Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins: Game 2 Notes and Observations

Sep 18, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) walks off the field after the Cowboys
Sep 18, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) walks off the field after the Cowboys /

The Dallas Cowboys won an important division game against the defending NFC East champion Redskins yesterday. Here are the Game 2 notes and observations.

It wasn’t always pretty for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday but at the end of the day, they got the job done, winning 27-24. The good news is the offense found a way to finish drives and the defense found a way to get stops when it mattered the most.

Before we review the All-22 film on Tuesday, here are some notes and observations from the contest between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins.

  • Everyone thought the ball was going to Dez on the first play. That’s why it was such a savvy move to throw the ball underneath to Cole Beasley. In fact, most of Beasley’s damage is running under Dez Bryant. It may time to permanently join these two and build their routes to work more harmoniously together.
  • The Cowboys started, once again, running it in up the middle in what appears to be a man blocking scheme. In the first quarter, Doug Free completely whiffed his block and doomed the run before it ever had a chance. On the next drive, Free gave up a sack. As a whole, the O-line is underachieving but Doug Free is the biggest underachiever of the group.
  • In no situation should a run-stopping LB like Andrew Gachkar chase a player like DeSean Jackson across the field in coverage. Creative blitzing is fine but that mismatch will beat you every time.
  • Rod Marinelli likes to blitz using his defensive backs but I would be interested in seeing the success rate for this over the past couple years. It seems to me it’s an extremely low success rate and more often than not, leads to big plays for the offense.

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    Once again, the Cowboys stunted their linemen a high percentage of the time and once again, it didn’t do much to pressure the QB. Sadly, Rod Marinelli needs to keep doing this because, frankly, there aren’t a whole lotta options. Blitzing has obvious coverage liabilities and without a pure pass-rusher who can do it alone, stunts and games are all the Cowboys have.

  • There’s a learning curve for offensive linemen learning how to block for running/scrambling QBs. They are going to have to learn what Prescott likes to do and in what situations he does it. It shouldn’t be surprising to see flags during Dak Prescott‘s improvised runs this season as the linemen get accustomed to it.
  • It was curious to see no real running plays called for Dak Prescott. I don’t like the idea of regularly running him. But considering his size and ability, I’d use it on designed plays at least a couple time per game.

  • The only thing scarier than J.J. Wilcox being the last man in deep coverage? Mayonnaise. Yuck. That’s the only thing. The Cowboys must replace Wilcox soon because he is exactly one accurate QB away from getting lit up.
  • Until we see the All-22 film, we won’t know exactly what kind of coverage Dak was seeing, but it seemed the Cowboys are still gun-shy in deep passes and it’s hurting the running game.

    • The Cowboys pass-rush disappears when the defense lines up Terrell McClain and Cedric Thornton together at DT. Without a real edge rusher available, they need make sure they use a real under tackle at the 3-technique. If Tyrone Crawford is playing end, they need either Jack Crawford or the rookie Maliek Collins at the 3-tech.
    • Morris Claiborne was, by far, the best Dallas defender. Sean Lee, Orlando Scandrick,  Byron Jones, Brandon Carr, and Tyrone Crawford all had poor afternoons. Before watching the All-22, I can’t think of a single player who will earn a positive grade other than Claiborne and possibly Terrell McClain and Justin Durant.

    Next: Beasley is a Weapon When Used Correctly

    • The defense looked so bad I don’t blame Jason Garrett for kicking an onside kick in the 3rd quarter. Heck, I’d probably do it again next week. Thankfully, they stepped up when it mattered the most.