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Scout's Notebook: Michael Gallup Didn't Step Up


Here are my first impressions from watching the game here in our studios at The Star. I'll have more for you when I break down the tape tomorrow.

  • I knew that Amari Cooper was struggling with his quad during the week, but I didn't get the feeling that it was going to take him out of the game the way it did. What surprised me was that when he did go down, Michael Gallup didn't step up and take over. I have been saying that if Cooper was No. 1 then Gallup was No. 1A. Dak Prescott needed him to be big, but he was anything but that.
  • I had a feeling that Jamison Crowder was going to be a problem. It really didn't matter if it was Anthony Brown or Jourdan Lewis on the coverage, Sam Darnold was going to throw the ball in his direction. He is such a quarterback-friendly player who presents problems with his quickness and finish. It appeared that every reception that he had there was some type of separation on the play.
  • I was worried about a backbreaking call that would go against the defense, such as holding or pass interference when they got a stop. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting a horse-collar tackle by Maliek Collins to be the one to put the defense in a bind. I give Collins credit for his hustle on the play, but Darnold was going to be stopped 3 yards short and the Jets were going to have to kick a field goal. Instead, they get new life and cash that in with a Le'Veon Bell touchdown run. It was just a terrible time for the defense to get that type of call.
  • Really pleased the way that Tavon Austin played, but to not line up correctly off the line of scrimmage is just basic fundamental football. In this day and age, you can even ask the official to your side if you're OK and they will alert you. His misalignment wiped out 15 yards on a reception that he made working to the outside and then getting both feet down in-bounds. Just can't have those types of mistakes.
  • I was surprised that Jason Garrett didn't take the points on the Jets' 7-yard line, but they must have had a play they really liked to go for it. I just don't know if I would have run a quarterback power off that left side. It appeared that there was too much leakage to that side for the play to have a chance. My concern would have been the blocking of Cam Fleming and Connor Williams. Maybe the film will show that they got their blocks, but something was amiss badly on the overall execution.
  • Nice drive by the Cowboys offense to go 15 plays and wear down the Jets defense to open the second half. The problem on the drive and the pounding of Ezekiel Elliott is they only got three points out of the deal. I thought the pass play to Jason Witten for the touchdown was brilliant, and I don't believe there was anything that Cedrick Wilson could have done any differently on the play. He was grabbed by Trumaine Johnson going for positioning. If anything, it should have been defensive holding and the touchdown stands. I can't tell you the number of routes I observe around the league that go uncalled.
  • The Cowboys cut the lead to 21-16 and have some momentum on their side. All the defense needs to do is force the Jets to punt and give the ball back to the offense. Instead, Darnold hits Crowder for 30 yards and Robby Anderson for another 19 yards to put them in field-goal range. It was an ongoing story in this game. The Cowboys defense was rarely in position to make a contested play. Darnold was able to find receivers in space, whether it was across the field or up along the sidelines. These Jets receivers just weren't challenged as well as they needed to be.
  • I was amazed at the number of times Prescott was able to get up after the hits he took in this game. As much as I wanted to believe it was from various Jets defenders, I sure did see Jordan Jenkins in the backfield quite a few times on or near Prescott. Jenkins is an outside linebacker, so that means he was coming off the edge. But I have a feeling that Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was using him on some twist stunts where he was likely able to get home when the Cowboys offensive line or running backs didn't sort things out well enough to avoid Prescott taking the punishment he did.
  • I wouldn't have been opposed to Kellen Moore coming back to the quarterback draw with Prescott on the two-point play. By throwing the ball you knew that Williams was going to come with some kind of a sellout defense in order to get the stop. It was the only chance he had, and by blitzing Jamal Adams, he guessed right. Maybe there was a way for the line to make a "gap" call and bring every one down inside to help pick up Adams, but he timed it perfectly against the empty backfield. Throwing to Witten is never a bad option, but the pressure that Adams was able to generate made the throw too difficult.
  • R obert Quinn is a heck of a player. He was credited with two sacks in the game, but I am sure he was a lot closer on several more. I had a feeling that he might have a big day going against tackle Kelvin Beachum. Not only was he able to grab a sack against Beachum, but he did so against his backup Brandon Shell as well. Quinn is perfect for this scheme and the way he rushes. He is relentless in the way he plays and does a nice job of taking advantage of the opportunities that he has been getting while working with DeMarcus Lawrence on the opposite side. There is going to come a point where opponents are going to have to focus on him, which should help Lawrence when the attention goes that direction.
  • I honestly don't know what to think about Brett Maher and the field-goal situation. I am amazed of his ability to make them from 50 or 60 yards, but it's madding to see him miss from 30 to 40 yards. His inconsistency has put this team between a rock and a hard place. Having the ability to convert points from midfield is a huge advantage, but you just don't know about everything else. Garrett continues to believe in him and will continue to trot him out there, but this is back-to-back weeks where he has missed a field at a crucial time when they needed him most. I am not going to pretend that I know all the free-agent kickers on the street, but there is nothing good about living with these violent swings in the kicking game.
  • T he big story of the week will be the health of not only Cooper but the Cowboys secondary as well in getting ready for the Eagles. This training staff has been nothing short of miracle workers in getting players back on the field in short order. But with Cooper, Byron Jones and Anthony Brown dealing with injuries, even the training room's skill will be tested. This is a huge game upcoming with the Eagles, so as Garrett likes to say, it's "all hands on deck" with hopefully some healing along the way.

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