Cowboys-Seahawks film observations, Week 2

• Before we get into the negatives of this game for Dallas, let’s look at a positive.  Tony Romo is occasionally amazing.  Vintage Romo on the Cowboys’ second drive, 3rd and long.  The Seahawks only rush four and somehow get Chris Clemons completely unblocked with a free run at Romo’s blind side:

Romo does his little patented outside spin move that seems to always work, and opposing pass rushers never seem to account for:

Romo evades Clemons, and rather than attempting a difficult throw on the run, he re-sets his feet before firing:

He throws about 40 yards down field on the money to Kevin Ogletree, who has two defenders around him:

Stellar QB play there.  Romo had almost a carbon copy of that play later in the game, except he tried to hit Jason Witten all the way across the field, and about 45 yards down the field, but it looked like Witten may have misjudged the ball, and Romo underthrew it ever so slightly, or else they would have had another big gain.

• Felix Jones is becoming a disaster in Dallas.  He had 5 fumbles last season on 160 touches.  That’s one fumble per 32 touches.  Unacceptable.  Jones fumbled the opening kickoff in Seattle on Sunday, which led to an early 3-0 deficit.  His second kick return went out to the 15.  He had just 1 carry for 1 yard.  Some fan base is going to extremely fired up where their team signs him next offseason.  They’ll be disappointed by Week 3.

• Was that Jason Witten’s worst game as a pro?

• Dez Bryant had a terrible day as well.  He had two bad drops on 3rd down that would have sustained drives, fumbled, and I felt like he quit on the play that led to a Seahawks INT.

• DeMarcus Ware was called for offsides.  He drew an offsides penalty last week as well.  He was offsides 7 times in 2011.  It’s a problem.  To the left, look at where he lined up on one play last week.  And to the right, look at him clearly getting a head start and being offsides on the snap.


He was not flagged on either play, but he could have been on both of them.  The problem with lining up as close as possible to the line is that if he so much as flinches a little on a hard count, he’s going to be offsides. He needs to back it off a foot or so.  Teams are pretty clearly looking to get free plays and easy yards on Ware.

• The defensive play calling was puzzling.  Rob Ryan tries to get too cute for his own good sometimes.  Two things are circled below: the down and distance, and DeMarcus Ware.  I’m a simple guy.  On 2nd and 17, I want DeMarcus Ware rushing the passer. Or at least if you’re going to drop him, maybe do so on a zone blitz.  Here the Cowboys show a pretty basic zone look: 3 rush the QB, and there isn’t much deception otherwise:

And for good measure, Ware gets lit up on a crackback block:

But more confusing was Ryan’s lack of blitzes.  Last week I broke down the Seahawks’ offensive line, who had all kinds of difficulty dealing with the Cardinals’ aggressive blitzing.  Couple the Seahawks’ total disorganization on their OL with a rookie QB, and it seemed like somewhat of a no-brainer to send the heat.  Rob Ryan, for whatever reason, chose not to.  Odd.  According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas, the Cowboys only blitzed 6 times on Russel Wilson’s 25 dropbacks.  Wilson, for the better part of the day, had all kinds of time to throw and make good decisions.  The Cowboys played right into the Seahawks’ hands.

• The offensive line wasn’t terrible, in my opinion.  I actually thought Ryan Cook played pretty well, as did Nate Livings.  Cook has made a case that he should remain the starter when Phil Costa returns.  The guy that has not played well so far this season is Tyron Smith.  Give him a pass for Week 1, since he had to face one of the best players in the league in Jason Pierre-Paul.  This week he had no such excuse.  He was facing Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin.  Clemons is a good pass rusher and Irvin is an intriguing rookie, but they’re not in the class of JPP.  Both players were able to get around Smith and put consistent pressure on Tony Romo.  One series was pretty glaring.  Irvin got around the edge on Smith on one play, and on the next play, he used a very simple inside move, and Smith whiffed on him.  Irvin got a free run at Romo, but Romo was able to get the ball out quickly.  Smith is far too athletic to let that happen.  The transition from RT to LT has not gone smoothly so far.  Also of note: Smith also leads the NFL with 5 penalties.

• For those of you that missed the Falcons-Broncos game last night, the Broncos turned the ball over 3 times in the first quarter, and at one point were down 20-0.  But the Broncos never stopped scratching and clawing.  They made it a contest, and forced the Falcons to sweat out a game that became closer than it probably should have.  You could pretty clearly see the Broncos’ urgency to get back into the game.  I didn’t see that same kind of urgency out of Dallas last week.  They cannot let this loss carry over to next week.

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  1. Trent Perry says:

    Hahah @Jimmy Kempski! Check this video out, could have just posted this for this post. I lost it once he got to Dez Bryant.

  2. brisulph says:

    Text is not the best conveyor of that, and the rest of the post seemed serious. Sawry Brah, but you got to be more clear with these things.

    1. Derf Diggy says:

      Even if you didn’t get the sarcasm…I don’t think anyone but you took me seriously when I said JPP doesn’t like his teammates…but because you did.

      YES! JPP throwing his teammate in a bucket of ice water and then repeatedly saying “F*ck that N*gga manne, that N*gga aint gone do sh*t to me”…is an indication that…He does not like his teammate.

      Which then leads me to believe he likes the opponent he faces a lot less than he would his teammate. My overall point is that the leader of that defense, a freak of nature, and one of the best pass rushers in the league has a mean streak to him. He’s not helping up Romo and dusting him off after a sack.

  3. rabbit says:

    “Rob Ryan tries to get too cute for his own good sometimes”

    Since you say that about Rob Ryan, I would love to hear your take on Marty Mornhinweg…

    1. Brian says:

      I’ve been saying that about the Eagles offense for about 3-4 years now. Andy thinks he’s smarter than every coach in the league, and Marty is an enabler.

    2. Yep, so does Marty/Andy.

  4. brisulph says:

    JPP doesn’t like his own teammates? Where is that coming from? The ice tub stupidity? If so, that is a rather large blanket statement to make, all things considered.

    1. Derf Diggy says:


      sarcastic comment…is sarcastic.

  5. TylerD says:

    Since when did Rob Ryan become a good DC? The guy has been mediocore at ever stop he has made in the NFL. It’s Obvious Rex got the good genes.

    1. slandog says:

      He’s never been a good DC, I agree with you. I think the name he carries takes him a long ways. He’s really proven nothing as a DC but when Dallas got him they all thought he would be the savior……..he’s still at most average.

  6. Jimmer says:

    Both of the starting Safeties for Dallas were injured at points during this game. That is the only explination for the piss poor gameplan implemented by Ryan. Still makes very little sense not to blitz Wilson. Make him beat you. Played right into their hands with the vanilla defense. Ryan seemed to think that Wilson was Eli and that Brylon and Sidney Rice were Nicks/Maclin and Cruz/DJax. Awful awful coaching.

  7. SteveH says:

    Cowboys are always looking for some quick fix guy to come in and “put them over the top” but really what this team needs is an attitude adjustment. They need to start playing like a franchise that has only won 1 playoff game in the last 17 years. Too much swaggering, not enough scrapping.

  8. Dan in Philly says:

    I remember in one of your podcasts with Tommy when you were talking about Namdi, and he made the comment that Rob Ryan is and always has been an overrated DC. Exactly the kind of guy JJ likes in Dallas, I suppose.

  9. TylerD says:

    Jones is becoming? at this point I think it’s fair to call him a bust big time.

  10. Derf Diggy says:

    Type of loss that Cowboys fans are all too familiar with. Every year, every single year they seem to just shut down after knowing they’re down. Despite still being in the game. Frustrating to see…Blame Ryan for the scheme(not sure WTF he was thinking), but at some point someone has to look at this core and say….You guys are statistical beasts, but can’t get it done when it counts.

    The fact that Ware is such a nice guy that he picks up Eli after a sack, and states the following after his teammate gets laid out by a WR:

    “It really pissed me off if you want to be honest,” linebacker DeMarcus Ware said of the hit. “Anybody that sort of retaliates on any of the other players on defense, offense, you sort of got to take that mentality back to them. That’s part of this game. It’s a brutal game, but we didn’t do that.”

    ……… some point you’re going to have to be meaner than the person across from you. It’s the reason why the Giants are so successful, JPP doesn’t even like his teammates much less the players he’s facing.


    What’s frustrating is that they are capable(here goes that talent word again) physically of being a consistent team…They just are mentally prepared for it in anyway

    1. There was one play where Ware actually got a little chippy. He didn’t like something that McQuistan did to him at the end of the play, and he dove on top of him. Should have been a flag, and probably would have been a flag if the regular refs were there. I was thinking “Who’s that?” Got a closer look and was like, “Wow, Ware.” Wasn’t expecting it to be him.

      1. Derf Diggy says:

        I saw that….it was reactive though, McQuistan instigated it. I don’t advocate dirty play, or when players get into it…but there’s something to always be said about Jeff Fisher teams and the “chippyness” that follows them. You need the C.Finnegans and SUH’s on a defense to have an edge.

        The boys don’t have one…Lee may be that person, I don’t know..but it’s frustrating to watch them get run over for 80+ yards twice in a row…and not a single Seahawks player felt any pain.

        Buddy Ryan and Jimmy Johnson had it right.

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