Scout's Eye: Lawrence's Plan Of Attack, Butler's Inconsistency, More

  • I have to say that I wasn't surprised with the game that DeMarcus Lawrence had. I really did like the matchup of him against right tackle Menelik Watson. I just didn't feel like Watson could handle his power and quickness. Lawrence went into this game with a really good plan on how to attack Watson both inside and out. The two sacks were a great example how he was able to get Watson off balance just like he did last week against Bobby Hart of the Giants. Lawrence finally looks healthy and his play has reflected that early in the season. 
  • I came into this game feeling as if the Giants front seven was better than the Broncos. So I was encouraged that the possibility of moving the ball on the ground was there. The Broncos knew they had to stop the run, which they did, but I didn't see any extra help in the box to do so. Maybe the film will show different, but it appeared that the Broncos front seven physically took it to this Cowboys offensive line, which doesn't happen often. As a unit, the Broncos played on the Cowboys' side of the line of scrimmage the entire night, and no matter how hard this Cowboys line tried to get movement, it just wasn't there.
  • When Sean Lee misses tackles, you know that your defense is in trouble. I lost track of the number of times that a Dallas defender was in position to make a play but just couldn't bring a ball carrier down. For a defense that prides itself on getting hats to the ball, they struggled badly in that area during the game.
  • The narrative will be that Von Miller destroyed La'el Collins in this game. But let's be honest, it wasn't until the Broncos had a 35-17 lead when Miller actually came to life. Once he knew that the offense was no longer going to run the ball, it played right into his hands. How many times did he have to jump offsides trying to beat Collins up the field? He appeared to be a desperate player because he knew the questions were coming his way after the game if he didn't get a sack. Like I always do, I am going to grade Collins on the 66 plays that he had and see how he really fared against one of the best pass rushers in the league.
  • Jourdan Lewis is going to be a player for this defense. I promise you that he didn't take many snaps during practice this week. Not because he wasn't healthy but the way the rotation went, Nolan Carroll, Anthony Brown and Chidobe Awuzie were the primary guys getting reps. For not playing at all in the preseason, I was impressed with his positioning and conditioning. It would have been real easy for him to fall apart with the number of snaps that he had to play, but he didn't fold. As bad as Demaryius Thomas' route was, he put himself in position to make that interception. It would have been real easy for him to get distracted and misplay that ball, but he showed nice balance with ball skills.
  • We talked about how tough space was going to be against the Broncos cornerbacks. I thought as a unit they were particularly good in the red zone. Every opportunity that the Cowboys had was met with a contested play. Even the touchdown that Dez Bryant had, he had to put his hand in the chest of Aqib Talib to get some separation. After watching Talib, Chris Harris and Bradley Roby play, I am not sure that these Cowboys receivers will face a better combination of cornerbacks the remainder of the season.
  • Not like Byron Jones to make many mistakes during a game, but on the Trevor Siemian touchdown pass to Virgil Green, it appeared that Jones busted the coverage. Jones was lined up over the top of Green on the goal line and when the run fake went inside, Jones went with it. That's all Green needed to separate for the easy pitch and catch. It was a well-designed play that took advantage of the aggressive nature of Jones.
  • I don't know what to make of Brice Butler. Had him as one of my breakout players for the season, but he continues to be inconsistent. Thought that was a bad drop on third-and-long. It appeared from first glance that he had enough for the first down, which would have gotten the offense out of the hole. Instead the ball hits the turf and they're forced to punt. Butler knows that he's not going to get many targets, but he's got to make plays on the ones he gets.
  • When the Cowboys signed Nolan Carroll, I thought one of his best traits was his ability to deny the inside routes. I remember a game against the Giants where he took the ball away from Odell Beckham Jr. on a slant. There were snaps in training camp when he battled Bryant going inside with some success as well. In this game, it surprised me how easy it was for Demaryius Thomas to get inside on him. I thought he would have put up more of a battle there, but he made it way too easy. He is no better than Brandon Carr if he doesn't do a better job of playing the ball on the inside.
  • Here's something for you: Brian Price had more stops in the game than Maliek Collins and Stephen Paea. If Ron Leary played, I knew it was going to be a tough battle for Collins and Paea inside, but for them to only end up with one tackle each, that just tells me how much this inside three for the Broncos was able to control the game upfront.
  • Ryan Switzer finally had a shot to return a punt and ended up with a 19-yard return. Let me go on record now and tell you that he will be the difference maker in one of these games as a returner. I think we are closer to seeing him playing more offense snaps. I had a feeling that they had something planned this week against the Broncos, but with the way that the game was going offensively, they just couldn't get to it.
  • I don't know how you block a kick if you don't put your hand on the blocker? Are linemen just supposed to jump straight up in the air and hope the ball hits their hand? As a former college long snapper myself, I appreciate officials trying to protect the centers, but with that rule I believe they've taken it too far. That seems like a call that can be made every time we have a field goal attempted. Will be interested to see how much that's called in the coming weeks. 
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