Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Beat Writers Report: Moving Ware
By Calvin Watkins
After two weeks, the Dallas Cowboys are 1-1 following the 17-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon. With that we review it in our weekly Beat Writers Report.
- There was discussions about moving defensive end DeMarcus Ware from the right defensive end spot to the left side to create mismatches in the 4-3 scheme. The Cowboys moved Ware around the line of scrimmage when he was an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. In Sunday's game, Ware unoffically lined up 44 times on the right side and eight times on the left side getting a sack on each side. Ware also stood up as an outside linebacker eight times on the right, and twice on the left side. Ware said moving around the line was by design and expect to see more of it. Ware, as a right end, did drop back into coverage once, to cover running back Jamaal Charles.
- Former tight end coach John Garrett charted contested catches when he was on the Cowboys' staff. A contested catch is pretty simple, a receiver makes a catch with a defender covering him. Sunday, Dez Bryant made seven contested catches and finished the game with nine receptions for 141 yards. It was also interesting to note Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris, Terrance Williams, Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar also made receptions with a defender draped on or close to them. During training camp practices, the Cowboys worked on beating man coverage and coach Jason Garrett talks about receivers winning their routes, not so much beating defenders, but making the catch as well.
- We've always like backup running back Lance Dunbar's speed and his ability to make defenders miss. He made two Chief defenders miss Sunday, but his fumble after a reception doesn't help the Cowboys confidence in giving him the ball more. Dunbar is an excellent change-of-pace back, shifty, speedy, nice anchor on pass protection and good hands. Well, we think he's got good hands. He fumbled once in the preseason and now again in the regular season. With the run game struggles in the opening two weeks, the Cowboys need him to spread defenses out by catching balls out of the backfield and taking screen passes for big yards. He got just three snaps in his season debut and that has to increase, but you can't blame the coaches for that.
- It's very easy to rip running back DeMarco Murray for his carries on Sunday. But let's be honest, the run blocking was inconsistent. The first run play of the game, Murray gets dropped for a loss but right tackle Doug Free appeared to miss a block on linebacker Derrick Johnson, whose penetration of the line of scrimmage forced the running back to run outside. Murray's second run is a combination of Witten possibly not holding the block long enough and Murray running into the back of him. Another run saw Murray miss a hole to the right side and run up the middle, knocking center Travis Frederick into the second level. At one point during the game, Murray was getting his visor taken off, did it give him a glare? Did it fog up? Murray's vision could have been a problem for him on Sunday.
- Notes: Witten received plenty of attention from the Chiefs defense. He was shaded by a linebacker and a safety from the first offensive snap. Witten rarely got one-on-one coverage, something the Cowboys like to take advantage of in the middle of the field. The Chiefs took their chances on stopping Bryant one-on-one and rather not let Witten beat them for big yards down field. ... Cornerback Morris Claiborne played 37 snaps with a busted shoulder and Orlando Scandrick (67 snaps) started in his place. Scandrick might be a better option as a starter until Claiborne can get healthy. ... Guard Brian Waters looked pretty good against the Chiefs, but not good enough to let Mackenzy Bernadeau sit the bench. Waters has a better resume and eventually will take over the starters role. It won't happen in Week 3 against St. Louis.