Cowboys vs. Giants Week 10 Initial Post-Game Notes, Observations
What an inspiring performance. The Cowboys showed tonight that playing with heart and determination is far more important than simply being talented. Actually, Dallas was decimated with injuries, both going into the game and during it. At one point, Bryan McCann and Orlando Scandrick were the top two cornerbacks. You can tell this team wanted to make a statement against the Giants, and they did.
- Dez Bryant is insane. He has some of the best ball skills I’ve ever seen. He already appears to be in a league of his own at times, and I’m glad Jason Garrett/Jon Kitna took shots downfield to him. When the ball is in the air, it belongs to Bryant. The Cowboys need to continue to air it out to the rookie, even when he appears covered.
- I don’t really like Bryant on kick returns though. Injury risks aside, he doesn’t seem to possess the same game-breaking ability as on punt returns. A kick returner is afforded less time to dance–it’s one cut and go. Bryant uses more improvisation on his returns, meaning he’s best suited for punts.
- Alan Ball’s interception at the end of the game was awesome. Cowboys fans have been waiting for those kind of instincts all year. The Giants tried to beat Scandrick on a stutter-go over the middle. They’ve done this multiple times in the past, but it didn’t fool Ball this time. I loved the play he made so much because you could tell he’s seen that play on film, but he allowed his athleticism to take over and just made a play.
- Marion Barber did not start! I’m not sure if this was a statement by Garrett or if he simply wanted Felix Jones in on the first play (it was a flare to Jones). We’ll find out next week, but I don’t think it was an accident. His “starting presence” doesn’t seem to mean much to Garrett.
- Want to make a statement, Jerry Jones? Cut David Buehler. Even though the season is “over” (in terms of playoff hopes), it’s never okay to have that sort of uncertainty at the kicker position. Find a guy who can come in for the remainder of the season and maybe he’ll be able to stick around, because we know Buehler isn’t the future. The primary reason he needs to go (other than the horrid field goal attempts, of course), are his kickoffs. They’re nothing more than average at this point, which is mystifying. Unless the coaches think he can regain his kickoff distance in a hurry, Buehler needs to go.
- Nice game for Victor Butler. He’s gotten a little more playing time of late and today he did pretty well. He put some pressure on Eli Manning and just looks natural as a pass-rusher.
- I obviously wish we had seen more of Tashard Choice. I’m not sure what his official snap count was, but I’ll let you know tomorrow.
- I thought the Cowboys’ clock management before halftime was awful. Garrett will need to get that fixed. I didn’t look at the film, but Dallas had the ball around midfield with 30-40 seconds and two timeouts but decided to not use one of them until just about 10 seconds remained. I know you don’t want a repeat of the Week One debacle, but come on.
- The offensive line looked really, really good. Kitna was able to make so many accurate deep throws because of the protection. I’ll look at each lineman more over the next couple of days, but all of them appeared to play quite well.
- Bradie James looked like he did during the preseason–fast, strong, and mean. His stop of Brandon Jacobs on 4th and 1 was huge. He was really the only defender who initially got a hat on Jacobs, and the 750-pound running back went nowhere.
- Mike Jenkins was probably embarrassed over his effort last week because he made a concerned effort to be physical. I don’t want to give him too much credit because this should be the norm, but hopefully the “cut Mike Jenkins” sentiments will disappear.
- Felix Jones looks like he’s regained his speed. I don’t want to say he was ever slow, but I don’t think the weight he added in the offseason was suiting him well in the preaseason and start of the regular season. I’m not sure if he’s lost weight, but no one was even close to him on the screen pass he took for a long touchdown.
- How about Jon Kitna? He’s one of the league’s top backups, regardless of how “awful” fans think he plays. It seems he’s figured out that when in doubt, just throw it up to the rookie.
- The Cowboys lined up in a new formation on the first drive of the game. There appeared to be three tight ends to the left side of the formation. All of them cleared out to the left, bringing the linebackers with them. The Cowboys must have been anticipating man coverage from the defense, because they snuck Felix Jones into the area vacated by the linebackers and got him the ball quickly. I don’t know if he was the only option on the play, but he was certainly the first.
- The Cowboys are really lucky that they got Bryan McCann back after cutting him before the season. Once he intercepted Manning’s pass a yard deep in the Cowboys’ end zone, you knew his speed would take him the distance.
- Orlando Scandrick played pretty well, particularly considering he was covering the Giants’ top receivers. Perhaps he’s better-suited outside than in the slot.
- It was a really quiet game for Jason Witten. I think he was targeted just twice all night, but that’s fine when Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are continually beating the defense deep.
- I’m not sure why Gerald Sensabaugh pushed Terence Newman on the field, but I’ll check the tape and see if I can discover the issue. The Cowboys had to take a timeout because they were busy bickering amongst each other and didn’t line up in time.
- Congratulations to Jason Garrett on your first win as a head coach! You clearly had this team ready to play. Hopefully that becomes a trend.