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Scout’s Notebook: Dak’s Mechanics, Taco’s Efforts, Bad Breaks On Defense
Sunday, December 24, 2017 10:12 PM CST
FRISCO, Texas – From my vantage point at The Star, I tried my best to make sense of what went right and what went wrong in this demoralizing loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Read
- Great job on the zone coverage by the linebackers and secondary to assist on DeMarcus Lawrence’s sack. Russell Wilson has no choice but to hold the ball with the way that the group executed their assignments on the drops. Tyrone Crawford and Lawrence were also able to rush the perfect depth which forced Wilson to have to spin in the pocket to escape. Lawrence tried to knock the ball out of Wilson’s hand but he somehow managed to feel what Lawrence was attempting to do and was able to pull it away just in time.
- I don’t know how Dak Prescott was able to escape Michael Bennett in order to get the ball down the field to Dez Bryant on that 33-yard reception. Bennett beat Byron Bell inside right off the snap and was on Prescott before he knew it. To Bryant’s credit, he kept running across the field and was able to out run Earl Thomas and Byron Maxwell to the sideline. Somehow, Prescott was able to get just enough on the ball to give Bryant a chance to lay out to make the play.
- Nice job by Taco Charlton of forcing Russell Wilson to get rid of the ball a little quicker on the screen than he wanted to. Wilson would have liked to influence Sean Lee out of position but with Charlton right on him, he had no choice but to get rid of the ball. Lee was in perfect position and the play resulted in a eight-yard loss.
- Smart play by Terrance Williams to get down on the ground right before the half in order to conserve some clock after his 17-yard reception. Brad McDougald, Shaquill Griffin and Bobby Wagner were all in position for the tackle if Williams continued to try and run. Prescott also did a nice job of avoiding the rush and working to make an accurate throw on the move.
- On the Benson Mayawa sack, the Seahawks tried to hit Doug Baldwin on a wheel route, but it was well-played by Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis. Baldwin tried to get to the outside while Paul Richardson went to the inside. Lewis was able to pass Richardson off to Brown, while he in turn adjusted to Baldwin to take the route away. Russell Wilson wanted to go in that direction but Mayowa was able to capture him before he had a chance to load up.
- If Byron Bell could have held up a little better on the final drive, Dak Prescott had a shot to hit Ezekiel Elliott out of the backfield working on Bobby Wagner. The play appeared to be designed with that in mind, but Frank Clark pushed Bell right into the lap of Prescott and he was forced to flush the pocket. What made the play even worse was if Prescott could have escaped Clark to the edge, he would have been one-on-one with Byron Maxwell for a chance to score. There was that much room to the outside.
- On the Taco Charlton sack, give some credit to Maliek Collins for playing some spy technique on Russell Wilson to keep him in the middle of the pocket. Collins executed an inside game with Datone Jones that put some stress on Justin Britt and Ethan Pocic. Couple that with the blitz from Damien Wilson, which left Wilson with nowhere to go except into the arms of Charlton off the edge.
- The Seahawks took a page out of the Raiders’ defensive play book from last week to get a sack. Michael Bennett and Frank Clark normally line up left and right, but on this snap, Bennett and Clark lined up on the same side. Clark did such a good job of penetrating on the play inside of Bell that it occupied both Bell and Jonathan Cooper. When Prescott tried to spin away from Clark, he went right into Bennett -- who was waiting for him, unblocked.
- What you give up as an edge rusher with Tyrone Crawford, you make up for it in run defense. He did a great job of getting the defense off the field on third down when Mike Davis tried to run the ball to the edge. Crawford was able to beat the block of Luke Joeckel to the front side and with Sean Lee filling from the back, Davis had nowhere to run -- which resulted in a tackle for loss. Crawford was just too powerful for Joeckel to handle on the play.
- It appeared that Dak Prescott wanted to go to Terrance Williams initially on the play that resulted in the “pick six” to Justin Coleman. If Prescott had thrown the ball in Williams’ direction, he might have gotten a defensive holding call on Byron Maxwell, who had a handful of jersey. He had Jason Witten open in the middle of the field, but Prescott’s eyes went past Witten and all the way outside to Dez Bryant, who was doubled. Prescott tried to flip the ball to Ezekiel Elliott, but as he said in the postgame, his footwork was so poor (he jumped) that the ball sailed on him.
- Break of the game for the Seahawks was the fumble recovery by Russell Wilson on the Cowboys’ goal line. As soon as the ball left Wilson’s hand and went into the arms of Mike Davis, it was going to be a fumble. Any quarterback but Wilson would not have recovered that ball. Wilson and Jeff Heath saw it on the ground at the exact same time. Wilson just happened to be a step ahead of Heath to fall on it. What was more amazing was the fact that the ball with all those bodies around it was kicked in one direction or another.
- I believe that Dez Bryant sat down in the right spot in relation to where the drops of Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright were positioned. Wright was deeper and wider than Wagner, which was the direction Bryant was heading. Prescott put the ball behind Bryant, who was coming toward him thus making him have to reach back for the ball. I don’t believe the pressure from Frank Clark over Byron Bell hurt the pass because the ball was already gone.
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