Before we dive into the offseason, it’s important we take one final look at the Cowboys’ game performance. This is the last chance to analyze actual game play and will go a long way in determining the future of many Cowboys coaches and players.
Game Notes and Observations:
- Doug Free deserves a little kudos for his turnaround. He is playing well and is worth his contract (at the reduced salary of course). He thrives in the Cowboys Zone Blocking Scheme and does particularly well in sealing the backside on cutback runs. He’s not a Pro Bowler but he’s certainly better than average which is better than most of his teammates can claim.
- The Cowboys ran a Jumbo package using 3 TEs and only 1 WR. Why would Miles Austin be the 1 WR? What kind of threat does he pose? In addition, Bryant and Williams are both better run blockers. Miles Austin’s inclusion in this offense has boggled my mind all season. Consider him gone next year. He is sure to be a Designated June 1st cut.
- Murray’s fumble wasn’t a matter of carelessness but just a great defensive play. Murray never really holds the ball extremely secure but he’s rarely careless either. His 1st quarter fumble was a credit to the defense.
- The Cowboys struggled covering HBs all season. Part of the blame goes to the depleted LB corps but the coaching staff also shares blame. The Cowboys have been slow to recognize and to come up with alternate ways to deal with HBs in predictable pass patterns.
- DeVonte Holloman is an excellent prospect for the Cowboys. He has speed and instincts. He was abused a bit in coverage but he shows a natural ability in coverage none-the-less. He’s an aggressive tackler and a playmaker. He has a bright future in Dallas.
- The Cowboys have a pretty decent LB corp with Holloman, Bruce Carter, Kyle Wilber, and Sean Lee. They will need Lee to stay healthy, Carter to rebound, and Holloman to continue his development in 2014.
- Philly was giving the Cowboys many opportunities for slant passes and HB passes all game. The Cowboys didn’t do enough to take advantage.
- Teams target Brandon Carr. When Carr was on DeSean Jackson, Jackson seemed to play harder. When Scandrick was on Jackson, Jackson appeared to take the play off.
- Jeff Heath is really bad but he’s all the Cowboys had. He’s pretty smart and gets in position to make the play, he just lacks the ability. This is what happens when a team ignores the safety position for years.
- Demarcus Ware plays better from the 2-point stance than the 3-point stance. This has nothing to do with a 3-4 defense vs a 4-3 defense (since stance is pretty irrelevant), it’s just an observation this season.
- Terrance Williams reminds us how stupid the Cowboys are for burying him behind Austin on the depth chart. What does Austin offer that’s better than what Williams offers?
- Morris Claiborne played very well. He was largely avoided in the passing game. He played aggressively and confidently. Let’s pray this game gives him some momentum heading into the offseason. The Cowboys NEED Mo to step up into the #1 role in the worst way. The Cowboys are financially committed to their CBs and improvement must come from within.
- The Cowboys coaching staff started QB Kyle Orton with timing based routes that released the ball quickly and hit players in stride. By the second half they abandoned it and had him drop back and wait. This resulted in short passes with no YAC and more overall risk to the QB.
- The INT Witten allowed was puzzling. Witten is fundamentally phenomenal in receiving skills. Palms out with his hands in the diamond shape. I’m not sure why he was lazy is his receiving attempt on the INT.
- The Cowboys defense is at it’s worst in a hurry-up.
- Witten needs to receive the ball in-stride if the Cowboys want to gain any YAC. It’s ridiculous to throw a 3 yard pass to Witten on 3rd and 7 when Witten is stopped. He will not get a first down that way 90% of the time.
- The Cowboys D-line looked good but the Eagles O-line was TERRIBLE. Some credit goes to Dallas but most blame goes to Philly.The Cowboys must address their D-line above all else this offseason. They will probably have 3 starting spots to fill assuming Hatcher and Spencer both leave.
- Bruce Carter may win the award for most disappointing Cowboy this season. Expectations were high and he failed in every way.
- 4th and 1 from on the 40 and the Cowboys unsuccessfully passed. Surprisingly I didn’t hate the call. The Eagles appeared stacked at the line and Cowboys aren’t great in short yardage run situations. The play didn’t come close to working, but pre-snap, I probably would have called the same thing.
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