Cowboys at Saints Film Review: Standouts and Observations


The Cowboys lost their second game in a row Sunday night in New Orleans, evening their record to 2-2. What stood out on tape as we review the game?

Here are week 4’s standouts notes and observations:

  • The Saints didn’t respect the deep game much, often playing press coverage with single high safety. In the redzone the Cowboys faced all 11 Saints defenders in the box and in press. These are matchups Brandon Weeden must recognize pre-snap and audible into a pass. Equally as important is the Cowboys WRs getting open in single coverage.  Terrance Williams specifically needs to beat single coverage at every opportunity. He struggled to do so 90% of the time.
  • On the Cowboys first drive, Weeden saw single coverage on Williams and tried to hit him deep. The pass was a 20 yard lob that requires perfect timing between QB and WR. Williams appeared to slow his pace as he jockeyed for position. His reduced speed impacted the timing, ending in an incompletion.

    Jack Crawford

    was getting blown off the line in the running game. Crawford has a great burst off the snap but he’s an enormous liability against the run. On one play, TE

    Ben Watson

    moved Crawford up field by himself.

    the Dallas Cowboys have the most talented training room in the NFL

  • Andrew Gachkar has been a complete steal for the Cowboys. From the preseason to Week 4, Gachkar has graded out positive on a consistent basis. The versatile LB is primarily a run-stopper but he’s also a strong blitzer and decent in zone coverage.
  • Want to know why the Cowboys can’t run the ball? Ten Saints defenders line up within five yards from the line of scrimmage and the Cowboys opt to run the ball on a toss right. This happened over and over again Sunday night and the Cowboys ran right into their strength. Defenses are not respecting the passing game and the Cowboys aren’t even attempting to keep them honest in these situations.

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    As I’ve mentioned for the past year, Brandon Weeden never looks to his left. Even the numbers NBC showed are being generous to Weeden’s propensity to ignore the port side. Less than 10% of Weeden’s passes are targeted to the left and his interception percentage is twice that of the center and right. Perhaps it was just an elaborate long-con that paid off on the streak by Brice Butler in the third quarter. Naw…

    Once again, DeMarcus Lawrence struggled with setting the edge against the run. He allowed tackles and tight ends to seal him off and set up positive runs to the right (offensive right). Lawrence has the ability to be strong against the run but he’s had two sloppy games in a row where he played very undisciplined.

  • Speaking of discipline, Nick Hayden has phenomenal gap discipline and is the most underrated Cowboy defender. More on this tomorrow…
  • With all the injuries this season, the Dallas Cowboys have the most talented training room in the NFL.

    The NFC East will only be sending the division winner to the playoffs. The NFC South (with Carolina and Atlanta) and the NFC West (with Seattle and Arizona) will be the divisions claiming the wild card spots this season. With impending losses against Seattle, New England, and probably even New York, the Cowboys could not afford to lose these past two weeks. Much can happen between now and the end of the season but it’s safe to say this season has been an epic disaster and the Cowboys are going to be longshots to make the playoffs unless they can steal a game or two.

    Next: Rangers fight back and win AL West

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