Scout's Eye: Cowboys Running Scheme, Witten's Routes, More

• I am a big fan of the way the Cowboys are running the ball, scheme-wise. If they feel like an opponent is going to crowd the box inside, they now carry the ball to the edge. When you have athletic offensive linemen that makes all the difference in the world, especially if you also can get the tight ends and receivers to block and seal defenders inside. Numerous times they were able to get Travis Frederick on the outside and around the corner while Zack Martin and Ronald Leary were able to execute trap blocks on the edge as well, which put Ezekiel Elliott in space.

• I can't remember the last time I saw Jason Witten run as many routes as he did from the inline position. Witten looked like a tight end from the 1960s lining up next to Tyron Smith and Doug Free, coming off the ball and then working his way up the field. It was a nice design to help Witten get lost in the secondary on several of his routes. It appeared that the Browns didn't account for him as well as if he might have been lined up flexed. His 35-yard reception was run from an inline position. 

• The stat sheet will say that Brandon Carr had just one pass breakup, but in watching him play, I felt like he was far more involved in covering the Browns receivers. Statically this might not have been his best game, but he just didn't appear to give up any ground. His positioning, awareness and technique were right where it needed to be. He played comfortable and relaxed, which is exactly what this secondary needed since they were missing two key players in safety Barry Church and cornerback Morris Claiborne.

• Speaking of safeties, nice play by Jeff Heath on third-and-7 to cover Gary Barnidge out of a bunch formation and stop the big tight end 2 yards short of the first down to force a Browns punt. Going into the game, I thought the plan would have been for Byron Jones to carry Barnidge in those situations, but defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli trusted the much-improved Heath to handle that critical role.

• Coaching point from Dave Campo on the Terrelle Pryor touchdown before the half. Campo said the mistake that Anthony Brown made on the play was that he took his eyes off the receiver. As a defender, when you are playing coverage in the red zone, you can't peek at the quarterback. When Cody Kessler started to scramble, Brown's eyes went away from Pryor toward Kessler. Once there was separation, that's all Kessler needed to make the throw.

• Cole Beasley is now 43-of-53 in receptions-to-targets. What has been impressive about his games is how they've been able to line him up in several different spots and yet he's been able to make each of them work. My favorite spot is when they walk him in motion to stack behind another receiver. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan did this against the Browns on Beasley's touchdown reception when he put Beasley behind Dez Bryant and cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun lost him in coverage.

• My notes in April from the NFL Draft on Maliek Collins: "Can use on the twist. Plays with some upper-body power. Can get some penetration. Needs to work to extend hands. Gets push with power. Helps in the twist." One of the best traits that Collins showed while at Nebraska was his ability to execute line games. His first sack was just a straight power rush over guard Alvin Bailey, but his next one was a little move off an inside pick where he was able to explode up the field and capture Kessler in the middle of the pocket. 

• Leon McFadden practiced all week with the second defense in case he had to be used in the game. McFadden didn't get any time on the field, but he did line up for Rod Smith in his spot on kickoff coverage and had a tackle after the Cowboys took a 28-10 lead. It had to be a nice moment for McFadden, who was drafted by Cleveland in 2013.

• The Browns' best offensive play was the screen. Barnidge had one for 9 yards on third down that set up a Kessler quarterback sneak. Kessler later hit Isaiah Crowell on seond-and-18 for a 13-yard gain. On the next play, Kessler found Pryor for a first down. In both situations, the defense had the Browns backed up but couldn't defend the screen in order to get off the field, which was disappointing.

• What a nice design by the offensive staff to get the ball to Gavin Escobar on the touchdown. Escobar hasn't had a catch all season, so to put him on the backside of the formation as the end man on the line of scrimmage was very creative. The strength of the Cowboys formation was to the right with Joe Looney in the game as the extra blocker. When the flow started in that direction, all Escobar had to do was act like he was making a backside cut off block then work into the end zone uncovered. Give credit to Prescott as well for the fake that he was able to make to draw the defense away from Escobar.

• I know I saw Joe Haden holding Dez Bryant at least twice so I wonder how many more I will see Monday morning? Don't get me wrong, Haden is super talented and knows exactly what he is doing, but it appeared like Jeff Triplette's crew missed a call or two.

• This week's injury from the game to keep an eye on – Ronald Leary. He left the contest in the fourth quarter to undergo the concussion protocol. Leary has been a key player in the way that this Cowboys offense has moved the ball. They can ill-afford to lose him for any time, especially with the Steelers, Ravens and Redskins ahead on the schedule.  

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