- This will sound ridiculous, but other than two or three plays, I loved Jason Garrett’s play-calling. He actually did a tremendous job of being unpredictable, but it just didn’t work out. . .this time. If he continues to call plays in this manner, the Cowboys will be successful on offense. Trust me.
- The play-calling out of “Double Tight Strong” was tremendous. Remember how the Cowboys ran a strong side dive out of the formation nearly three-fourths of all plays last year? Well last night, they ran a toss, a counter, and my personal favorite. . .a strong side dive which turned into a halfback pass. It didn’t work out, but that was simply because Washington was in the right defense for it. That sort of innovative play-calling from Garrett is new and will help the Cowboys win an extra game or two this season.
- The most obvious exception to Garrett’s success, and the primary reason the Cowboys deserved to lose the football game, was the decision to pass the ball with four seconds left before halftime. Play-calling is all about risk/reward, and the possible reward in that situation was almost nothing. It is a shame Garrett’s improvements the rest of the night were wiped away by one dumb decision.
- The Cowboys need to stop throwing so many smoke screens. Last night, they threw them against what appeared to be man coverage, when the cornerback was too close to the wide receiver for them to be successful.
- I’m not sure why Coach Phillips decided to blitz so much. It seemed like the only time Washington beat Dallas was against the blitz, and I explained before the game why the ‘Boys could succeed without sending extra rushers.
- You have to at least be somewhat excited about Tony Romo’s ability to bring the troops back down the field and in a position to win the game with about a minute to go in the game. He didn’t play his best last night, but he was at his best when the Cowboys most needed it.
- Who thought the rookie from Oklahoma State would be the Cowboys’ most-targeted receiver last night? He did some good things, but he also appeared to miss a few hot reads. That will come with time.
- It is great to get Bryant involved, but if it comes at the cost of not throwing to Jason Witten, then the Cowboys might have a problem. He had some favorable match-ups last night, but the Cowboys went other directions.
- Can we agree Miles Austin is the real deal? He is a running back playing receiver–and a Pro Bowl-caliber one at that.
- It has to be said. . .Alex Barron was awful. We all know it, so I won’t go into detail until I break down the tape. If you feel bad right now though, imagine how he feels.
- Tashard Choice’s first career fumble came at the worst possible time. Still, I blame the coaches more for that play than Choice, even though he should have known to simply go down.
- The Cowboys used undrafted rookie fullback Chris Gronkowski quite a lot. He looked good on his lone carry, but Dallas needs to be careful with the play-calling when he’s in the game. His presence could tip the defense to either a fullback dive or a pass (otherwise Deon Anderson would be in the game).
- Other than one play, Andre Gurode had a good game. He manhandled Albert Haynesworth at times.
- Mike Jenkins showed why he’s probably the Cowboys’ best cover corner, but he still needs to tackle better. His form is awful.
- I was really shocked with how much playing time Josh Brent got. He appeared to be in most of the time with the nickel defense and even some other situations.
- Victor Butler was one of the few Cowboys who didn’t play well against the run. He held up well during the preseason, but last night he got overpowered at the point-of-attack.
- Did we all see how important Marcus Spears is to the Dallas’ run defense?
- DeMarcus Ware was absolutely everywhere last night. That’s true every game, but he looked particularly amped up for this one. Let’s hope his injury isn’t serious.
- I think the Cowboys need to pick a return man and stick with him. The revolving door of Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Dez Bryant, and Felix Ogletree doesn’t allow one guy to get in a rhythm. Akwasi should be the guy, in my opinion.
I am going to start breaking down the film. I’ll post my findings within the next couple of days.