EVERY PLAY MATTERS

After the Loss to the Giants , 10-7 , many are calling for Romo to play and bench Dak . Is Dak over ? 

Of course not ! He did have a bad game . But there were many factors . It just wasn’t Dak . Everyone on Offense contributed to the Loss . Including the Coaches . The weather also was a factor . It had snowed earlier and it was 29 degrees at kickoff .

To Beat Tampa Bay tonight ( and we could have beat NY )  , we need to : 

1. Run , run , run

2. Teams are blitzing more & more , so we should offset with screens , draws , bootlegs , roll outs .

3. Need more full pass protection , with 2 to 3 extra bodies .

4. Need to throw bombs to keep defense honest .

5. Where is Beasley ? On Blitzes , he is the go to guy . What happened ?

6. Above is on the coaches . They did not adjust and were out coached .
But every play matters . Except for a play here & there , we could have won .
Barry Church : Should have had Int late 2nd , near midfield but dropped it .  Byron Jones : late 2nd , holding penalty negates a 25 yd punt return by Beasley to Giants’ 30 . Hitchens roughing the passer penalty in 2nd Qtr . Last series of half , another holding penalty on punt return , we still drive and missed a 55 yd FG by a yard ; hits the crossbar . Barry Church : Early in the 3rd , had another Int but could not maintain possession as he went out of bounds  . Barry Church : 61 yd TD to Beckham, Church was out of position , and he missed the tackle . Dez’s fumble . Dropped passes . A pass here or there could have made a difference . Justin Durant , tough play , but should have made Int with 2:50 left in game . Brice Butler , tough catch , but dropped a TD . Dez slipped on Dak’s first INT . Penalties that stopped drives . AND MUCH , MUCH MORE .

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WEEK 10 : TOP TWENTY – GAME 9 : Dal 35 , Pitt 30 , now 8-1

GREAT GAME BY DAK & ZEKE !!!

BUT THIS WAS AN ENTIRE TEAM WIN . INDIVIDUALS STEPPED UP WHEN THEY HAD TO . THIS GAME COULD BE THE DEFINING MOMENT FOR THE TEAM FOR 2016.

1. Dak

Fumbles in pocket on first drive . Pitt recovers on Dal’s 38. Pitt scores a TD to go up 6-0 . Started out that it would not be one of his best games . Inaccurate on many of his throws . Hurried a lot . Pitt had a heavy pass rush .

But after the 83 yd screen pass TD by EE on a blitz , Dallas & Dak settled down .

Late in the 3rd Qtr , midfield , 3rd & 11 , Pitt blitzes , Dak avoids the first guy , steps up, throws a strike to Dez for a TD , that gives Dal a 23-18 lead . Nice block by Dunbar on a blitz .

2. Resilient 

The 2016 Team is very resilient. In the next possession , Dallas drives to get a FG to cut lead 6-3 . Pitt goes up 12-3 but Dal responds with a TD , 12-10 . After a Pitt stop , Dal takes a 13-12 lead early in 2nd Qtr .

There were 7 lead changes in the game . The most so far this year for a NFL game . After Pittsburgh takes the lead on a fake spike play , Dallas gets the ball on its own 25 with 40 seconds left . 2 passes to Beasley & Witten , a missed face mask penalty on Beasley but then another on Witten , Dallas is at the Steelers ‘ 32 with 15 seconds left . 

Looking to get more yards before Bailey attempts the game winning FG , Zeke takes the handoff , and with excellent blocking , goes untouched into the EZ for the win .

3. Red Zone 

In first few games , Dal red zone conversion to TDs was low . But they vastly improved . In this very important game , on first RZ possession , Dal only gets a FG .

4. Defense 

All this week , the Defense and Coach Rod have been praised . I still say we are a very average defense . Pittsburgh easily scored TDs on both of its first possessions .

Nice penetration and tackle by Scandrick on a 3rd & 1 .

Not a Rod M fan . Outcoached on Pitts last TD drive .

Three Man Rush 

On both of Pitts first TDs in the first Qtr , we had a three Man Rush . Unbelievable.

The key to a Great Defense is getting turnovers and sacks , and this Defense does neither .

5. Dez

Great game ; 6 receptions , 116 yards , 1 TD , no drops , especially after hearing that his dad had passed away the day before . The Team rallied around him . This Team is Family . Dez was calm , focused , and very mature today .

6. Screen

Dallas rarely does draws or screens . They should do more . It will help against the Opponents constantly blitzing .

Late in 1st Qtr , on a 2nd & 18 , Pitt blitzes , and Dak throws screen to Zeke who takes it in for a 83 yard TD . Great blocking , great run , and Zeke shows his speed by outrunning the secondary to the EZ . Great block by TW that sealed the TD .

7. Zeke

Great run on screen TD , followed his blocks , then showed his speed by outrunning the secondary for the TD . 3 for 3 on 3rd and 1 s . Big shout out to Terrance Williams for his block on Robert Golden that make it a TD instead of a goal to go .

Last TD run with 15 seconds left that won the game . Great blocking , great burst of speed thru the line .

8. Offensive Line 

4 penalties , including 2 holding early in the 2nd ; stalled a couple of drives . Another holding play negates a first down .

However , overall run & pass blocking , B+ .

9. Dan Bailey 

Early in second Qtr , hits 53 yd FG to give Dallas a 13-12 . Longest FG to date at Heinz Field !!! . 3 for 3 .

10. Byron Jones 

Pitt fumbled and Jones should have fell on it but tried to pick it up and run and knocked it out of bounds .  Per Dave Campo , former Dallas head coach , when the ball is on the ground near the sideline , always fall on it .

11. Stoopid Penalties

Justin Durant hit Big Ben in the face after a good hit by Thornton on an incomplete pass . Unnecessary penalty . Poor discipline .

First half 8 penalties for 60 yards .

In 3rd Qtr , Brown 28 PI penalty to give Pitt , goal to go inside the 10 .

12. Cole Beasley 

In the first 6 games , Cole was the go to guy . Not so much lately . Dropped a 3rd down pass in 2nd Qtr . Dropped another late in 2nd half . However , key pass reception on our Final Drive .

13. Officiating 

Poor officiating . NFL must do something about this . 

14. Anthony Brown / JJ Wilcox 

Brown : Tough game . Ben R was targeting him all game . A 28 PI Penalty early in 3rd led to a FG , Pitt 18-13 .

Wilcox : His best game of the year ; shades of Cliff Harris , very hard hitting ; also, one of the best tacklers on the team.

15. TOP

Steelers dominated in first half ; almost 2 to 1 . But by game’s end , we dominated TOP in the second half , and by the end , we have a 1/2 minute advantage .

16. Lucky Whitehead

Nice punt return of 39 yards taking it to mid field latein 3rd Qtr .

No bonehead plays in this game .

17. DeMarcus Lawrence 

Big sack , 3rd & 3 , late in 3rd . First sack of the year . Early in 4th , great play on an Antonio Brown reverse on first down , 10 yard loss .

18. Bomb 

Dallas rarely throws bombs . Late in third Qtr , 3rd & 11 , Dak throws a bomb to Dez for a 50 yard TD . Need to throw more to keep Defenses honest .

19. Outcoached

Nice plays on the TD drive for Pitt for the win .  Big play on fake spike ,then throwing for TD to Brown . Also , why was McFadden on Brown ???

Garrett had a good game .

Did not like the play calls on both 2 point conversions . Targeted Dez on difficult passes . I would try option run or shovel pass to EE .

Do not understand Tomlin’s decisions to go for 2 puts early . Forced him to try 4 times and they were 0-4 . Could have been the game’s turning point .

20. Injuries

Geoff Swaim was injured in the game and will have surgery on his pectoral . His status for the year is unknown .

Orlando Scandrick left the game with a head injury and did not return . They expect him to play this week at Baltimore .

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What does 7-1 mean ?

Dallas is 7-1 at the midway point of the season . They lost the first game by 1 point to the Giants and have won 7 in a row .

So does 7-1 guarantee us a playoff spot ? Another Super Bowl win ?

Dallas has had a 7-1 record 10 times . They have went to the Playoffs every time . So based on this , Dallas should make the playoffs . But they have won the Super Bowl 3 times , or 3 out of ten . So Dallas has a 30 % chance to win the Super Bowl in 2016 .
In 1968 , with a 14 game season , they had a 7-1 record after 8 games , ended with a 12-2 record , but lost their first playoff game .

In 1969  , they also had a 7-1 record after 8 games , then 8-1 , ended with a 11-2-1 record , but again , they lost their first playoff game .

In 1976 , they also had a 7-1 record after 8 games , then 9-1 , ended with a 11-3 record , but again , they lost their first playoff game .

In 1977 , when the Cowboys won their 2nd Super Bowl , they opened the season 8-0 , then 8-2 , with a final record of 12-2 .

In 1979 , with a 16 game season , they had a 7-1 record after 8 games , ended with a 11-5 record , but lost their first playoff game , again .

In 1983  , they were 7-0 , then had a 7-1 record after 8 games , then 9-1 , ended with a 12-4 record , but lost their first playoff game , again .

In 1992 , they were 7-1 , then   8-1 , then 8-2 , ended with a 13-3 record , and won their first Super Bowl under the Jerry/Jimmy regime .

In 1994 , they were 8-1  , then  8-2  , ended with a 12-4 record , but lost the NFC Championship game to SF.

In 1995 , they were 8-1 , then 8-2  , ended with a 12-4 record , and won their 5th Super Bowl against Pittsburgh .

In 2007 , they were 7-1  , then 12-1 , ended with a 13-3 record , but lost their first playoff game against the Giants .

DALLAS HAS WON 7 IN A ROW 

They won 11 in a row in the ’68-’69 seasons .

They won 9 in a row in the ’78-’79 seasons .

They won 9 in a row in the ’71-’72 seasons .

They won 8 in a row in the ’91-’92 seasons .

They won 8 in a row to open the  1977 .

In 1971 , the year Dallas won their first Super Bowl , they won the last 7 games of the regular season , 10 total through the SB . 

9 regular season games in a row for the ’71-72 seasons , 12 including post season .

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WEEK 9 : TOP TWENTY : GAME 8 , DAL 35  , CLEV 10 , now 7-1

Very impressive win ; Not because they won . Dallas is clearly a better team and should have won . It was impressive because , unlike prior Cowboy teams , this team looks to have KILLER INSTINCT . Not only will they beat bad teams but will win big . They will play the whole game and not allow 2 garbage TDs in the 4th Qtr . They will keep the pedal to the metal from start to finish . They will keep their hand to the throats until the End .

IMPRESSIVE.  MOST IMPRESSIVE .

1. Three Man Rush 

3rd & 8 at our 15 , Rod used a 3 man rush , ultimately thepass was incomplete , but Kessler had plenty of time . Again , if there were four rushing , there would have been a sack . 

Not sure why Rod still does this .

2. David Irving Fight 

In the Browns first drive , on the 3rd & 8 , Irving gets into a fight with their center , Erving . Both get thrown out . There is no call for fighting . I am glad they got kicked out of the game . Irving should get additional team punishment . The coaches should come down hard on him for his lack of discipline . This hurts the whole team .

3. Offensive Line 

Although I had been very critical of them early in the season , they have played very well . Dak had plenty of time to throw . Zeke had plenty of room to run .

4. Witten 

Caught first TD of game . Wide open.  Nice route .

Also, another record set , started 155th straight game , breaking Lee Roy Jordan’s old record .

The old man keeps plugging away . 8 catches , 134 yards , 1 TD . By the way , he still blocks well .

5. Lucky Bonehead 

Another misplay on a punt . In the first quarter  , he should have caught it at our 18.  But let it bounce , and the Browns downed it at the 1 .

6. Blitz

Dallas needs to generate more QB pressure . They need to blitz more . They sent 2 LBs on a blitz in the first quarter and got a sack . The next play they blitzed again but Cleve read it and threw a screen for 10 yards .

They blitzed more effectively in second half , helping generate pressure , and helping get a couple of sacks .

7. Scandrick 

In my opinion , OS is overrated . He has been called Dal best DB . Kessler continued to throw at him with much success.

8. Zeke

Not only is he a great runner , but a great athlete . He is fast , strong , and a great hurdler . All of his talents were on display on his 10 yd TD run as he leaped and stretched for the pylon .

His strength was exemplified on a play in the 3rd Qtr  , a pass from Dak , hit behind the line , broke a tackle , broke another tackle , then ran through a Brown for a 5 yd gain, instead of a 2 yd loss .

9. Dez

Feast or Famine with Dez . Thru 3 Qtrs.  , 4 passes targeted , 1 catch , 1 easy drop , 1 drop in EZ , tough catch , but he should have caught .

10. Bomb 

Not one thrown 

11. No draws   . No screens .

12. Bonehead Coaching

Read run option play for Dak needs to be removed from our playbook . They ran it once or twice for no or little gain . He is going to get hurt .

Up 35-10 , less than 8 minutes left in game , Dak still in ; should have put in Mark Sanchez ; unwise not to do so 

13. Maliek  Collins 

Heard a lot about him in Training Camp , then he got hurt ; but has played well since he got back ; today , 2 sacks , 2 TOLs , and 2 QB hits . Not bad for a 3rd Round pick who was picked before Dak .

14. Defensive Coaching 

I hear a lot of accolades going to Marinelli  for his defensive coaching . I am still not sold on Rod . I think he is too passive in his defensive schemes . Our better play is due mainly to our offense keeping the defense off the field . 2014 all over again .

15. Dak

Another great game . His best so far by rating . A rookie , playing like a seasoned veteran .

He has now beaten 2 Rookie QBs in a row that were drafted before him . Last week was Carson Wentz and today was Cody Kessler .

16. TOP

Best game of the year so far for TOP . Almost double that of Cleveland , 39:39 to 20:21 . Not coincidentally , our largest margin of victory so far this year , by 25 points  . Statiscally , also , 423 yards to 222 yards ; 29 first downs to 13 .

17. Gavin Escobar

Congrats on 1st catch which was a TD in the 3 TE set ; has come a long way from his injured Achilles .

18. Injuries

Ron Leary left the 4th Qtr with a head injury and is undergoing concussion protocol .

19. Anthony Brown 

Solid game for this rookie ; not sure when Mo will be back from his groin injury .

20. Next Game , Biggest Challenge 

Dallas is riding a 7 game win streak . But they visit Pittsburgh at Heinz Field . Pittsburgh has a 4 game losing streak . Biggest Challenge of the Year .

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WEEK 5 : TOP TWENTY  Dal 28 , Cin 14 

A VERY GOOD WIN 

1. Dak

Like Romo , makes plays happen : 1st & 10 @ Cin’s 14 ; 5 WR set ; Dak in shotgun ; after finding no one , rolls to his right , finds Cole at the 8  , splits defenders , and then runs it in for a TD ; patience.  No panic.  TD 

Fumble toward end of 

2. Zeke

Great running ; great instinct ; but most impressive to me is his pass blocking ; very impressive , especially for a rookie ; EZ’s 60 yd run at the 11:38 mark of the 3rd Qtr ; 2 TE set , 2 WR  ,  Single back set ,Swaim in motion from right to left to Hback spot , Zeke 8 yds deep , handoff at 5 yd deep , looking for the 3 hole but takes it up the middle , splits the defenders , untouched , races to EndZone ; it’s a trap play , Leary & Frederick double the right DT , Martin is on the LT who makes penetration , but overruns the play , Swaim traps the left DE , Free & Leary who has released  get the LBs 

3. More Mo

Mo continued his outstanding play this season . He did a great job on AJ Green . He did have 1 pass interference penalty . He made a great play on a 3rd down pass to Green in the end zone that prevented a TD . He had good coverage , but Green had a couple of steps , the pass was a bit underthrown   Mo recovered and leapt and knocked the pass away . What was impressive is that many DBs would not leap or jump too soon or not have eyes on the QB . But Mo played it perfectly , had eyes on a Dalton , and leaped at the right time .

The FG on the next play was no good and kept the shutout at the time . On the very next play , EZ ran 60 yards for a TD .

4. DeMarcus Lawrence 

Back , how did he play ?

5. 4 Sacks ??

Very good pressure throughout game by the front four ; it did not hurt that Cin was in many 3rd & longs 

6. T Williams good game 5 catches

Had 2 nice routes & receptions on 2nd TD drive 

7. Jason Witten , another good game , having a Pro Bowl Season ; for the classic reels , 31 yd reception , catches pass , stiff arms # 31 , Smith ‘ to the ground and gains another 12 yards ; nothing but Witten .

8. Zeke 60 yd TD run 

9. Zack Martin play has been Pro Bowl 

10.?T McClain 1.5?sacks

11. Anthony Brown , good game

Nice open field tackling ; made 1 tackle for a 3yd loss 

12. Scandrick’s comments 

13. Jason Witten stiff arm

14. Dak read option play 

15. TE help block 

16. Coaching 

Early in 2nd Qtr , Cin. lined up in a very strange formation ; Dallas was very prepared for it and put our 2 DE very wide out but Cin then adjusted back into a normal formation 

17. Special Teams needs a lot of work 

Lucky fumbled another punt ; but he recovered it . That is twice this year . The weak link for the team is Special Teams . To be a Super Bowl contender , we must improve on this area .

18. KILLER INSTINCT LACKING 

At 11:38 of the 3rd , we are up 28-0 , and are unable to put the game away ; 28-0 at the end of the 3rd Qtr . Although Cin scored 14 points in the 4th , it was never close . We could have easily scored another TD or 2 . The fumble at the end of the 3rd by Dak was probably the momentum killer .

19. TOP

Interesting fact , Dallas usually wins games by keeping the Defense off the field and winning the TOP . They have won TOP in all 4  games . But Cin won TOP . Probably because they controlled the 4th quarter when they scored 14 points . 

20. Intangibles

This team seems very special. Very talented on the offensive side . Average defense . But they find wys to win . Every week . If not for a couple of plays in the first game vs the  NYG , we may have been 5-0 going into GB . This game will be our strongest test yet . I think this will determine how good we really are .

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WEEK 4 : TOP TWENTY 

1. Zeke

Another very good game ; played better as game went on ; shades of Emmitt , good 4th Qtr. During 2 minute warning toward end of the game , EE went onto the field to the defensive huddle to encourage his Defensive players . It seemed to work . The D stopped SF on 3rd & 4th downs . Pumped up defense .

Still too many carries ; need more touches for Morris & Dunbar

Blocking on blitzes ; general blocking in pass protection is very good . Especially for a rookie . Also, caught 1 screen pass for 19 yards . ALL AROUND PLAYER .

2. Dak

Another error free  game ; he is playing like an established veteran . Great end of first half; scored 2 TDs in last 3 minutes to tie game at half  . Manages time & team very well .

1:50 left in half , ball at own 42 , drives to tying TD with 12 seconds left ; great pass , rolls to left , pressure in his face , not quite set , throws to left side of EZ to Butler for the TD .

Good time management , no delay of game calls

3. PLAY OF THE GAME : 4th Down Play 

4th & 6 at DC’s 36 ; 1:56 left in the game ; 3 man rush ; got some pressure on Gabbert who rolled to his right , threw to T Smith a couple of yards short of the first down, but MC was there to make a good , clean tackle to finish the play and give D.C. The ball .

4. Final Drive 

DC  takes over on downs at their own 32 ; 1:49 left in the game ; presnap penalty on Swaim , false start ; now 1st & 15 ; Dak in shotgun , EZ 3yds ; 2nd & 12 ; Shotgun ; 29 yd line ; hitch pass to Beasley , good blocking , good running , takes it 46 yards   to SF 24 yd line ; flag thrown on play but was picked up ; 1:32 left in game ; 3 kneel downs ; game over

5. Offensive  Coaching 

Great call with less than 2 minutes left in game on the hitch screen pass to Beasley that went for 47 yards .  Good safe call that Garrett would not have made before . In the past , we would have run the ball 3 times , then punted , and would have given SF another shot to tie the game .

Overall game plan still very conservative ; did not throw 1 bomb ;  Had only 1 long pass , 20 yds to T Williams .

I like the 2 TE formation a lot .  We have not been very successful . Dallas ran it about 10 times out of 70 plays . Did not do well  , other than a 26 yd rush by EZ . Several 3 TE formations at goal line with not good results .

I like keeping a TE often to help block . Very wise .

But All in All , we are coaching to our strengths . But at some point , we will need to open up the offense to keep up with a Green Bay .

6. Defensive  Coaching 

Still too conservative ; need to be more aggressive .

No Pass Rush ; blitzed only about 4 times and not very effective ; 1 Blitz resulted in a 33 yd completion for SF .

Only used 3 man rush on the 4th down play . I do not like to use it . But actually , was very effective ; we were able to get some pressure , caused Gabbert to roll away , but the extra back in coverage caused him to throw short and we stopped them .  MAYBE OK to use it more ?????

7. PLAY OF THE GAME   2  : SLIP  

2nd & 1 , about 2:30 left in half , Hyde runs to the left , heading for an apparent first down , but slips and falls  , just short of the first down ; Dallas holds  on 3rd  down , SF punts , and Dallas marches down for the tying score . If not for the slip , who knows what might have happened .

8. PLAY OF THE GAME   3  : SHANK  PUNT  

After Play of the Game 2 , SF punts , but the punt is shanked ; it only goes 26 yards to Dallas’  44 .  A short punt leads to a short field and Dallas drives for  the tying  score .

9. PLAY OF THE GAME   4  : PENALTY ??

4:50 left in the half , 3rd & 6 , Dallas @ own 48 , Dak gets sacked , but roughing the passer penalty on SF for a late hit when he was wrapped up ; The announcers Buck & Aikman were shocked that a penalty was called but it was clearly a penalty and that 1 play changed the entire game momentum .

At 2:58 , a 20 yd TD pass to Williams to get Dallas within 7  ; they eventually tie game before half ends .

10. OFFENSIVE  LINE  PLAY 

I am still not ready to call our Line the best in football , but it has really played well the last 2 games . Zeke has had over 100 yards in the last 2 games and they have given Dak plenty of time to throw the ball .

In spite of the injuries ;  Ty Smith has been hurt and Chaz has played for him the last 2 games . He played average last week but played very well against SF . The Collins got hurt early , but Leary came in and played very well . Another reason why DEPTH is critical .

11. TOP – MVP 

On opening Drive , Dallas ate up almost 5 minutes of the clock before the Drive stalled ; Then Bailey missed 47yd FG ;  Dallas ended the game with a 13 minute advantage in Time of Possession .  Almost a full quarter .  With a weak defense , the TOP is our best way path to victory . The less time the Defense spends on the field , the better .

 

12. Defensive  MVP – Morris Claiborne

Played a very good , all around game .

Interception, early 4th Qtr , deep throw by Gabbert , but not thrown well , Tory Smith actually was open , but underthrown , but Morris made a good catch to hold on ; the resulting drive ended in a FG that gave us a 7  point lead ;  OTHER  PLAYS –  4th down tackle ; tackel on Gabbert ;  over all tackling  ; good coverage all game .

13. Red Zone Problems 

With a 21-17 lead , less than 5 minutes left in the game ,  had a first & goal at the 2 yd line ; a TD would have given Dallas a  2  possession lead but settled for a FG ;  there is a problem with Dallas having the Killer Instinct ; the FG gave SF Hope ;   this is Reminiscenr of  the first 2 games when Dallas could not find the End Zone and have settled for FGs .

14. Injuries 

Although Dallas has been decimiated  with injuries , we are playing fairly well . Romo is out . Injured and did not play : T Smith , Dez , Collins , Scandrick ;  Injured and playing ; Chaz Green has sprained foot ; Doug Free quadriceps .

15. Dan Bailey 

Another missed FG but clutch to secure game win ; 2  games in a row missed FGs  ; Did not realize he was  playing with back injury  .

16. Other Offensive Players

Jason Witten :  Still clutch ,  At end of first half tying drive , Witten caught 4 out of first 5 passes for about 26 yds , to get the drive started  ; overall steady game ,  had 7 receptions .

Cole Beasley :  Good game , Big play at end of the game , 47  yard reception .

Terrance Williams  :  Decent game , 4 receptions , 1 TD  ;   good blocker ; Still not playing smart ; at end of first half , less than 30 seconds left , got first down on crossing pattern , but did not get out of bounds , could have , we had to use a timeout ; we did not need it but we could have ; Deja-Vu New York , all over again .

Brice Butler :  Mixed bag , has played well in place of Dez ;  5 receptions , 1 TD  ; nice TD catch at end of half but should have caught  TDpass late in 4th Quarter ; was a good throw and the DB did knock it out but Brice should have put ball away ; needs to make those catches ;  Taughting penalty ,  stupid , could have hurt teh team but didn’t ; juvenile play ; On 3rd Qtr TD drive , nice catch & run for first down on 3rd down , and another catch for a first down .

17. Other Defensive Players

 Sean Lee :  On opening drive , QB Gabbert  , on read option got a first down over Lee but on 2 other plays in Drive , Sean tackled him for a loss ; overall , good game

18. Anthony Brown 

Playing for an injured Scandrick ; a 6th Round 2016 pick ; playing well in place of a veteran.

19. Team Character

Down 14-0 , early 2nd Qtr , team showed great poise & character and tied game at halftime and won it in the 4th .

20. 2014?Deja Vu

It looks like 2014 , All Over Again ; In 2014 , we lost the first game . 2016 , Ditto . In 2014 , we had the league’s leading rusher and we depended heavily on the running game . 2016 , Ditto . In 2014 ,  Dallas led the league in TOP  to help shore up a weak defense . 2016 , Ditto. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm .

 

 

 

 

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WEEK 3 : TOP TWENTY 

1. Coach Garrett the Gambler ??

On Dallas’s first drive , 4th & 1 ft @ Chicago’s 23 , we went for it and Elliott ran off tackle for a few yards and made the first down ( Although , Zeke was still 7 yds deep in the backfield which I think is too much ) 

2. Barry Church 

Late in the 1st Qtr , 3rd & 2 , Church hit #33 and made the pass incomplete right at first down marker ; good , hard , legal hit 

3. Morris Claiborne 

Great tackle on 3rd down in a Red Zone to prevent first down 

4. QB Sneaks

There is a reason why Norv Turner did not have it in his playbook for Troy Aikman . The hit Dak took on his QB sneak TD should give Garrett reason to second guess that decision in the future .

5. J J Wilcox 

His hard hit on Meredith late in the 3rd Qtr caused a fumble that Tyrone Crawford recovered . It did not lead to points but it helped stall the Bears’ comeback . Very nice game ; his demise was exaggerated ; many of the DC writers predicted he would NOT make the team ; he has played well and he is hard hitting .

6. Terrance Williams’ Fumble 

Dallas is up 24-3 , mid 3rd Qtr , takes a slant 47 yards , then fumbles . Chicago drives for a score to make it 24-10  , instead of 31-3 . We still won but for TW , in a contract year , it does not endear him for a big payday .

7. Zeke the hurdler

Very good game . 1st 100 yard game . Patient with the blockers . Shades of Calvin Hill . Zeke hurdled over a tackler for a first down .

8. Chaz Green 

Tyrone Smith’s back tightened up and Chaz played for him . Uneven Early 1st Qtr. holding penalty on Chaz and chop block penalty early in 4th . Holding penalty on last drive that was declined . Did ok in pass block but better in run block . A decent game but in spectacular .

9. Three Man Rush 

On last 2 drives , Dallas went to the 3 Man Rush , did not generate any pressure .  I am a very big critic of the 3 man rush. That being said.  No worse than the 4 man rush . So , maybe we go that route , and have the extra help in the secondary . Around the 2 minute mark , 3 Man Rush , David Irving puts a good rush on Hoyer , he escaped  then stumbles , and fumbles , and Mayoma recovers .

10. Too Much Zeke ?

Zeke ran 30 times . Too many times . Need to get Dunbar & Morris more carries .

11. Dez hurt his knee , no update 

12. Collins hurt his toe . No update 

13. Depth critical

Smith hurt , Chaz Green was a steady backup ; Collins , Leary played well ; no real drop off in performance .

14. Coaching

Defensive coaching is still too conservative; F for the year , so far .

Offensive coaching is better but also need to be more aggressive ; although Garrett is opening it up a little bit .

15. Dak Scrambles 

Coaches need to talk to him about sliding ; took a hard hit on one of his ; should have slid .

16. Morris Claiborne 

Steady game ; best defensive back for the first 3 games , by far 

17. Injury List 

Is growing daily ; Dez hurt his knee early in the late ; Collins hurt his toe late in the game ; Smith has a back injury and did not play ; Free is playing but not practicing because of a quadriceps injury ; Scandrick is still dealing with his hamstring ; Tapper with his back injury was finally placed on injury reserve .

18. Newly Signed DE Davis 

Nice pass rush on a couple of plays ; may have some potential 

19. Special Teams

Punter Jones consistent ; Kicker Bailey missed FG , but has had a very good year 

20. DeMarcus Lawrence 

1 more game and he returns ; since he cannot workout or practice with the team , not sure how effective he will be in Game 5 .

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WEEK 2 : TOP TWENTY 

1. Dak !!   

Very nice game , did not get rattled in the pocket with pressure , did not panic , good throws , smart runs ,poise , good pocket presence , maturity , no interceptions in first 2 starts . Good Time Management . Though had 1 delay of game penalty . Had a couple of long drives for TDs . Great poise when under pressure on the 4th & 1 to Swain for big yardage . Took the sack and did not make a stupid throw . So far , he is playing like a seasoned veteran .

2. Dez !!

We target Dez and we win . Coincidence ?? 7 catches , 102 yards . Also , good game by Witten & Beasley .

3. Time of Possession 

In deference to Jeff Sullivan , TOP is an important strategy for Dallas to win . Because the Defense is very weak , the more the Offense has the ball , the less chance the Defense will give up a score . In the first 2 games , Dallas has won TOP and the Opponent has gained more yardage than us . In the NYG game.  Dallas had the ball for 13 minutes more than the Giants and only had a 12 yard advantage .

4. Onsides Call

I really like the Onsides call . It wasn’t executed properly but it was a good call . Garrett is too conservative and needs to open up his coaching and be more aggressive .

5. Offensive Coaching 

Too conservative . We to be more aggressive . Although , we had 4 pass plays of 20+ yards , they were all catch & run . No long passes were thrown . Not One !!   I did like the mix of plays ( especially the bootlegs and rollouts )  and the gutsy 4th & 1 call . But we need to do more plays to alleviate the pass rush on Dak . Teams will begin to be more aggressive . The Giants & ‘Skins were putting 8 in the box . Not 1 single call for a draw or screen . Need hitch screens , draws ,screens , bombs , … To keep the Opponent’s Defense honest . I like the heavy use of the Double TE formations . We used 13 ( once was a 3 TE set on the 4th down play )  times out of 60 plays .

6. Offensive Line is Overrated 

For having 3 first round choices and a should have been 4th , the Line has not been overpowering .

7. Rushing Game 

Inconsistent ; is it the Play Calling or Line Performance ? Need more Morris & Dunbar .

8. Defensive Coaching 

Too Conservative ; need to be more aggressive ; blitz more 

9. No Pass Rush 

In watching the first 2 games , one on one , we are unable to generate any pressure . No talent . Need to stunt more ; blitz more .

10. Overall Poor Defensive Play 

Broken tackles , out of Position , missed plays 

11. Blitz

Blitz was ineffective ; of 48 pass plays , we blitzed 13 times and had only 2 sacks ; 1 sack came on a blitz but the blitz did not help ; 7 were 1 man blitzes and 6 were 2 . There were 3 incompletes and 2 long plays : 1 for 57 yards and 1 for 30 . Need to mix up and do unique blitzes .

12. Unsung hero 

Doug Free ‘ recovered Zeke’s fumble on Cowboys TD drive to take the lead 

13. Hustle Play of the game 

Maliek Collins , late in the first half , he rushed , then pealed back to tackle Chris Thompson , who received a short pass over the middle , short of a first down.  On a 3rd & 9 , Washing ton kicked a FG  ; He saved a possible 4 point swing 

14 . Defensive Play of the Day 

 Justin Durant on 4th down play around the 2 minute mark 

15. Hustle Play 2 

Byron Jones TD saving tackle 

16. Steady Play by Byron Jones 

17. Zeke 

Uneven Performance in first 2 games ; 2 lost fumbles ; needs more patience with his blockers .

18. Defensive Line Play 

More than the lack of Pass Rush , what is more disconcerting is the fact that the front four has been unable to control the Line of Scrimmage 

19. Special Teams 

Bailey is consistent ; Jones is consistent ; return play is average .

20 . Deja Vu , all over again

In 2014 , lost first game ,  and ended with a 12-4 Record and into the Playoffs .

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SALARY CAP : HOW TO BUILD A TEAM 

In this era of Salary Cap and how to build a team , the Dallas Cowboys need to focus on a long term strategy on managing the cap . Even though the cap for 2016 is $155.27 million  , there is not enough money to satisfy ALL the top players . Every year , Dallas has to re-structure contracts or cut a long term Player . Such as they did with DeMarcus Ware in 2014 . With a lot of committed money to Romo and Dez , each year will be difficult . With current commitments , Dallas is projected to be over the estimated 2017 Salary Cap .

Short term priorities will be to tie up Travis Frederick and Zach Martin to long term contracts . Dallas has been hesitant to do so because of cap issues . Some have said it is best not to . Which is poor advice , considering they were number 1 draft picks and Dallas is heavily invested in offense with Romo , Dez , and now Zeke .

In this era of Salary Cap Management , I believe NFL teams need to choose between Offense & Defense . You can’t have several well paid superstars on both sides of the ball . Especially , if you have a Superstar QB , such as Tony Romo , who usually command $25 million or more per year against the Cap .

It does not mean your defense will suffer . If managed well , and if the team drafts well , and keeps a flow of young talent , the Defense can be formidable . But teams have to be smart and deligent on allocating their dollars . For Defense , you can pay 2 Stars , maybe 3 , very well . The rest have to have managed salaries .

For the Defense being so poor and so many dollars allocated has been a gross mismanagement by Dallas . They have long term contracts tied up in average players . For 2016 , in the Top 11 of Salary Cap Allocation , 5 are defensive players . Brandon Carr , Sean Lee , Tyrone Crawford , Orlando Scandrick , and Barry Church .

I cannot fault the team for Sean Lee . He is a great player and signing him was a good decision . But he has been injury prone in his career . 2015 was a Pro Bowl year for him . Resigning him is a low priority .

Orlando has a 5 year , $19 million contract . The $4 mil average on the Contract is reasonable . Most of the media and team heads consider OS the best defensive back on the team . I would rate him average . He is 5’10” , most WRs tower over him ,  and he has only 7 career Int. Based on that , we are overpaying him .

Brandon Carr was a big splash Free Agent signing in 2012 . Dallas signed him to a 5 year $50.1 million dollar contract with $26 million guaranteed . He has never lived up to the contract . He has been an average cornerback playing in a defensive scheme that is not suited to his talents . Who can forget Calvin Johnson’s 2013 record breaking game against Carr ? 14 receptions for 329 yards . To be fair to Carr , the defense strategy of playing him man to man , one on one , was Ill-fated . At what point should the coaches have asked themselves , ” Maybe we should put double or triple coverage on Johnson . Nah , we will just leave Carr with single coverage . They will never figure that strategy out . ” 

In fact , other than LaRoi Glover , Dallas has never had success in signing Top Tier Free Agents . Does anyone remember Greg Hardy’s 1 year $13 million contract ?

Barry Church , in 2013 , signed a fair 4 year $9 mil contract . But for 2016 , the last year of his  contract , his base salary is $4,250,000 with a cap hit of $4,750,000 . His performance does not justify that salary . Unless he performs better , do not be surprised if he is not on the regular season roster . 

In conclusion , Dallas has to choose between Offense and Defense .

Dallas can resign ALL of their young , talented Offensive Lineman( as of this posting date Travis Frederick has been signed to a long term deal ) ; all their young talent – Byron Jones ,Ezekiel Elliott , … But Dallas has to be avoid huge contracts such as Carr’s & Crawford’s . Draft for depth . And keep the players Churning . Pay the Offense . Scimp in Defense .

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2016 DRAFT ALREADY SUCCESSFUL

The only RB taking in the first round was Ezekiel Elliott by Dallas with the 4th Overall Pick . Most draft experts expected Ramsey DB to be taken by Dallas but he was gone before to the Chargers with the 3rd pick .

This is a great pick . With his talent and abilities , Dallas should be competitive for years to come .

Also , this relieves pressure on not getting a QB . With Elliott , McFadden , etc.,, our running game will be able to take pressure off the backup QBs , in case Romo gets hurt again .

We almost got Paxton Lynch , too . But Denver offered Seattle a better deal . 

Now the experts feel that Dallas should stockpile the Defense . I disagree . Our largest cap hits are on offense , and we should concentrate on the offense until Romo retires .

Last year , we used our #1 & #2 on Defense . In fact , our last 2 # 2s have been DE . Our Defense is still terrible and both of the DEs will miss the first 4 games in 2016 due to suspensions .

Since this is probably Terrance Williams’s last year with us , we should select a speedy WR with the # 2 that can compliment Dez for the next few years .

Then for our # 3 or # 4 picks , select a QB with tremendous upside that can be groomed to be Romo’s replacement within 3 or 4 years .

We also need a TE to replace Witten . Swaim, Hanna , or Escobar are average players at best .

The rest of our draft picks should be defense with emphasis on speed .

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