Game Film Reveals Primary Reason for Cowboys Defensive Improvement


I love NFL Game Rewind especially with my iPad. The combination of the coaches film and the telestrator feature has me sitting alone in my four corner room sipping Tito’s and explaining plays to myself. Unfortunately, thanks to the NFL’s copyright policy, I can’t post clips of the games. After a dominant performance over the St. Louis Rams, it’s fun to watch the coaches film.

Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar (89) scores a third quarter touchdown against the St. Louis Ram at AT

Watching the game to see how plays are run and developed, you’ll notice players doing the little things that help create big plays. Dwayne Harris sealing the edge on the Cowboys first offensive play. Terrance Williams blocking down field on running plays. How the effective running game moved the Rams’ defenders out of position for play action passes and draw running plays. What really jumps off the screen is the Cowboys defense and the return to fundamentals.

Far too often, last season, the Cowboys defense would allow opponents to convert third downs with poor tackling. Some of the sloppiness was probably encouraged by former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. It seemed Ryan cheered the big hit more than the third down stop. One guilty party was former cornerback Mike Jenkins, now with the Oakland Raiders. Jenkins would consistently refuse to “wrap up” opposing players when making a tackle. This year, Cowboy defenders are swarming to the ball and limiting receivers yards after the catch as well as running backs yards after contact.

Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) celebrates a sack in the third quarter against the St. Louis Rams at AT

The Cowboys defense limited the St. Louis Rams to 18 total first half yards and one first down. The defense finished with 6 sacks and one forced fumble. Can someone please remind me why this roster has space for defensive tackle Jay Ratliff? I was shocked that defensive end Anthony Spencer will have season ending surgery because he’s been a non-factor player this year. Spencer, the player that obtained the coveted “franchise tag” last year, will end his season with two tackles. At least that’s two more tackles than Jay Ratliff, but he’s guaranteed 10.627 million or 5.3135 million per tackle.

Speaking of expendable, I’ve written numerous times that Miles Austin should become trade bait as soon as his hamstring became a problem. I still don’t see any reason for the Cowboys to be fascinated with Terrance Williams yet, but it was nice to see that the offense didn’t miss a beat when Austin left the game. Dwayne Harris is still the better receiver and congrats to him for his second NFL touchdown. From day one, I’ve been telling anyone that will listen — Harris is going to be a special player and could be our version of Victor Cruz or Wes Welker. There’s nothing wrong with being a slot receiver — don’t be good, D. Harris, be great!

Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Dwayne Harris (17) makes a fourth quarter touchdown catch against St. Louis Ram safety T.J. McDonald (25) at AT

I also have to congratulate tight end, Gavin Escobar on his first NFL touchdown. I don’t have any NFL experience as a player, but they say it’s really hard to catch your first touchdown pass when you’re wide open. I love the performance of our offensive and defensive lines right now, but I’m still waiting for Mackenzy Bernadeau to be replaced.

It was good to finally see what the Cowboys are capable of when the offense, defense and special teams all contribute. The Cowboys are leading the NFC Beast (NFC East) and while I know plenty of fans that support New York, Washington and Philadelphia, I don’t think about their teams until we play them. I only care about the Cowboys and the next opponent, so stay classy Cowboy Nation. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and focus on putting together a string of consecutive wins starting next week against the San Diego Chargers.