Cowboys vs Giants Film Review: Standouts, Notes, and Observations


The Cowboys continued their slide on Sunday, losing a forth straight game and playoff hopes in the process.

The Cowboys game wasn’t all bad on Sunday. The running game was the best it’s looked all season, the play-calling  was finally working for the Cowboys rather than against the Cowboys, and the defense played an all-around strong game. Unfortunately the three interceptions and kick-off return TD were far too much to overcome for a talent deprived Cowboys offense.

After reviewing the game tape, here are more Cowboys standouts, notes, and observations:

The Cowboys offense tried some new motions and nontraditional packages to get their receivers open. It’s good to see the coaching staff try new things but it remains a curiosity as to why it took so long.

  • The Cowboys run defense is at its weakest up the middle. Besides DT Nick Hayden, the Cowboys lack the girth and gap discipline at both the defensive line and the linebacker level.
  • The passing game opened things up behind new signal-caller,

    Matt Cassel

    , but Cassel showed a couple problematic elements to his game (besides the interceptions) that need to be corrected.

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    • Missing pocket presence: Cassel didn’t play with much natural feel, he instead relied on an internal clock. More game time should remedy the situation but in the meantime he’s leaving plays on the field.
    • Propensity to stare down receivers: Cassel often makes his intentions glaringly obvious from the moment of the snap. The Seattle defensive backs are watching film and will be eager to jump routes when they face off with the Cowboys next week.

    La’el Collins had a predictably solid game. His strength is clearly pass-protection and he showed that on Sunday afternoon. He used good technique and solid balance to neutralize the pass-rush. As expected, Collins also struggled in the running game. Collins had problems picking up players to block at the second level and was often over powered/out leveraged at the point of attack. Collins will markedly improve if he can just get his pad level lower. That’s why I still project him to be a better tackle than he is a guard.

    Speaking of tackle,

    Doug Free

    has been an asset as a run-blocker this season but I’ve given him negative grades as a pass protector for all but one game this season. La’el Collins should be the Cowboys RT by 2017 at the latest.

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  • Brandon Carr had good initial coverage against Ruben Randle when he made the 44 yard one handed catch. A weakness of Carr is when he looks back to play the ball, he slows down. This isn’t just a one-time event either, it is a reoccurring trend and a flaw in Carr’s game, making him a liability in man coverage without safety help.
  • RB Darren McFadden and S Barry Church had good bounce-back performances. They have been disappointing as of late, but played with an extra level of tenacity on Sunday. Church was strong in run support and McFadden was powerful as a runner and as a pass-protector.
  • Next: Stephen A Smith callas America Idiots

    It’s looking more and more like this team will not survive the loss of Tony Romo. With four weeks until his return the Cowboys don’t appear able to win without their top signal-caller.