Scout's Eye: Romo's Execution, Wilson's Speed Among 12 Thoughts

• This is the healthiest that Tony Romo has been in years and it showed in the way he was able to execute. Even the shot he took down the field to Terrance Williams I thought was delivered well. It was evident that the extra practice and scout-team snaps helped him prepare. His mechanics were on point, especially moving to his left when he fired the ball to Williams for the touchdown. I liked what I saw from the velocity of his ball and the placement of it. There was some nice snap to his throws.

• Damien Wilson has a chance to be a really good player for this defense. His ability to run and cover ground is impressive. He is a physical finisher when in position, but he needs to play under better control and not overrun plays. He led the defense with eight tackles on the day, but had a chance to add two to three more. He was just too aggressive. I really like what he could develop into as a blitzer with his speed.

• I admit that I had concern about Emmett Cleary in this game and the potential problems he could have had with the Eagles' Connor Barwin and Vinny Curry. It appeared that the Cowboys staff didn't give Cleary much help throughout the game with extra blockers to his side, but he wasn't any worse for wear. There were actually a couple of snaps where he was able to get out in space to secure a block, which was not one of his strengths in games where I scouted him before. I still believe that this team will miss Chaz Green as that swing tackle, especially with the injuries to Tyron Smith, but I have to give credit where credit is due – Cleary exceeded my expectations for him in this game.

• I have been consistent in my beliefs that David Irving is a better defensive tackle than end, but I am starting to wonder if this staff would start him over Tyrone Crawford when we get to the playoffs. I would sure consider it. I would like to see them take Crawford  and do the same thing you do with Irving – play him outside and then kick him inside for some snaps. By the way that Irving has played in the previous games, there is no question that he deserves more opportunities, but I am just not sure the staff would do this.

• I really hope this isn't Randy Gregory's last game this season. He could help this team in the playoffs with his edge rush and ability to chase the ball. He looked like a different player and he's only going to get better. It would be a shame if he couldn't build on these two games.

• Started to have a thought that Andrew Gachkar was a progress stopper to Mark Nzeocha. Wasn't impressed with what he had done on special teams up until this point and was willing to move on from him. Even though he hasn't caught my eye on special teams, what he was able to do as a backup linebacker when he went in the game more than made up for those snaps when I haven't noticed him on special teams. There was only one snap where I saw him completely out of place on his fit and that was when he tried to run underneath a block. Even on the touchdown pass to Zach Ertz I thought he was in good shape. As much as I'd love to see Nzeocha play in these games, Gachkar would be a better option, experience-wise, especially in this playoff run.

• After the game, Dak Prescott said on the play where Malcolm Jenkins hit his arm that it was a "Hot" read, but his receiver didn't read it or win quick enough for him to throw the ball there. Prescott then tried to go to his second read, but couldn't get enough on the ball to take the shot down the field. I know several of you thought that Lance Dunbar might have missed the pickup, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
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• What a waste of a nice defensive effort to get the ball for the offense near midfield with two minutes to go and timeouts to use. It appeared that Gavin Escobar was open initially, but the longer that Mark Sanchez held the ball, the better chance Jordan Hicks had to undercut the route. It was a heck of a play by Hicks to make the interception, but I just felt like that Sanchez allowed him the opportunity to make the play by holding the ball.

• Need to see how well Leon McFadden played in coverage, but it was good to see him around the ball as a tackler. For a shorter player, he sure does a nice job of getting his man on the ground with some pop. There was some violence to his tackle of running back Terrell Watson to put the Eagles in a third down situation. They missed on that attempt and then missed the 49-yard field goal as well.

• Without seeing the film, I am not exactly sure how Zach Ertz caught 13 passes. Not trying to point the finger at Byron Jones, but I am concerned that defensively they were not able to do a better job of limiting what the Philadelphia tight end was doing, considering how much the Eagles receivers were struggling to make plays. I am sure that there were some plays where Jones was in coverage and others where linebackers or different safeties had the responsibility but just didn't get the job done. There is no questioning Ertz's ability, but going forward into the playoffs, this just can't happen.

• As the playoffs approach, I believe you can continue to count on Terrance Williams to make big plays. His route running has allowed him better quality targets. His three catches today – slant, in and hitch-and-go – were all well executed and got the results that he deserved.

• There is a side of me that believes Mark Sanchez put himself in a position where if this front office needed a roster spot, his name would be discussed.     

View some of our favorite photos from the Cowboys game against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 1, 2017.

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