Cowboys at Tampa Bay Film Review: Standouts, Notes, and Observations


The Cowboys took on the Buccaneers on Sunday searching for their first win since September. What did the film tell us about the Cowboys yesterday?

Statistics don’t tell the whole story, that’s why we slow the film down and watch the individual execution every week. After reviewing the game tape, here are Sunday’s standouts, notes, and observations:

  • The Cowboys are again playing three and four safeties at a time. The main starters, Barry Church and Byron Jones are joined by J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath in passing situations and nickel/dime formations. Without a dominant TE to cover in man, Jones was taking a role of centerfielder for the Cowboys more often keeping Church up in the box. 
  • As a centerfielder, Byron Jones has the natural instincts that Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox seem to lack. His reaction time needs work but experience should be able to help him there. A good centerfield safety is perhaps the hardest thing to find in the NFL. If the Cowboys can make Jones a centerfielder, in addition to being a strong in-the-box man coverage safety, they will have a very rare commodity.
  • Brandon Carr is quietly having a fantastic season. Rating as the top cornerback on the Cowboys, Carr has been strong in man coverage and reliable in open field tackling. This is Carr’s longest stretch playing good football since he’s joined the Cowboys and it’s happened without the Cowboys pass-rush improving.
  • Jeremy Mincey

    has been a constant force rushing the passer and adding pressure on regular basis but he’s been coming up just short on sacks. He’s had multiple opportunities (two this week alone) where he had the sack but couldn’t make the tackle.

    More from Sports Dallas Fort-Worth

  • Greg Hardy was having a tough time most of the afternoon, especially when playing against the Bucs rookie LT. Hardy is at his best when stunting and gaming and it would be nice to see Rod Marinelli increase these in coming weeks.
  • Darren McFadden graded pretty poorly on the day. He failed to make the second level moves and as Joe Randle once said about a different RB, “he left a lot of meat on the bone.”
  • The Cowboys got their first 4


    quarter takeaway in seven weeks when the opportunistic Jeff Heath corralled his second tipped ball for interception. Jeff Heath had an ok game overall but the tipped balls were simply a matter of “right place, right time” and not great play.

    More from Dallas Cowboys

    Tampa Bay mixed their coverages. One play they covered Dez in a close press look at the line, then chase with deep coverage responsibility and safety help. The next play they lined up seven yards off with short zone and deep safety help. Another time they push a linebacker back into zone to cut off the slant and let the corner drop back with deep responsibility. In other words, the Bucs were disguising and changing coverage constantly on Dez’s side of the field.

  • Randy Gregory’s effort was questionable and his second effort was almost non-existent.
  • Next: Cowboys Problems Run Deeper Than Romo

    • Don’t let the announcers fool you; Anthony Hitchens was not great in pass-coverage on Sunday. Just because the pass is incomplete doesn’t mean the coverage was strong. Hitch is great near the line of scrimmage but gets lost the farther back he plays. He’s consistently a great run-stopper and below average in pass-coverage.