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Scout's Notebook: Beasley On the Move, Church's Play, More

  • I had my concerns about Cole Beasley playing in this game from a physical standpoint. I felt like the Packers were going to try to beat him up off the line and not let him get into routes. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had a nice plan for Beasley to not let that happen by moving him around in the formation. The "zigzag" motion on his first touchdown was an outstanding example of that. By keeping him on the move, the Packers were never able to take him away as an option for Dak Prescott.
  • Can't say enough about the play that Anthony Hitchens and Cedric Thornton made on the third-and-1 on the Packers' first drive to hold them to a field goal. In short-yardage defense you have to play square and get off blocks. Both Hitchens and Thornton were able to do just that as they met fullback Aaron Ripkowski in the hole to keep him from the securing the first down. If they don't make that play, the Packers likely finish that drive with more than three points.
  • Barry Church is back to being that turnover machine he was in 2014. His hit on Jordy Nelson was a textbook tackle to jar the ball loose, and then to come back with an interception playing as a "Robber" in the center of the field was some of his best work in coverage. Aaron Rodgers never saw him due to the way that Church was able to disguise his drop and then read the quarterback's eyes from across the field. It was perfect technique and execution by the veteran safety.
  • It was just a matter of time before we would see Lucky Whitehead shake loose on a "Jet Sweep." Whitehead said after the game that Prescott didn't see the cornerback come onto the field to the side that they were running the play and it should have been checked out of. Prescott went through with the play, and I have to check the tape, but it appeared that Whitehead received a great block from tight end Geoff Swaim to get him into space.
  • Terrence Williams continues to make big-time plays. It was the second game in which he used a double-move to turn a cornerback out of position. There was a time when Williams wasn't that effective as a route runner and cornerbacks were able to carry him in routes, but those times have changed. This is the area of his game that he has improved the most this season.
  • When Morris Claiborne went out the game, Anthony Brown took his spot in the lineup. In an interesting adjustment, instead of continuing to play Brown in the slot, the coaches put Byron Jones in that position. I thought that Brown played well overall, but he didn't appear as comfortable on the outside as he did in the slot, which is harder to play. I feel like he has more of a slot mentality, especially when he has to carry guys but also when the ball spills his way and he has to come up to make a physical tackle. Defensively, they have tried to help him some while in the lineup but he has more than held his own.
  • I wish I would have said in our "Gut Feeling" that David Irving was going to have a career game. Give him a lot of credit for being ready to play after missing the Cincinnati game with an injury. I thought he really had a chance to be an outstanding defensive end with his length, but since they've moved him back to tackle, he's proven with the way that he was able to attack the pocket that there really is no reason to move him back outside. You will not see a better play all season than the one he made on the 1-yard line to knock that ball out of Rodgers hand and then recover the fumble. Irving breaks all the scouting rules for defensive tackles in this scheme due to his height, but impressively he manages to make it work.
  • Not sure that there are many defensive coordinators who will rush three and drop eight on Rodgers and live to tell about it. The three-man rush managed to keep Rodgers in the pocket, but it was the coverage downfield that clogged the throwing lanes and forced him to have to throw the ball underneath, which prevented those chunk plays down the field that we normally see from him.
  • Wonder if Packers general manager Ted Thompson had to do it all over again if he would have maybe dressed more than one running back on his 46-man roster. Eddie Lacy was compromised as a player due to his injury, but make no mistake, the front seven for the Cowboys did an outstanding job of getting hats to him with the ball in his hands. They made it difficult for him to find space all day. Take away his 25-yard run and Lacy ended the game with 16 carries for 40 yards. Defensively, you would take that all day against him.         
  • Linehan has been setting up that pass to Whitehead all season by having him come in motion and set behind the line of scrimmage. I can't tell you how many times I have had fans tell me that every time the Cowboys motion Whitehead inside it's going to be a run. Well, folks, in the scouting world Linehan did what is called a "tendency breaker." He dialed up the perfect call for the situation.
  • How about this for a complete player: Ezekiel Elliott throws the key block on a blitz pickup that allows Prescott to find Jason Witten on third-and-5 to extend the drive. Then the very next play he rips off a 29-yard run off the left side behind Tyron Smith and Ronald Leary to put the Cowboys in field-goal range to ice the game. If you ask Elliott, I am sure that he was more proud of the blitz pickup than he was of the line run.
  • Wow, the Dallas Cowboys won a game at Lambeau Field. Enjoy the Bye Week … you've earned it.
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