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

Mauricio Rodriguez

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 @MauNFL 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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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

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Indianapolis

Brian Martin

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Indianapolis

In a game we all hoped would clinch the NFC East division, the Dallas Cowboys instead got shut out by the Indianapolis Colts in one of their worst performances of the season. It was a deplorable performance in every aspect of the game and something we hope to never see again.

I knew sooner or later the Dallas Cowboys self-inflicted wounds would catch up to them, and that's exactly what happened against the Colts. They had far too many penalties and mental mistakes once again and it allowed Indianapolis to take over the game. The Cowboys beat themselves plain and simple.

Before I get on a rant about yesterday's game, I better stick to the topic at hand and share with you what I believe to be The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys. As always, please feel free to use the comment section located at the end of the article to share any of your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

The Good

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

In a game where just about everything went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys it sometimes a little difficult to find any kind of silver lining. That was the case this week after the Cowboys were shut out by the Indianapolis Colts. But, the good for me is that Dallas still holds their playoff fate in their hands, despite the embarrassing loss.

Any thoughts of sitting any of the starters for the Cowboys has now gone out the window. They absolutely have to play to win to close out the 2018 regular-season, because they failed to do what needed to be done against the Colts to secure the NFC East division title. Luckily though, it didn't close the door on their playoff aspirations.

With the Buccaneers and Giants left remaining on their schedule, the Cowboys will have to find some way to get back to their winning ways. Hopefully this was just the slap in the face they needed in order to put things in perspective. They simply can't afford another showing like they had against Indianapolis at any point moving forward.

The Bad

Xavier Su'a-flio

Dallas Cowboys LG Xavier Su'a-flio

I knew exactly what I was going to put in the section as soon as it happened during the game. The bad this week for the Dallas Cowboys against the Indianapolis Colts for me was without a doubt their banged up, patched together offensive line.

The Cowboys were forced to go with a patchwork offensive line for the majority of the game against the Colts yesterday afternoon after Xavier Su'a-flio left the game after an eye injury, forcing the Cowboys to go with their third string offensive guard Adam Redmond. Su'a-flio immediately had to leave the stadium to have his eye examined by an optometrist, suggesting that it was a pretty significant injury.

Unfortunately, another injury on the OL for the Cowboys leaves them severely thin depth wise at the most inopportune time. Hopefully a week of rest has done Zack Martin's injured knee some good and he will be able to return to the lineup as soon as possible. That would allow Connor Williams to move back to LG and hopefully solidify the offensive line once again.

The Ugly

Marlon Mack, Chidobe Awuzie

Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack

Maybe I underestimated the Indianapolis Colts offense or maybe I just overrated the Dallas Cowboys defense, but something was clearly off yesterday afternoon on the defensive side of the ball for the Cowboys. After being so good nearly all season, they were just plain ugly against Indianapolis.

The Cowboys defense didn't have an answer for the Colts offense, especially in the running game. Marlon Mack, a solid runner although not spectacular, completely gashed the Cowboys usually stout run defense. He ran for 139 rushing yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns, something that's been unheard of against Dallas' run D.

I was honestly completely shocked he had so much success. There were far too many missed tackles and blown assignments to my liking and I believe the coaching staff will make sure to focus on clearing that up moving forward. This team can't afford to let opposing offenses control the clock with their rushing attack. That's the Cowboys MO.

What's your good, bad, and ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against Indianapolis?



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Game Notes

IND 23, DAL 0: Cowboys Get Shut Out, Embarrassed by Colts

Jess Haynie

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Is Dak Prescott's Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?

The Dallas Cowboys must think they've already won the NFC East, because they looked like a team with nothing to play for today. The result was an embarrassing 23-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

The Cowboys were shut out for the first time since the 2003 season, which was Jason Witten's rookie year.

Dallas squandered a major time-of-possession advantage in the first half, finishing three drives with a blocked field goal, punt, and a failed 4th-and-1 play near the Colts' goal line. Indianapolis capitalized on their own drives and took a 10-0 lead into halftime.

The Colts got the ball back to start the third quarter and drove down for another touchdown. Down 17-0, Dallas responded with a weak drive and a punt. The game felt out of reach even then, with the Cowboys just looking flat from that point forward.

Ezekiel Elliott had 87 rushing yards 41 receiving for some empty production. Amari Cooper won't be winning any awards this week, held to just four catches for 32 yards.

Dak Prescott completed 62% of his passes for 206 yards. He was sacked three times and threw a late interception; an overthrown ball got tipped by the receiver and picked off on the team's final offensive series.

While the offense was especially bad today, the defense wasn't much better. Dallas surrendered 139 yards rushing yards and two touchdown to Colts RB Marlon Mack, who hadn't had a 100-yard game since October. Andrew Luck wasn't sacked and went virtually untouched the entire day.

The Cowboys could have taken the NFC East with a win, but they didn't come close. Hopefully this serves as a wake-up call with the postseason only a few weeks away.

Other Notes

  • With the Redskins defeating the Jaguars today, Dallas will have to wait until next week to try to clinch the NFC East. The Cowboys needed losses by both Washington and Philadelphia if they didn't win themselves. The Eagles are visiting the Rams tonight.
  • The Cowboys will get some softer competition to finish the year, hosting the Buccaneers next week and then going to play the Giants in Week 17.
  • With the Bears defeating the Packers today and moving to 10-4, they will likely stay the #3 seed in the playoffs. That means Dallas, assuming they do win the NFC East, will almost certainly be hosting the 5th-seeded Seahawks in the first round.
  • Jaylon Smith led the Cowboys with 11 tackles, but neither he or Leighton Vander Esch were making the big plays that we've grown accustomed to.
  • Xavier Woods had the highlight play on defense, delivering a perfect hit to dislodge the ball from Colts TE Eric Ebron and stop a potential big gain.
  • Blake Jarin and Dalton Schultz combined for seven catches for 68 yards; another week of increased TE production from what we've seen must of the year.
  • Fullback Jamize Olawale doesn't get many opportunities on offense, and he may not get more after dropping an open touchdown on the team's second drive of the day.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Can’t Finish Drives, Trailing Colts 10-0 at Halftime

Jess Haynie

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Dak Prescott

The Cowboys have had no trouble moving the ball today, but they've failed to finish drives with points. Dallas is thus trailing the Indianapolis Colts 10-0 at halftime.

Dallas has had possession for over 19 minutes compared to just 10 for the Colts. But their three drives have ended with a blocked field goal, a failed 4th-and-1 play near the endzone, and a punt.

Ezekiel Elliott has 64 rushing yards and 23 receiving so far today. Dak Prescott has completed 12-of-19 for 106 yards, but has been sacked twice.

The offensive line continues to suffer from health issues. With Zack Martin already out and Connor Williams starting at right guard, Xavier Su'a-Filo left the game with an eye injury during the second quarter and will not return. Backup Adam Redmond is now playing.

The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East with a win in any of their final three games. They could also clinch today if the Redskins and Eagles lose. Washington is trailing 10-3 in Jacksonville at halftime, and the Eagles are visiting the Rams tonight.

Hopefully, Dallas will start showing up on the scoreboard in the second half.



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