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Scout's Eye: Pass Rush Continues To Swarm, Clutts' Best Day; More

IRVING, Texas – A look back at some of the finer points of the Cowboys' 44-17 beating of the Redskins on Sunday afternoon.

  • The best defensive player on the field for either team on Sunday was Bruce Carter and it wasn't even close. It was one of those games for Carter where he is totally locked in mentally, and by having this type of focus he was able to wreck this Redskins scheme physically. It was like he knew that with Rolando McClain out, he had to pick up that side of the game for the defense.

He was more than up to the task. It didn't matter whether the ball was at him, at the point of attack or working wide -- he was right there. As clutch as his two interceptions were in the game, his best play in my opinion occurred late in the third quarter with the defense facing a 3rd-and-6 from the Redskins 29-yard line.

Rod Marinelli elected to go with pressure and brought Carter on the blitz through the middle. On the play, Robert Griffin III was able to break to the outside to avoid the rush. From a dead stop in the middle of the field, Carter sprinted to the outside, chasing Griffin III to the boundary. As the play developed, it appeared that Griffin III was going to get the first down. With a burst of speed, Carter was able to cut Griffin III off before he got to the sticks -- driving him out of bounds and leaving the Redskins three full yards short of the first down, forcing them to have to punt.

  • I have to continue to give this Cowboys secondary a great deal of credit for how they matched up against the Redskins receivers. As a group, they continue to improve when they are asked to line up and play whatever scheme is asked of them -- whether that is man or zone.

For example, on the second Bruce Carter interception, they were in zone playing it out of their dime package with Brandon Carr lined up at safety next to J.J. Wilcox in a two-deep look. As expected, when they went to their man package, it was Orlando Scandrick matched up with DeSean Jackson and Carr on Pierre Garcon. Both of the Redskins' dynamic receivers were limited to just two catches on the day.

It was also a solid day for Sterling Moore, who continues to not only line up on the outside to carry receivers, but work inside as the nickel when they decide to keep Scandrick matched up on the outside.   

  • Some people might disagree with me here, but it was nice to see Tyler Clutts have the type of game where the fullback was actually a factor.

I have to say that there has been more than a few times this season where I have questioned why Clutts was on the roster, and if this offensive scheme better off by not using a fullback and letting DeMarco Murray just operate as a one-back runner – or by putting James Hanna off-set and letting him handle the job of the fullback.

These coaches have shown far more patience than I would have with the position, because I would have surely tried another plan of attack. I don't know if it was because of the big lead that Clutts received more opportunities in the game, but in those chances he was a force. He stayed on his feet, hit square and was able to finish the block.

In other words, he finally played like a powerful fullback and not a one-shot blocker that ended up on the ground or bounced to the side. When he had to dig a linebacker out of the hole, he was able to do just that and do it with some strength. It was encouraging to see him play this way.  

[embeddedad0] * The first thing that Rod Marinelli will tell you about his defensive scheme is how important it is to get defensive linemen up the field. Getting off the football quickly and penetrating is preached daily at Valley Ranch.

The film showed that this was one of the best games this front played in regard to getting off the ball. It was especially noticeable from George Selvie and Jeremy Mincey. There were several snaps where both Selvie and Mincey were across the line before the blockers had a chance to react, and it affected the way in which the Redskins tried to run the ball.

I also liked the way that Tyrone Crawford and Terrell McClain played from the tackle spot as well. Once the Redskins fell behind big, then it was about rushing Robert Griffin III by attacking the front of the pocket and they were able to create problems in pass protection.

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