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Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Victory Over Cardinals

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Victory Over Cardinals 1

Oh, boy. Didn't we all miss this Dallas Cowboys victory feeling? I sure did. The Cowboys beat the Arizona Cardinals 28-17 last Monday Night and it was a good one. After a long loss week, the Cowboys are 2-1 and ready to roll.

It was an ugly start, no doubt. The Cowboys were slow at the beginning of the game but fortunately, they picked it up.

A win is a win. At the end of the day, that's what matters.

And like losses, you learn a lot from victories. Here are my takeaways from yesterday's win over Arizona. 

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DeMarcus Lawrence Is a "War Daddy"

This franchise has been looking for a legit "War Daddy" for a long time now. The Cowboys may have depth in their defensive line, but they need someone who can consistently pressure the quarterback for this defense to get to another level.

DeMarcus Lawrence is proving to be that guy. Lawrence has been in this team for a while, but this is the first season he is completely healthy. And he is killing it.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

Demarcus Lawrence continues to ball https://t.co/08lTJRFrdx

He currently leads the NFL with 6.5 sacks in just three games. He is one and a half sack away from his career record. We're three weeks into the season. These are All-Pro kind of numbers.

D-Law and the Cowboys have faced three pretty bad offensive lines, but a healthy and confident #90 might keep it up all season.

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Yes... Dak Is Still Dak

It's amazing how two weeks of NFL action are enough for people to claim a player isn't good anymore. And while it is true that Dak has struggled a little bit, it isn't fair at all to say he isn't a good QB.

Dak Prescott remains a very talented and poised player. And he still has a great arm. He showed it twice in two amazing plays with Brice Butler. While running to the sidelines on both plays, Dak threw two great throws to #19.

Dak1 - Streamable

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The offensive line hasn't been as good as it should be. The running game could be better, to be honest. Dak will inevitably struggle more than he did last season because of this same reason. Teams want to stop Zeke.

Without a great running game, he will need to pull these wins off. Let's hope he does. I'm sure he will.

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The Cowboys Need Their Playmakers

For a moment, the game was feeling exactly like the Denver Broncos game. The Cardinals easily drove the ball down the field to get a TD, the Cowboys had a three and out, and it simply felt like the Cowboys were being dominated.

Then Dak Prescott injected life into the offense. After throwing a precise throw to rookie WR Noah Brown to get the first and goal, Dak executed the best play of the game. From the 10-yard line he faked the handoff to Zeke just to keep it and dive into the end zone to score six points upside down.

Cowboys en Español: Proyectando el Roster de 53 Jugadores

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Dez Bryant Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On another drive, Zeke ran for 20 yards even though he was contacted at the line of scrimmage. Elliott's run set up the next Cowboys TD, featuring Dez Bryant.

Dez had to shake off two defenders before dragging about half of the Cardinals' defense for the TD. It was awesome, and it was one of those plays only Dez could pull off.

These three guys, these three playmakers gave this team life when they needed it the most. And if the Cowboys want to keep winning games this season, especially with such a tough schedule, they will need them just about every week.

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Jourdan Lewis Will Be So Good

DeMarcus Lawrence may have had three sacks last night, but Jourdan Lewis could easily be awarded the MVP of the game award. He saved this defense from a lot of problems.

With six tackles and a deflected pass, all of them in key moments, Lewis shined in his second NFL game. His open field tackling and awareness skills are truly insane. The guy didn't have a single preseason snap!

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

Jourdan Lewis has ball skills. https://t.co/REgDhUg80o

Lewis should get a lot more snaps from now on, even if Awuzie and Carroll return. He is better than both of them, and he is proving it. He has a certain aggressiveness to him, it seems natural. Not many players have that... that's special.

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The Dallas Cowboys Are Fine

I won't lie by saying the Cowboys don't have a single problem. Because they do. For some reason, the offensive line hasn't lived up to the hype, the team has had slow starts and more issues. But there's no reason to press that panic button yet.

Last year, after week three, the Cowboys were 2-1. They are 2-1 after three games now, too. This team has a lot to work on, but they are okay for now.

We're talking about a league were neither of the two defending conference champions are winning in dominant fashion.

This team can be better. And they probably will get better. That doesn't mean they're not contenders... they are. They'll get there.

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The Dallas Cowboys will be back at AT&T Stadium next week, ready to face the 2-1 Los Angeles Rams. It will be an interesting matchup... But hey, it's Tuesday... How about we enjoy another victory week?

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Victory Over Cardinals" 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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12 Comments
  • Donny King

    this maybe just nit picking, the Dallas defense left 4 INT’s on the field, 1 by Xavier Woods, 1 by Scandrick, 1 by Heath and 1 by D-Law, but other then that, a satisfying win, but how fitting is it last time Dallas faced Arizona in the regular season they lost 28-17

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Interesting fact, didn’t know that. I agree about the INTs. Thank you for reading!

      • Donny King

        ya the 28-17 loss is the week after Tony went down against Redskins in 2014 and brandon weeden took over, offense only put up 10 points, the other 7 came from a 59 yard pick 6 from tylar patmon

  • Ethan Chazin

    First off, great game (and start to the season) by Tank but let’s hold off on the rush to give him that huge contract #2, since we saw how that worked with Tyrone Crawford. Next, just curious when someone who is an “expert” analyst is going to call out Taco Charlton for being a bust of a #1 pick so far and point out how our #2 draft pick Awuzie has been a non factor so far. It will be nice to get David Irving back in 2 weeks. It is surprising to see Alfred Morris be active/McFadden and Charles Tapper inactive. Good win. Resilient! Welcome to the team Brice Butler!

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Great game, I agree! I’m not sure I understand who are you blaming of calling Taco a bust and saying Awuzie has been a non factor though. You have a point as to the contract for Lawrence. We have to see if he keeps it up.

      • Ethan Chazin

        I am suggesting the announcers who cover games and reporters on blogging the boys, dallascowboys.com acknowledge taco as a bust at pick 28 and hopefully awuzie can return next week also zack martin is gonna get paid as top o lineman this season so the cap is gonna be tight plus room dead $$$

        • Mauricio Rodriguez

          Leggo.

        • Donny King

          unless your picking at 10 or below you cannot expect a defensive end taking in the high 20’s to have an immediate impact,, he’s still learning, and he’s had a few QB pressures

          • Ethan Chazin

            Donny quote a few folks were saying that about taco b/4 the draft that he was a project but then why draft him in that spot? Because we were drafting for need DE and available talent at that spot so given he amount of development he requires did it make sense to in effect take a flyer on a 1st round pick???

          • Mauricio Rodriguez

            I’m not calling him a bust or anything but Donny does have a point here, IMO. Pick 27 for a DE usually means he will need some developing. We’ll have to wait a bit.

          • Ethan Chazin

            Ok so we disagree I believe a 1st round draft pick at ANY position starts and must contribute. Not all will be Joey boss but come on, you have to show up in the stat sheet it is inexcusable to talk about his playing time as # of “pressures”

          • Mauricio Rodriguez

            Yeah, I disagree. I don’t believe that at that point you have to be a immediate starter., especially if it’s a DE.

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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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



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