cowboys could block on key third downs a few times. Too often, Prescott and the passing offense could not beat those blitzes.

That was not the case this week at all.


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