The Cowboys’ offense obviously didn’t execute well in Washington, while the defense was just the opposite. Below are my individual player grades for the game, post-film review.
- Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips: C+
He gets an A- as a defensive coordinator, and a D as a head coach. The Cowboys may have been prepared to play from an ‘Xs and Os’ standpoint, but not from an emotional one.
- Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett: C-
I actually liked the design of most of Garrett’s plays. The Cowboys lined up in 25 different formations and, for the most part, ran unique, innovative plays out of them. The reason this grade is low is because 1) the offense put up just seven points and 2) the decision to not take a knee before halftime was horrendous.
Romo was good, but not spectacular. He was off-target on eight passes, which is just about equal with his per-game average from 2009. The decision to flip the ball out to Tashard Choice just before halftime may have been a poor one, but he also led a game-winning drive that turned out to be not-so-game-winning.
Barber showed more explosion than he did in the preseason and his blitz pickup was solid, as usual. Most importantly, he seems like he’s regained the fire which characterized his play from a few years ago.
I thought Jones would get used more than he did. He received just 10 touches, and there’s really not much to report.
Normally I don’t put too much weight on any single play, but Choice’s fumble before halftime was a killer. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett should have called a quarterback kneel, but Choice has to play smarter as well.
For anyone who was concerned about Austin’s play after receiving a big contract extension, Sunday night’s game is proof that Austin is the real deal and here to stay. His blocking was good, too.
I’m convinced Williams is a receiver who can be good, but not in the Cowboys’ system. He never gets particularly wide open, so he needs a quarterback who can put the ball on him and allow him to adjust. Romo isn’t that–he scrambles and buys time to allow receivers to work their way open.
I thought Bryant had a really good debut. I was shocked by how often Romo targeted him, but he displayed his patented hands and excellent body control. His catches to start the final drive were clutch.
Witten did well in the run game (and in pass protection), but it almost seemed as if he wasn’t a part of the game plan on offense. For whatever reason, he just wasn’t getting as open as usual.
Bennett was really solid in the run game, which is primarily where the Cowboys employed him.
You didn’t hear Free’s name called too much against the Redskins, which is a good thing. He got overpowered at times by Brian Orakpo, but he responded by doing what he does best: using his speed and athleticism to lead the way on counters, screens, and so on.
Not a bad night for the backup. He missed a stunt on one occasion, but I thought he blocked pretty well in the run game. The running backs ran behind him quite often, too. He’s really not much of a downgrade from Kyle Kosier as a run blocker.
I know Gurode gave up a sack, but that stemmed from confusion on his assignment (as opposed to getting beat physically). Neither is better than the other, but Gurode thoroughly manhandled Albert Haynesworth most of the night. Let’s hope he can keep that up against players who are trying.
I’ve heard that Davis is old and overrated, but he seems to be the Cowboys’ most consistent lineman to me.
For holding. In all seriousness, Barron performed better than an ‘H’ grade. He’s all the way up at ‘F.’
Ratliff was good, but he got nailed for two costly penalties that really hurt Dallas. You still want to see him keep his aggression up, though.
Brent actually got a lot of snaps, but he didn’t make too much of an impact.
There’s a reason Spears is still starting. He’s crucial to Dallas’ run defense.
Ware was all over the place before going down with a neck strain. Thankfully he’s okay.
The Redskins really didn’t double-team either outside linebacker that often, meaning Spencer had a rare off-night.
In his limited snaps, Butler was overpowered in the run game.
A high grade just for this.
I’m not really sure why Coach Phillips blitzed the inside backers so often, but it didn’t seem to work.
Newman gave up a few completions to Santana Moss, but overall he played pretty well considering how much the ‘Boys blitzed.
An ‘A’ in coverage and a ‘D’ against the run. He’s quickly becoming Deion Sanders (kind of).
The entire secondary looked pretty good. Scandrick still seems to be just a half step out of position, though. He’s on the brink of a big-time game.
Sensy struggled some against Chris Cooley and wasn’t particularly devastating in run support.
As was the case with former Cowboy Ken Hamlin, there really isn’t much to report on Ball. He didn’t let anyone get deep, which is his primary objective, but he didn’t make any big plays either.
No touchbacks and 0-1 on field goals.
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