Scout's Notebook: Veteran LBs Struggle; Parnell Looks Better

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ARLINGTON, Texas – Here are some thoughts from Thursday's 24-6 loss to the Texans Thursday night at AT&T Stadium.

  • It was quick turnaround for Jason Garrett and his squad to have to deal with a very physical Houston Texans team. I was a little surprised from my seat in the broadcast booth how much this Cowboys defense struggled with this Texans offensive line. It's a scheme that they see every day in practice and should have been better prepared to handle it. 
  • It appeared that on the majority of the big running plays for the Texans that there was a linemen or a linebacker that was stuck on a block. I didn't feel like it was a good game for Kyle Wilber, Ernie Sims or Sean Lissemore in this contest. There were too many plays where the ball was pushed to the edge and there was no one in position to make the play. Caleb McSurdy looked a step slow getting in position and Jeff Heath had some poor fits as well. The Texans really did a nice job of taking the attack to this Cowboys front. 
  • Without looking at the tape, I thought that Ben Bass, Jason Vega and Landon Cohan played the best along the defensive line. I had been waiting for Bass to show up in one of these games. He did a much better job of playing across the line of scrimmage and disruptive on plays. When Bass can beat you on the first move, he has a chance, in this game he was able to show you that.
  • It was a hit and miss game for B.W. Webb at corner but I thought there was more good than bad. When Webb gets in trouble, it is when he floats in routes. Some of the best plays he has is when he can play at the line, be physical with his hands and put himself in position to cover in routes. The deep ball that he gave up on the touchdown, he appeared to be in good shape but he didn't get his head around. This was a play, that we had seen him make plenty of times in Oxnard but in this case his technique let him down. He will grow and learn from these experiences because he has improved a great deal since the opening game against the Dolphins.
  • From the few plays that Jermey Parnell saw against the Texans, his footwork and pad level looked better. Against the Bengals, he was on the ground way too much but that was not the case tonight. His pass sets and combination blocks with Kevin Kowalski were also improved. There were several plays where he was able to get push and work to the second level which allowed the ball to work behind him with Phillip Tanner. If this coaching staff in fact is going to start him at right tackle against the Giants, this game had to give them a much better feel of where he is at health wise.
  • It was a rough night for Alex Tanney at quarterback but he also didn't get much help from his offensive line. Even when he did have the time to deliver the ball, I didn't feel like he was as accurate as he needed to be. This is the side of Tanney's game that gives him the most trouble. Whether he is on the active roster or the practice squad, he is going to have to become a more accurate quarterback throwing the ball. There are times where he just makes his receivers have to work for the ball entirely too much but when he is on like his back-to-back throws to Tim Benford, it gives you a lot of hope that he has something to work with on this level.  [embedded_ad]
  • If there is a plan for Demetress Bell, I have a strong feeling that it will be discussed further in the personnel meeting on Friday morning. To his credit, he has lost the weight that the staff has asked him to and put himself in better physical condition but he still plays with the same slow feet and struggles with quickness that we observed in Philadelphia. I understand what this staff was trying to do in getting him ready to make a roster run and that is okay but if Doug Free is going to make the move to guard, then this club will need a swing tackle behind Jermey Parnell and Tyron Smith and from what I saw tonight from Bell, they need to consider other options.
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