Scout's Notebook: Claiborne Steps Up, Giving Terrance Williams Credit; More

ARLINGTON, Texas – Twelve quick thoughts on the Cowboys' 31-17 win against the Bears, as seen from my perch inside the pressbox at AT&T Stadium.

  • It was not surprising that Ezekiel Elliott had the type of game he did. With much of the talk during the week centering on his lack of maturity, Elliott was looking to prove those critics wrong and for one night he was able to do just that. I thought he carried the ball with a purpose, especially on those inside runs where in previous weeks things had been a little muddy for him. He had more runs where he was going forward and that had a lot to do with the way he was finishing his runs.
  • Morris Claiborne continues to find ways to make plays in coverage regardless of who he is matched up against. Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White are not the easiest receivers to have to carry due to their size and ability to play the ball in the air. Brian Hoyer tested Claiborne several times up the field, and -- with the exception of one pass to White -- Claiborne was right where he needed to be position and technique-wise.
  • I always tell you that scouts evaluate offensive linemen on all plays and not just two or three poor ones. I can't tell you how impressed I was with the job that Chaz Green and Ronald Leary were able to do against the Bears. Green wasn't perfect by any means, because there were a couple of snaps where he was called for a penalty and he set the offense back. But overall he was up to the task. There was a reason why this front office didn't try and move Ronald Leary before the final cut down. With Leary in the lineup for the injured La'el Collins, this offense didn't miss a beat. His pass protection and second level run blocking were outstanding.
  • Little bit different look from Dak Prescott in that Scott Linehan had him as a pocket passer. Against the Redskins, it was more about putting Prescott on the move and letting him operate that way. In this game Linehan asked his rookie quarterback to take the snap, read the route and deliver the ball. For the majority of the game, Prescott was able to do just that. What was impressive is that when coverage was too good and things broke down in the pocket, he was able to win with his legs to extend drives -- which is exactly what he needed to do.
  • I will have to go back and watch the tape, but I believe that slant to Dez Bryant for the touchdown was the only in-breaking route that he ran the entire night. I was expecting more of what we saw from Bryant against the Redskins because of how effective he is at executing them. I didn't feel like these Bears corners could have kept up with him if he had done that.
  • Take away the two long runs by Jeremy Langford and Jordan Howard for 59 yards and the Bears had 13 carries for 14 yards.  I have to admit that I was worried about the Bears committing to the run for the game, but the large lead the Cowboys were able to build took them right out of that.
  • I wrote in my Scout's Notebook on Friday that I thought the Cowboys would take a vertical shot down the field and they were able to do that with Brice Butler. What was unfortunate is that Butler didn't get the pass interference call on Jacoby Glenn -- who was all over him. I think we will see more of those types of routes as the season wears on.

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  • Anthony Brown took the majority of snaps in practice this week and you could tell that his preparation paid off. Brown, filling in for the injured Orlando Scandrick, did his job. There was nothing flashy or spectacular about his play, but I didn't see any glaring mistakes or busts in coverage while he was on the field. For a rookie put in that position, it could have been a problem.
  • I think Rod Marinelli is getting Tyrone Crawford these snaps at left defensive end in order to move DeMarcus Lawrence to the right side for his pass rush. As long as Terrell McClain and Maliek Collins can play well inside at tackle, Marinelli knows that might be his best option to generate a much needed pass rush.
  • It's a shame that all the fans will remember from Terrance WIlliams' night was his fumble in the third quarter. In reality, Williams played well -- both as a receiver and when he was asked to block in the running game. I couldn't have said these things about Williams last week against the Redskins because he wasn't as good with his routes and it showed with no targets for the game. I felt like, against the Bears, he came to play and the results were better because of it. I thought he bounced back despite the fumble.
  • I think Byron Jones is better in coverage than what we saw from him against Zach Miller this evening. Miller did a nice job of working by just being more physical than Jones in his routes. On his first touchdown, I liked Jones' positioning off the line, but Miller was able to get into his body and push him out of the way. Jones has done a nice job working against those physical tight ends but Miller just got the best of him in this matchup.
  • Surprise of the night -- Dan Bailey missed field goal.

A look at some of our favorite photos from the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, September 25.

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