Dallas Cowboys: Ma'ake Kemoeatu

A look back: Where's Brandon Carr's press?

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
12:16
PM ET
IRVING, Texas – With like Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, as well as Mike Jenkins, the Cowboys believe they have cornerbacks who can excel at press coverage.

On Sunday at Baltimore, the Cowboys played full press coverage eight times. They were full off 13 times and played half press 20 times.

Carr’s strength is his ability to press, but he played off far too much.

On the first drive he was off twice on Jacoby Jones and was beaten for first-down catches of 5 and 8 yards. On Anquan Boldin’s 20-yard catch in the second quarter he was off and went for the ball and missed. In the fourth quarter he played press-bail on Boldin’s 13-yard catch and on the 31-yarder he jammed Boldin at the line but slipped.

Boldin is not going to run by any defensive backs, but why not get on him at the line and disrupt the timing. Flacco and Boldin played pitch and catch way too much.

** Let’s take a look at the pressure the Cowboys used Sunday. They had three-man pressure four times and it resulted in the only sack of Flacco by DeMarcus Ware. They rushed four players 15 times and were able to get four pressures or hits on Flacco. They rushed five or more six times and had two Sean Lee pressures.

** The longest play the Cowboys allowed was a 43-yard dump off to Ray Rice. I wonder if Lee was supposed to go after the quarterback or just make sure Rice did not get off into a route on that play. Rice almost appeared to let Lee scrape by him, knowing the middle of the field was open. With the corners in man coverage there was not a defender within 15 yards of Rice. Jenkins had the first attempt on Rice at the Dallas 48 and missed.

Here’s a three pack of special teams’ observations:

** The Jacoby Jones’ kickoff return. It’s difficult to blame the placement of the kick when it’s 8 yards deep, but Jason Garrett mentioned it on Monday. Bailey’s kick was down the middle of the field and gave Jones a lot of room. Dan Connor got his arm on Jones at the 11 but the returner was not touched after that. Alex Albright was caught too far inside. Andre Holmes was double-teamed (possibly held). Danny McCray was blocked well, too, leaving a big alley.

** Do hashmarks matter for a kicker? Bailey said no but his field goal attempts from 42 and 34 yards in the same direction came from the right hash and the wind pushed them over to the middle of the uprights or middle left. His 51-yard attempt came from the left hashmark and the wind caught it and blew it left two feet. From the right hashmark, that kick is good.

** Field position is a huge part of the game and the Cowboys missed a chance for better field position after the Ravens punted from their 9 in the third quarter. But cornerback Orlando Scandrick did a miserable job on blocking gunner Chykie Brown, giving him a free shot on Dwayne Harris. If Scandrick blocked even a little, then Harris has a chance to take the return into plus territory. He didn’t and the drive started at the Dallas 45.

** Phil Costa played a great game in his return from a three-game absence with a back injury. You can’t help but wonder if there were some different calls made by Costa that newcomer Ryan Cook didn’t make. The line was downhill all day at Baltimore. But Costa made one error that led to Tony Romo’s pick. The Ravens brought five rushers at Romo on the play. Nate Livings was beaten by linebacker Dannell Ellberbe but Costa was slow to react to his left, giving Ellerbe the chance to hit Romo as he was throwing to Kevin Ogletree. Romo wasn’t able to stick the throw and was inaccurate, leading to Cary Williams’ pick.

** On Felix Jones’ 22-yard TD run, Costa did a great job of turning tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu to create a hole. Livings ate up Ray Lewis and Jason Witten and Tyron Smith sealed the left edge. That left Jones on safety Bernard Pollard alone and Jones made him miss. That old Jones’ burst also appeared down the sideline and he was able to run through Ed Reed at the 2 before crossing the goal line. If the Cowboys can get that Jones to show up again, then DeMarco Murray’s absence might not be that bad.

Scout's Eye on Washington Redskins

September, 9, 2010
9/09/10
11:45
PM ET
Scout's Eye
Sunday's has the makings of a difficult game for the Cowboys on several levels. It’s a division opponent, it’s on the road, and the Redskins have a new coach, which means new systems on offense and defense.

Coach Mike Shanahan has had a great deal of success in his NFL coaching career running a zone-blocking scheme with a mobile quarterback. Wade Phillips and the Cowboys staff have had to resort to other means to try and figure out what Shanahan might use in his game plan.

Dallas worked against Shanahan and the Broncos two seasons ago in practice and played a preseason game as well. The Cowboys can draw from that experience but also from the four games the Redskins played this preseason against the Bills, Ravens, Jets and Cardinals.

In studying those games, Shanahan has the offense working in that zone-blocking scheme. Rookie left tackle Trent Williams is a nice fit in this offense. He is mobile, plus he is able to play with a form of power. He shows the ability to play on his feet. You rarely see him on the ground.

A nice matchup to watch was when Williams went against Terrell Suggs of the Ravens. Suggs is a pass rusher similar to what he will face with DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Suggs is an explosive player off the edge. Where he was able to take advantage of Williams was down inside on the rush.

The Redskins will put tight ends in the backfield to help with protection. Cooley and Davis did help in the preseason, but it wasn’t always to Williams’ side. Look for Ware to throw a wide variety of moves at Williams early in the game to gauge where he is.

Donovan McNabb told the media Wednesday that his ankle was fine and he was ready for the start against the Cowboys. McNabb hurt the ankle in the preseason, and there was talk that he might miss the game, which you knew wasn’t going to happen. Where McNabb is good in this offense is his ability to be a deceptive ballhandler, use his feet and deliver the ball on the move.

A large part of this offense is the use of the quarterback on boots and waggles. The Redskins want to pound the ball on the stretch play, then spin the quarterback away from the flow to work the ball to Cooley or Davis on the delay or Santana Moss down the field.

What the Redskins showed in their preseason games were routes down the field. Galloway and Moss both have speed and will stretch the field on vertical routes. Moss is dangerous is when he lines up in the slot and has the opportunity to run deep or crossing routes. He puts a great deal of pressure on the defense when he is allowed to do this because he is not afraid to take his route anywhere, plus he has the speed to create separation.

Cooley causes problems because of his ability to line up anywhere in the formation and complete routes. He has consistent hands and is a dependable player on third downs, much like a Jason Witten is for the Cowboys.

If the Cowboys are going to have success on defense Sunday night, it will have to be controlling the Redskins running game and not allowing McNabb to be effective in the play-action game.

*Throughout his NFL career as a head coach, Shanahan’s teams have been of the 4-3 defensive type of scheme. In Shanahan’s return to football -- after sitting out the 2009 season -- he is now working with a 3-4 look.

When asked about the switch, Shanahan said that in the 3-4, you can cause the offense more problems.

The scheme change presents challenges for the personnel staff. Do you have enough linebackers? Who is your nose man? The Redskins had a solid 4-3 group last season but now must move players around to handle the change.

Throughout his career, Andre Carter played as a wide 9 technique, with his hand on the ground rushing the passer. Now he is moved to outside linebacker, playing over the tight end and dropping in coverage.

Linebacker London Fletcher played with two big inside players at tackle to protect him. He now only has a nose man to do that.

Where this game can be won or lost is if the Cowboys do a poor job of handling the linebackers for the Redskins. Brian Orakpo, Carter and Fletcher can all make plays.

Across the defensive front, Adam Carriker, Ma’ake Kemoeatu, Kedric Golston are not dynamic players. Albert Haynesworth is the best player in this group but has struggled with his conditioning this preseason and at this time is not a starter. Haynesworth has played both nose and end in the preseason and did a much better job in the Jets game then he did in the others.

Where the Cowboys need to worry is if Haynesworth becomes motivated and decides he wants to be a dominant player.

The Redskins like to move Orakpo around in passing situations. There were times this preseason where he and Carter were rushing from the same side or Orakpo was coming from the inside linebacker spot.

In the preseason, I thought that cornerback Carlos Rogers has played better than DeAngelo Hall. Hall is a veteran player that understands how to play routes, but the physical side of the game will be a struggle.

Look for the Cowboys to try and find a way to attack safeties LaRon Landry and Kareem Moore. Landry has been a liability in coverage because of his aggressive play. Landry is a hitter but will struggle in space.

SPONSORED HEADLINES