Scout's Eye: Melton Impressive, Peterson Gets Best of Bryant Among Thoughts

  • It doesn't bother me one bit that I thought that Brandon Weeden would have played well in this game, and I was not afraid to say it. It was my belief that he would play within himself and not try to do too much. When I had a chance to visit with him last week that was exactly the message that I heard. He was excited to get the opportunity to play with these offensive weapons, and he was going to make sure that they were the stars against Arizona. Weeden was prepared to play against the Cardinals, and from the players to the front office guys, they were all confident in the game plan and his ability to execute it. What bothered me the most was not trying to get the ball to Dez Bryant, but the missed opportunities to get the ball in the hands of guys like Cole Beasley and Jason Witten, who found ways to get open. I felt like he left some simple throws on the field while forcing others.
  • Even in a losing effort, these Cowboys defensive coaches have to be impressed with the type of effort and play they are getting from Henry Melton on the defensive line. Melton is finally looking healthy and we are starting see more of those explosive plays from 2012 when he was with the Bears, before his knee injury. This defensive line rotation has allowed him to remain fresh throughout the game, so when he is on the field as that under-tackle or at end, he is giving them his best. I am looking forward to when they put him on the same side of the field with DeMarcus Lawrence and attack offensive blocking schemes that way.
  • When I make this observation it is with the understanding of the quarterback situation in this game against the Cardinals – but I felt like that Dez Bryant handled the matchup with Seattle's Richard Sherman better than he did against Arizona's Patrick Peterson. Both are outstanding corners and can be difficult to deal with, but it was clear that once Peterson knew that he could get away with grabbing Bryant and putting his hands in his face that he was going to continue to do it, and that got the best of Bryant. Even on those balls from Weeden that were poorly thrown, Bryant wasn't in great position with his body to be on the receiving end. I also noticed that Bryant was fighting the ball. He wasn't as clean as he normally is with those snatch catches.
  • Had a feeling that this would be the game that DeMarco Murray's streak of 100-yard rushing efforts would come to an end. If you are pointing to the fact that Ronald Leary and Doug Free were out of the lineup, I don't think that helped, but the Cardinals' front seven does a really nice job of playing off blocks and staying square along the line. There are not many gaps or creases in their defense and the linebackers are solid, dependable tacklers, especially Larry Foote. He is around the ball a ton. Give them a lot of credit for how they played as a unit. That fourth-and-1 stop was all you needed to see in the game to understand that.
  • It was nice to see DeMarcus Lawrence back in the mix for this Cowboys defense. That time he missed allowed him to develop more in the weight room. He physically looks bigger, and in the long run I believe that's going to help him in the second half of this season. I liked what I saw from his countermoves as a pass rusher. What was also encouraging is that he showed the ability to also rush from that left side as a changeup. What is exciting is that the more that he gets to practice and work like he has these last three weeks, the better he is going to be.
  • The scout in me wants to see more Tyler Patmon. He did lose Larry Fitzgerald on a third-down coverage, which was converted, but his awareness and drop on his pick-six was of veteran work. I am not sure these coaches share my thoughts, but the kid is super competitive and he can cover. He deserves the opportunity to get more snaps in these games than the ones that he gets on the dime and on special teams.
  • When this Cowboys offense is really humming it is converting on third downs. Even with Brandon Weeden at the controls, I expected this offense to still be able to manage to be successful in those situations, but that just wasn't the case. What was disappointing was that two of their three conversions came in their first offensive series, and their final one came on their last possession. As an offense, when you are 27 percent on third down you are not going to win many games.
  • I have always believed that a missed or blocked field goal is just like a turnover. Have to give Justin Bethel a lot of credit for getting over the plant leg of James Hanna to shorten that corner to make the block. The timing and execution of it was outstanding. This is most likely something the Cardinals saw when studying the way in which Hanna handles his blocks on that wing. I am also interested in seeing if Bailey might have took too much time in his approach because I didn't initially have a good view of that. The film might give me some clues there. What I do know is that Bethel was in position in a hurry, which led to the block.
  • With Justin Durant lost for the season, Anthony Hitchens will continue to get the opportunity to be the full-time starter on the outside. I thought that Hitchens came in and gave this defense some juice with his play. He was athletic and showed a nose for the ball. His final numbers will show that he finished the game with eight tackles, a tackle for loss and quarterback hurry. There were two plays when I felt like he was a rookie. There was a pass over the middle to tight end John Carlson where he stepped up on the play-fake instead of dropping in the zone, and it was completed on him. And on the touchdown pass to Ellington on the goal line, he didn't pick him up out of the backfield. Other than those two plays, I thought he was outstanding.
  • The Cowboys defensively had nine quarterback hurries in the game, which was more than the Cardinals. But, they allowed them to complete 60 percent of their third-down opportunities.
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  • Something to keep an eye on as this season goes forward is that offensive coordinators are finding ways to get Barry Church in more one-on-one coverage on the outside in space. Last week it was Jordan Reed for a first down and today it was Andre Ellington for one as well. I have always felt like Church was better in coverage when he could see the ball in front of him and drive on it. It's never easy for safeties to have to cover in space, but at times it's necessary due to all these multiple receiver sets.
  • I have seen a lot of football games in my career, but I had never had one with two tripping calls. See you folks in London.
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