Cowboys at Redskins Film Review: Standouts, Notes, and Observations


The Cowboys traveled to Landover to take on the Washington Redskins on Monday night. After a quick study of the film, here are the early standouts, notes, and observations…

We knew coming into this game that things probably wouldn’t look pretty. But this one proved to be downright ugly. Both the Cowboys and the Redskins have struggled mightily on offense this year and many of those struggles stepped front and center on Monday night.

Once again, the Cowboys lost the turnover differential battle, giving up three on offense and claiming zero on defense. It’s extremely hard to overcome a -1 differential and it’s nearly impossible to overcome -3. Luckily special teams picked up the slack and gave the Cowboys a turnover and reduce the margin to -2.

Here are Monday’s standouts, notes, and observations:

  • The Cowboys have generated the majority of their pass-rush this season by stunting and gaming their way along the defensive line. On the first snap of the game, Demarcus Lawrence collected a sack by stunting inside while Tyrone Crawford attacked the B-gap of Brandon Scherff and Barry Church blitzed from the outside.
  • The Cowboys did the same thing again on 3rd and 6, stunting Lawrence inside and getting a strip-sack.  These have been successful but still used sparingly this season because it often presents vulnerabilities against the run.
  • You don’t have to watch the film to see that DeMarcus was the best defensive lineman on the field for the Cowboys. He was moving faster off the snap than anyone else and was making plays against the run displaying patience and discipline.

  • I caught both Doug Free and Travis Frederick missing early blocks because they were slow out of their stances. Travis Frederick recovered as the game progressed. Doug Free did not. Doug Free is notorious for peppering in “stinkers” and this was one. All due credit though, Free did a solid job sealing the backside in the running game.
  • I thought the Cowboys would be shadowing

    Jordan Reed


    Byron Jones

    all night but they mixed up the coverage and disguised Byron Jones throughout the game. Some of those were pretty tricky and Byron Jones executed them with near-perfection.

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  • Terrance Williams had a very strong game. He played the ball in the air with veteran savvy, finishing the back shoulder passes correctly and played an under-thrown fly route brilliantly. Williams is a complete anomaly. One moment he looks like he could be a real #2 WR in this league and the next moment you wonder if he even belongs in this league.
  • The Cowboys are the worst team in 3rd and 1 situations for a reason – they are bad in obvious man blocking situations (MBS). The Cowboys favor the zone blocking scheme (ZBS) over man roughly 70/30. They are unquestionably the best team in the NFL in ZBS but usually win in MBS by catching opponents off-guard. In short yardage situations, the man blocking scheme is the preferred scheme in most offenses since it is often a faster developing scheme. Defenses know this and they beat the Cowboys over and over again.

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