Scout’s Eye: Lawrence and Collins Combination, Bryant Finding Space, More

  • I continue to like the combination of DeMarcus Lawrence and Maliek Collins working together when rushing the passer. Evan Boehm and Jared Veldheer were no match for the power and quickness of Lawrence and Collins. It really didn’t matter when defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli went from his four-man to his three-man line, the push from Collins in the middle allowed Lawrence to squeeze from the outside. I lost count of how many times both Lawrence and Collins were able to just bull rush their way to Carson Palmer to affect him in the pocket and disrupt the Cardinals passing game.  
  • Had a feeling this morning on the show with Nate Newton that if the Cowboys ran the ball more than they threw it they’d find a way to win. I wasn’t sure that Nate was going with me on that, but it just happened to work out that way. Dallas ran the ball 26 times and passed it only 18 times. The Cardinals were not going to let the Cowboys run the ball with any success, and with the way they stacked the box, they dared Dak Prescott to throw it. Last week against the Broncos their “12” personnel group really struggled. What was encouraging in this game was they were able to find enough traction with their “13” and “21” personnel to grab some dirty yards when initially things were looking like the same issues as last week. Nice job by offensive coordinator Scott Linehan in finding ways to run the ball and sticking with it.
  • Did you notice that Linehan tried to move Dez Bryant around to get him some space in this game? I expect that we will see more of this in the future with Bryant in bunch formations and motioning across the formation to give him a chance to work against coverages that are designed to take him out of his game. The shallow cross for the touchdown was a nice read by him to sit down in the zone and receive the ball quickly. Once he was able to make that first guy miss there is no better player in the league who, when he gets a sniff of that goal line, is going to score.

  • Great timing by Orlando Scandrick on his slot blitz to get home in order to pressure Palmer and force him into a poor third-down throw. Palmer coming into the game had been one of the top-rated quarterback’s in the league when facing the blitz, but Scandrick was able to get to him quickly and that disrupted the pass intended for Jermaine Gresham and got the defense off the field.
  • No offense to Nolan Carroll, but I am going to find a way to keep playing Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis in his place. There is just a different attitude in the way that those two play, which gives this defense an edge. The scouts told me during training camp to keep an eye on Lewis when he gets healthy because he had special skills. What I enjoyed most about watching him play this week was his willingness to come forward and make open-field tackles. Give me a competitive cornerback who is willing to tackle and our defense will find ways to win games. I think that’s what you get from him and Brown.
  • I am sure that I am missing someone, but other than Aaron Rodgers, you would be hard pressed to find a quarterback in the league that throws the ball on the move better than Prescott. His ability to throw accurately moving either to his left or right is impressive. The two throws that he made to Brice Butler couldn’t have been put in any better of a spot. To make those throws without  setting his feet speaks volumes to his arm talent and strength. I am not sure he makes those types of downfield throws last season, but tonight it was old hat.
  • I am surprised that Palmer decided to pick on Byron Jones on that final pass in the end zone to Gresham. I was almost positive that he would have tried to find Larry Fitzgerald but he didn’t. Jones had a nice bounce-back game after a rough one last week against the Broncos. It appeared that his positioning in coverage was better, and other than his one defensive holding call, I liked the way that he stayed aggressive in his coverage. We had seen Marinelli move him around before in coverage, and for him to play in and out of the slot was once again impressive. Not many safeties have the ability to carry a receiver like Fitzgerald and then deny a big receiving tight end the ball on an in breaking route.
  • Both Terrance Williams and Brice Butler were limping around toward the end of the week and were limited during practice. This morning, Nate called for one of them to step up knowing that Bryant was in for a fight with Patrick Peterson. Not only did one guy step up but both of them did. Williams and Butler ended up combining for five catches for 137 yards and one touchdown. Williams has been consistent through the first three weeks of the season, but Butler was still trying to find that. I thought that Butler needed to do a better job of finishing and against the Cardinals he was able to do just that, getting open for some huge plays.
  • Linehan tried some creative things with Ryan Switzer on offense. I had a feeling last week that he wanted to get Switzer more involved in the offense, but with the way that things went, he just couldn’t pull it off. Switzer’s biggest contribution was in the return game where he returned four punts for 43 yards. There was one punt return where I thought if he kept his balance, he would have had a shot to score. I expect that we will see more and more added to his plate each week as that dynamic weapon.
  • Nice little change up by Marinelli to go with Tyrone Crawford at right defensive end. I know the coaches have a great deal of respect for him and consider him one of their best four defensive linemen, so it really wasn’t a surprise to see him play there. With what we’ve seen from Lawrence at left end and Collins at the 3-technique, there is no room for him at either one of those spots. Crawford ended the night with three tackles, a sack, two hurries and a tackle for loss, which was more productive than what we saw from Benson Mayowa and Taco Charlton.  
  • Laugh at me now, but I am not afraid to say this: Chris Jones was my MVP of the game. Jones had seven punts with four of them ending up inside the Cardinals’ 20-yard line. Arizona even tried to use Patrick Peterson in the game on returns and Jones was able to neutralize him with his directional placement. For the night as a unit, the Cardinals only had four total return yards.     
  •  
  • The final stats will say that both teams did not turn over the ball, but I don’t agree. A missed field goal is just as good as a turnover, and even though Dallas was unable to take advantage and grab points from it, it was the point in the game that gave the team the life they needed to get back in it. The Cardinals had manhandled them and the miss allowed the defense to regroup and take a few moments to come up with a better plan of attack, which they were able to do.
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Advertising