Connect with us

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Switzer and Woods Shine, Coaching Becoming a Concern

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on


For the Dallas Cowboys, things are far from being ideal. After suffering blowout losses in two consecutive weeks, there're a lot of things to think about. At this point, making the playoffs at all would be a huge surprise for a team that's suffered a lot of problems.

It isn't easy watching our favorite team, which was one of the unquestioned favorites to contend for the Super Bowl in 2017, be at the .500 mark with five wins and five losses. A team that right now, doesn't look promising at all and will probably miss the playoffs after being the #1 NFC seed with a 13-3 record less than a year ago.

But here we are, as we should always be. Win, lose or tie, we will always root for the Star. Having said so, here are this week's takeaways!

Ryan Switzer Shines in Special Teams

"Bad" would be an understatement when describing how last Sunday night went. But, let's start this article off with a positive note. Rookie Ryan Switzer had himself a good game versus the Eagles, including a 61-yard opening kickoff return.

Switzer15 - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Thanks to Switzer, the Cowboys were able to put three points on the board and take the early lead. While things didn't turn out the way we wanted after that, credit can't be taken away from the rookie returner.

Sometimes, in positions like this, confidence boosts can make a huge difference. Switzer also had other good plays, and this might be just what he needed. He's a player we definitely need to keep an eye on.

Anthony Brown Is a Big Concern

Remember when we were so excited for the sixth-round pick Anthony Brown? His rookie season was more than impressive and it looked like there was a future shut-down cornerback in town.

Life comes at you fast.

So far, Brown hasn't had anything close to a good year, and to be honest, there's not a lot of reasons to be hopeful. He's been burnt by a lot of receivers so far, and we're at a point where we have to have a conversation about #30.

brown - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Is it time to downgrade Brown? It may sound extreme, but with young players like Awuzie and Lewis, it would be interesting to give these players opportunities to fight for the starting jobs.

If the season continues to slip out of the Cowboys' hands, competition would be good for this group of guys.

Xavier Woods Should Remain This Team's Starting Safety

After Jeff Heath was ruled out with a concussion last Sunday, it was Xavier Woods' time to shine. Although the Eagles ultimately soared over this Sean Lee-less defense, we did see some promising things.

From the moment Woods was drafted, many of us believed he would end the year having earned the starting role from Jeff Heath. And I truly think he's about to take over.

Woods - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This is an example of why Woods should be starting at safety. He brings a unique play-making ability to the table. Notice how he takes away the running back's route just before running towards Wentz to make the stop.

He's done a good job just about every time he's on the field. To be fair, Jeff Heath hasn't done a lot to keep his job and it'd be good for this defense if the coaching staff finally gives the rookie safety the nod.

Running Game Wasn't as Impressive as Stats Say

Life without Ezekiel Elliott continues, as the Cowboys have lost both games they've played without him so far. In neither of the two games has the offense truly worked at all. 

However, the Dallas Cowboys finished the game with over 100 yards rushing, including 91 from back-up running back Alfred Morris. Those are some pretty numbers, considering Zeke isn't on the field.

However, although I hate to be the one with the pessimist takes, I believe the stats lie regarding the running game from this team. Sure, Morris eclipsed the 100-yard mark but was he consistent enough? My answer is no.

Morris - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Although Morris had a couple of big gains, the longest one being for 22 yards, the truth is the Cowboys weren't able to establish the run. To me, it felt a lot like 2015.

There were a couple of long runs which bulked up the stats, but there wasn't anything close to a running game that you can trust for those "third-and-short" sort of plays.

I still believe that Rod Smith and Darren McFadden should be given more opportunities to compete for Morris' job, and I think it would bring nothing but good things for this offense.

The Coaching Staff May Be In Jeopardy

Is Jason Garrett The Root Of The Cowboys Problem? 2I've repeatedly said that I'm not a part of the "Fire Garrett" or the "Fire Everyone" team.

Even still, every time I lean more towards this side of Cowboys Nation. This year specifically, the Cowboys have been out-coached pretty often.

Jason Garrett is a solid head coach, but I'm not sure if this is what this team needs anymore. If the Cowboys finish the season with an 8-8 record or worse, (which is not unlikely at all) I think that next offseason is when we'll see a change.

With the talent that this team has, it won't get any worse than this season. If Jerry Jones and company want to make a change, this is the year to do it.

As for the coordinators, I think that Rod Marinelli should be held accountable for the defensive struggles this team has had and a change of scheme would do nothing but good for a defense full of athletic players.

Although I also would be open for a change at the offensive coordinator position, I won't be surprised if the amount of talent this team has on offense will save Scott Linehan's job.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Switzer and Woods Shine, Coaching Becoming a Concern" 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.

Advertisement
10 Comments
  • Gregory Williams

    I agree about the running game McFadden and Smith should be given more carries and the coaching is terrible, I know Brown is struggling, but it just seems to me when a young player technique is in question that is coaching, bring Deion Sanders to work with on his technique

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Fair. It’d be an amazing story, Sanders coming to Dallas and helping these young players. Let’s hope Brown works on his technique and continues to improve. Thank you for reading, Gregory!

  • Hammer33

    Woods shined? What game were you watching young man. Pay attention at what is happening on the field and not your own personal agenda.

    Actually, why not consider a different career. You suck at this.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Hey there, good afternoon, young man. I stand by it. I know it’s difficult to evaluate a player when the team as a whole struggles and is defeated 39-7, but Woods stood out a few times on tape. He had a good game and should continue as this team’s starter, IMO.
      Thank you for the suggestion, but I love my job. Thanks for reading!

      • Hammer33

        If you think he showed up maybe you should let me point out a few things. He doesn’t move to the ball, he was a bystander. You would think that given the opportunity at hand we would have heard his name called. As many callers to local radio pointed out, we did not. Heath’s rookie start resulted in 9 tackles, a forced fumble and he ran megatron down from behind about at about 60 yards.

        Add to the fact that after taking a poor run fit on a play tat went for over 60 yards on the ground he was seen with a wide ass grin on tv, I’d say he has a way to go. And I don’t remember woods catching up to a middle of the road running back.

        You want woods to replace Heath, fine. You don’t have the facts to do so.

        You can love your job. You’re just not any good at it.

        • Mauricio Rodriguez

          Well, I do think Woods would be better on this defense than Heath. Not that I’m hating on Heath but I’m not making a decision like this by how both players did on their respective first career starts. I’d rather take a look at what 38 has contributed this year, which frankly, isn’t much.

          You can hate my job. That’s what opinions are for, no offense taken.

          • Hammer33

            A little more info for you. Heath is the number one graded dB by the coaches. They like him, they trust him and he has the trust of his teammates.

            He’s very sound in zone. And regardless of missed tackles on occasion, which everyone in the NFL seems guilty of, he’s active against the run.

            Since you like to refer to film, then watch all of it. Everyone can pick a play out here or there to make a point, which you have done. But there’s more to it. Also, you don’t know what Heath or anyone is being asked to do, that that’s also conjecture on your part.

            Believe me, I’ve made a living for 30 years at all levels of this game by being able to break down film. I know a little bit about it. If you were just a casual fan I would say nothing about it. But you’re putting articles on web sites that people read. Work on your objectivity and your accuracy. Try not to be just another ignorant fan..

  • Lee Bigtree Walker

    Jason garrett is not a solid coach. Linehan playcalling is plain as rain.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I do think we’ll see some changes in the coaching staff soon. Thanks for reading, Lee!

  • Jorge Gonzalez

    With all respect everyone talks about Morris was not consistent and they tell me about presscot he had to show that this is done, if he wants to win something important it’s time to show it, come see Aron Rodgers with less offensive line and making a great job, I expected something similar from Dak but I see that it will be another blunt Tony that never led us to win something important

Game Notes

Film Review: Connor Williams Overall Impressive In Preseason Debut

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Film Review: Connor Williams Overall Impressive In Preseason Debut

The collapse of the 2017 Dallas Cowboys can be, in large part, attributed to the collapse of their offensive line. When left tackle Tyron Smith was forced to miss time with various injuries, neither Chaz Green nor Byron Bell could get the job done in his place. Not only were these two replacements unsatisfactory, however, they were disastrous.

From the beginning of the 2017 season the Cowboys had a problem at left guard as well. With Ronald Leary departing for Denver and La'el Collins replacing Doug Free at right tackle, the left guard spot was left to an open competition between Jonathan Cooper and Chaz Green. Quite frankly, neither was impressive.

As a result Dak Prescott's sophomore season was nowhere near as fun or remarkable as his rookie season, and the Cowboys faltered down the stretch as a team. Trying to rectify these issues, Dallas drafted Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams in the second round of last year's draft.

Though it could be argued that, on paper, the Cowboys had more pressing needs than their All-Pro filled offensive line, adding a player like Connor Williams was exactly what this team needed to do if it wanted to emulate its 2016 success.

So, through one preseason game, how does the rookie look? Let's take to the film to decide just how good (or bad) Connor Williams was in his debut.

dalvssf2018 connor williams

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Let's begin with the bad. Really the only completely poor rep of the night for Connor Williams came on the first drive of the game. Williams is working against former first round pick DeForest Buckner here. Buckner, lined up as the 3 technique over Williams' outside shoulder, knows he is in a one-on-one situation with the rookie.

Buckner immediately swipes Williams' hands down, quickly flipping his hips and getting upfield. Besides not getting a strong enough punch, Williams' biggest mistake is that he stops his feet on contact. This allows Buckner to get him off balance, forcing Williams to bend at the waist and look lost.

Buckner then blows by him for the easy quarterback hit.

dalvssf2018 connor williams 2

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Later on the same drive we see Williams struggle to execute a reach block. Once again Williams is faced with a 3-technique, this time defensive tackle Sheldon Day. Day gets a great get-off, beating Williams initially with his first step. Day then does a great job of stoning Williams' playside shoulder and redirecting the running back.

This is another example of Connor Williams needing to increase his play strength and speed a bit. Multiple Cowboys reporters at training camp have mentioned these issues with Williams' game, and they flashed on tape during this rep.

Thankfully for both Connor Williams and the Cowboys, things only went uphill from here.

dalvssf2018 connor williams 3

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

On Dak Prescott's touchdown pass to Michael Gallup we see Connor Williams correct everything he had wrong earlier.

Williams comes out of his stance square, delivers a solid punch, and stones the defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. Williams stays strong with his hands even as the defender attempts to swipe them down as Buckner successfully did earlier.

He allows for no interior pass rush and keeps Prescott's vision clear down the field.

dalvssf2018 connor williams 4

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Earlier on the same drive we see Connor Williams work well off a double team and on to the second level. Williams delivers a solid punch to the 1-technique on the inside of him, allowing Travis Frederick plenty of time to overtake the man and drive him back.

What's most impressive, though, is how Williams keeps his shoulders square and his eyes on the second level the entire time. He never buries his head or over-commits to the down lineman, allowing himself to be an athlete and help spring Rod Smith for a nice gain.

Despite some legit reasons for concern about Williams' game, I do believe he will be fine moving forward. Connor Williams is an excellent plug and play left guard who provides some tackle depth as well, and is a vital addition to the Cowboys 2018 offense. His debut performance gives all of us even more reasons to be excited about this offensive line.



Continue Reading

Game Notes

What We May Have Learned From the Cowboys Week 1 Preseason Loss

Brian Martin

Published

on

5 Things We Might Have Learned From Cowboys Preseason Week 1

The Dallas Cowboys unfortunately came out on the losing end of the battle in their first preseason contest against the San Francisco 49ers, despite pretty much dominating the majority of the game. The good news is it was just an exhibition game and means relatively nothing in regards to the upcoming 2018 season.

Last week was the first chance for a lot of us to see what this years Dallas Cowboys team could possibly look like. There was a lot of roster turnover this offseason, which means there were quite a few new faces on the field for the Cowboys Thursday night. But, I can't say that I was disappointed in what I saw, at least so far.

Now that I've had time to study and evaluate the Dallas Cowboys game against the 49ers, I wanted to share with all of you some of the things we may have learned. Up until this point we were left speculating about certain things, but I think the picture is much clearer now.

To keep myself from going overboard here, I decided to narrow it down to just five things I think we may have learned about the 2018 Dallas Cowboys last Thursday night. Continue to read below to see what they are.

✭ Rookie WR Michael Gallup the Real Deal✭

Michael Gallup

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup

With so much unknown surrounding the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver position, it was really good to see rookie WR Michael Gallup play well against the San Francisco 49ers Thursday night. Despite being a rookie, Gallup looked like the best WR on the field for either team. I don't believe I'm exaggerating the slightest either.

The highlight of the game might have been when he and Quarterback Dak Prescott were able to hook up on a 30 yard touchdown pass to close out the Cowboys first offensive series. Gallup might have scored a second TD later in the game if QB Cooper Rush's pass wouldn't have been under thrown. But, that's neither here nor there now. If Gallup continues to play like he did Thursday night, he could easily be the Cowboys top WR in 2018.

✭ Blake Jarwin Favorite to Replace Jason Witten✭

Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim

Dallas Cowboys TEs Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim

Geoff Swaim may have gotten the start and provided some good blocking Thursday night against the 49ers, but it was Blake Jarwin who may have ended up becoming the favorite to replace Jason Witten this season. Out of all of the options in the receiving game for the Dallas Cowboys, it was Jarwin who was on the receiving end of Dak Prescott's first pass of the game. And, if he hadn't had stepped out of bounds later in the game he would've found himself in the end zone.

Now, it's a little early in the process to claim Jarwin as the victor in the Cowboys TE competition, but he was able to carry over what he's been doing in practice into the game. That's no small feat to accomplish. I'm sure we'll see some of the other TEs on the roster receive opportunities to prove themselves, but for now, it's looking as if it could be Blake Jarwin's job to lose.

✭ Tavon Austin More Than a "Gadget" Player✭

Ezekiel Elliott and Tavon

Dallas Cowboys RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tavon Austin

When the Dallas Cowboys traded for Tavon Austin earlier in the offseason no one really knew exactly what kind of offensive role they had in mind for him. Since arriving in Dallas, Austin has been described as a "web-back", but that made things even more confusing because it sounded like a made up position. The only thing anybody really knew is that Austin has been mostly a "gadget" player since entering the NFL.

I know it was just Week 1 of the preseason, but if Thursday night was any indication of how the Cowboys plan to use Austin, then he will be more than a "gadget" player this season. Austin didn't line up in the backfield or receive any handoffs. He didn't even return any punts or kickoffs against the 49ers. The only thing he did do was lineup at WR and run routes. His role could change and expand later, but it looks as if he will be more involved offensively than we had originally thought.

✭ DE Taco Charlton Looks Much Improved in Year 2✭

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton

The Dallas Cowboys defense may not have recorded a single quarterback sack Thursday night against the San Francisco 49ers, but they did put consistent pressure on the opposing QBs. One of those pass rushers to consistently pressure the QB was the Cowboys second-year Defensive End Taco Charlton, who looks like an entirely different player this year. He was getting after the QB, making tackles, and deflecting passes.

Charlton is starting to look more and more like the first-round draft pick the Cowboys were hoping he would be last year. He looks bigger, stronger, faster, and more technique sound than he did a season ago, which should be good news for the pass rush this season. He also showed that his knowledge of the game has improved. Last season he would've been fooled by some of those bootlegs, but it doesn't look to be the case now.

✭LB Depth No Longer a Concern✭

Joe Thomas

Dallas Cowboys LB Joe Thomas

The Dallas Cowboys played the entire game against the 49ers Thursday night without Sean Lee, their best defensive player. Unfortunately, it may have provided a glimpse of what we could see at some point during the 2018 season since #50 has a problem of remaining healthy. The good news is, it looks like the Cowboys have covered themselves for such scenario.

Yes, all eyes were on Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch against the 49ers Thursday night, and rightfully so. Both players didn't do anything to disappoint, but it was the Cowboys free agent addition, Joe Thomas, who stole the show. Thomas was filling in for Sean Lee and did an outstanding job doing so. He was all over the field and even ended up getting an interception off a Kavon Frazier deflection. The way all the Cowboys LBs played should ease any concerns with the depth of the position heading into the 2018 season.

What stood out for you in the Dallas Cowboys game against the 49ers?



Continue Reading

Game Notes

LB Joe Thomas Steals The Show In San Francisco

Kevin Brady

Published

on

LB Joe Thomas Steals The Show In San Francisco
Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into last night's preseason opener Cowboys fans had their minds on three linebackers: Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, and Leighton Vander Esch. Of course, they were right to focus on those three. They are the three most talented linebackers on the roster, and each were taken within the first two rounds of their respective drafts.

During the game against the San Francisco 49ers, however, an under-the-radar linebacker stole the show for the Dallas Cowboys. If you were watching you know that linebacker is Joe Thomas. With Sean Lee out Joe Thomas got a chance to play with the first team defense, and boy did he take advantage of that opportunity.

Joe Thomas finished his night with five tackles, one TFL, and an interception on the play below. Thomas was relentless in pursuit, flying all over the field and keeping himself near the ball at all times. This relentlessness put him in position to capitalize on Kavon Frazier's pass deflection, and come away with the pick.

Multiple times during the first half Joe Thomas made everyone in Cowboys Nation ask "who is that!?" And in the preseason, that's at the top of the to-do list of every lesser-known player.

NFL on Twitter

On the very next play... PICKED. #DALvsSF https://t.co/X62FGTNpKV

Over the last few seasons the Cowboys have severely lacked depth at the linebacker position. When starting WILL Sean Lee is out, which happens quite frequently, the entire unit seems to fall apart. Their attempts at bargain shopping at linebacker, or snagging mid-round depth in the draft, hasn't necessarily worked all that well.

Adding Leighton Vander Esch during the 2018 draft was a step towards building the linebackers as a complete unit, but Joe Thomas' performance last night adds even more stability.

No, Thomas isn't going to take a starting role from Sean Lee, but he does add quality depth behind what are high profile linebackers. Jaylon Smith looked better and healthier last night than he has during his entire time as a Dallas Cowboy, Vander Esch looked like an athletic freak at times, and Sean Lee is still Sean Lee.

If Joe Thomas is going to show up like he did against the 49ers on a nightly basis, the Cowboys suddenly possess one of the deeper front sevens in all of football.



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending