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Scout's Notebook: Dez's Versatility; Crawford Big At DT


IRVING, Texas – A few leftover notes from Sunday night's win against New Orleans.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about Dez Bryant's proficiency moving around the offensive formations under Scott Linehan and the success of the Cowboys' offensive tackles against the Saints' pass rush. On top of that, there's some credit that needs to be given to a couple members of the Cowboys' defensive line.

  • For a receiver that had a label as an "outside" guy only, Dez Bryant appears to be becoming more and more comfortable with each opportunity he is getting from Scott Linehan. With opponents trying to create ways to take Bryant out of the game plan, it becomes increasingly more important for Bryant to develop ways to escape special coverage that is designed for him.

His route early in the second quarter against the Saints, where he took in a 17-yard reception, was a run against double coverage. By lining up inside instead of outside, Bryant was allowed more space to work with. He was able to start inside on Keenan Lewis, getting him turned then planting his right foot into the ground, driving hard to the sideline.

His route created separation, and, watching Tony Romo in the pocket, it was clear that he was just waiting for Bryant to finish his break before delivering a perfect pass that he easily snatched out of the air. You will continue to see more routes from Bryant out of the slot to help him throughout a game.

  • There was a side of me that believed that, coming into this season, George Selvie might never be as good as he was in 2013. Through the first three games of this season, my fears were becoming more of a reality, and I thought Selvie would just settle in as a nice rotational player and nothing more.

With those expectations, I moved forward with him, but against the Saints I observed more flashes with him – the type that he had last year. He showed a burst off the snap with some initial quickness. There was some bend in his rush and his technique was more evident. His hand use was better and he was physical in the way that he took on blocks. He wasn't washed out of plays and he was able to finish.

He was around the ball more, and when Drew Brees dropped back to pass, he was in position providing more pressure. He played with a purpose and gave me hope that those sacks that we saw from him before are just around the corner.  

  • Give Tyron Smith and Doug Free a lot of credit in the way that they were both able to handle the Saints best pass rushers, Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette. There were only two to three snaps where Jason Witten and James Hanna stayed in to help, so that meant Smith and Free were single-blocking in a lot of situations.

Coming into this game I was concerned about Rob Ryan's ability to put pressure on Romo with these guys off the edge, but that was not the case at all. In reviewing the game tape I only observed one hurry on Romo and that was from Galette -- otherwise he and Jordan were non-factors. [embedded_ad]

  • If I were Jason Garrett and this defensive staff I would continue to use Tyrone Crawford as the under-tackle in this scheme. He is better suited to handle the play inside than he is on the edge.

His strength and power show up more the closer you put him to the ball. There are limitations as a pass rusher in regard to the types of moves that he has to use, but that doesn't show up inside as much as it does coming off the edge. Crawford also excels at defending the run inside, and when you pair that with what you get from Rolando McClain, that is a good combination to make it difficult on opponents when they try to run the ball inside or cut it back.

I believe that Crawford has found a good home as an inside player – let's see if this staff agrees with me.

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