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Scout's Eye: More Positives From The Young DBs, Analyzing Bailey's Misses

FRISCO, Texas – Somehow, we've made it through to the end of another regular season. I don't know where the time went.

It wasn't a memorable performance all the way around, but the Cowboys will be pleased to end this season and start 2018 on a high note with a win. And, as sloppy as the play looked at times, there were plenty of positives to take away from this 6-0 win in Philadelphia – especially from the young players on this Cowboys roster.

So, for the last time this season, let's take a look back at some of the standout moments from the game tape. And here's wishing you a Happy New Year:

  • DeMarcus Lawrence was a huge problem for the Eagles' scheme while he was in the game. Lawrence broke through one time and knocked the ball out of Nick Foles' hand by making a simple little adjustment in his rush. Pre-snap, Lawrence moved from the outside shoulder of Lane Johnson inside to rush against Brandon Brooks. Lawrence was able to beat Brooks off the snap with a quick move that got him over-extended. Once he was around Brooks, he had a shorter path to Foles, who tried to throw the ball over the top of him but was unable. Lawrence made contact with his elbow and the ball got knocked into the air.
  • I don't know how Dak Prescott was able to get the ball to Brice Butler on the game-winning touchdown -- but he did. I am not sure this was the case, but it appeared that it was a missed assignment by La'el Collins that gave Steven Means a free run at Prescott. The Eagles ran a blitz that Ezekiel Elliott picked up to his left. Zack Martin worked to his inside but Collins went outside. Prescott, with Means right in his face, managed to hang in there to deliver the ball right over the top of him. Prescott took a wicked hit, but the ball was right at Butler's face mask for the reception and touchdown.     
  • Give some credit to Byron Jones for the slot blitz sack by Anthony Brown. Jones came so quickly off the edge that Kenjon Barner had no choice but to take him instead of worry about Brown -- who had a free run at Nate Sudfeld. The timing of the blitz was outstanding with Brown and Jones hitting the line at the same time.
  • Great job by Brice Butler getting his head around to locate the ball once he cleared Rasul Douglas. Butler noticed that the pass was going to be short and instead of continuing to run, he came back for the ball. There was probably a two-yard window for Prescott to hit Butler, but he was able to pull it off. Give Joe Looney some credit, as well, on the play for holding up Destiny Vaeao to allow Prescott to have a place to step up to make the throw.
  • Two really nice blocks by La'el Collins and Jason Witten to spring Ezekiel Elliott on his long run. Collins was able to kick Chris Long to the outside, while Witten took Corey Graham and sealed him to the inside. Najee Goode had a chance to tackle Elliott for a short gain but was unable to wrap him up before he broke free. It took a great angle by Jaylen Watkins to keep Elliott from scoring.
  • Excellent call and execution of the screen play to Ezekiel Elliott for 22 yards. Scott Linehan caught the Eagles in a blitz on a play that required two fakes by Dak Prescott to get the ball off. Prescott never saw Kamu Grugier-Hill until he was right on top of him. With Elliott, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick all in the flat, Prescott just flipped the ball over the top of Grugier-Hill to get the play rolling. Elliott received nice blocks from Martin and Noah Brown but for the Eagles the damage had been done. 
  • Speaking of screen plays, heck of a job by Jourdan Lewis cutting down Kenjon Barner on a third and long play that appeared to have a chance. Like the Cowboys' screen pass to Elliott, it was well set up with blockers in front. Lewis beat the block of Marcus Johnson and then launched his body in the direction of Barner, hitting him in the hip. The blow was able to get Barner to the ground, preventing what would have been a disaster for the defense.
  • Huge third down conversion by James Hanna to keep the game-winning drive going. As Hanna was coming across the field, it appeared that was he going to settle but he continued across. Prescott saw the same thing and though the ball was behind, Hanna reached back to get it before Najee Goode had a shot to knock it away. It was an excellent job by Hanna to extend his hands in order to keep the ball away from Goode and secure the first down.
  • Old habits never die. Dez Bryant thought about putting the ball in his right hand, but just at the last minute he decided not to. Bryant managed to avoid Rasul Douglas and then Kamu Grugier-Hill. It was after those misses that he covered up the ball and took on Jaylen Watkins before getting out of bounds. Nice route and catch by Bryant working against off coverage by Douglas.
  • I went back and studied the operation of the Dan Bailey misses. On his missed field goal, the snap wasn't a perfect spiral but it was right where Chris Jones needed it to be to handle it properly. The laces were facing Jones when he put it on the ground. As Bailey approached the ball, Jones made a turn to put them out front, which was successful. Bailey's approach appeared normal and his plant foot did not slide. The rush was not a factor in making him hurry. On the missed point after, the snap was once again where it needed to be for Jones to handle. Laces were facing Bailey and again Jones made the turn as Bailey approached. Once again he was successful getting them away. Just from the eyeball test, Bailey appeared as if he was more shallow in his approach – like he was sitting in a chair. Both misses were off the left hash and pulled to that side.    
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