The Cowboys and their fans found out just how valuable Tyron Smith and Sean Lee are on Sunday, as Dallas was thumped by the Falcons in week ten. While the Ezekiel Elliott suspension grabbed the majority of the headlines leading up to the NFC clash, we saw just how important having Smith protecting Dak and Lee leading the defense is.
Chaz Green may have had the worst performance from an offensive lineman that I have ever personally seen. Dak had no time to do anything. As soon as he touched the football, he was running for his life just to have any kind of chance to make a play. Meanwhile, the defense completely fell apart after The General had to exit the game with a hamstring injury. The Cowboys have a completely different defense when Lee is on the field compared to when he is not.
The Cowboys must be able to bounce back fast, as the Eagles come to town for a Sunday Night Football battle this weekend.
That said, how did the rookies perform in week ten? Cooper Rush was again active, but he did not see the field in the Cowboys’ loss. I may have liked it if the coaching staff decided to put him in there to prevent any injury to Dak. Chidobe Awuzie was also held out, as the first-year defensive back continues to recover from hamstring injuries of his own. Don’t be surprised if he returns to the lineup against the Eagles.
Two rookies did make their professional debuts for the Cowboys on Sunday. Tight end Blake Jarwin, an undrafted tight end that was pulled up from the practice squad a few weeks ago, was activated in place of the injured Geoff Swaim. Lewis Neal, also an undrafted rookie, got his first chance on the active roster against the Falcons.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at how the rooks performed in week ten.
Last week, Taco Charlton made his believers happy when he got to Alex Smith and brought him down for a crucial sack at a critical moment in the week nine contest. Maybe Taco was turning the corner and would only go up from here, we thought.
Unfortunately, Charlton was nowhere to be seen on Sunday in the Peach State. Sure, he still has plenty of time to make an impact, but aside from that one sack, there has not been too much to get excited about regarding the Cowboys’ first selection of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Taco finished week ten with just one total tackle. Here’s hoping the light comes on and he makes an impact fast. A big play against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football would be really great.
Jourdan Lewis has been the best rookie of the 2017 draft class for America’s Team. The third-round pick has made an impact for this defense since his first professional game back in week two in Mile High. He has an interception, has showed off his impressive open-field tackling, and was not even targeted by Alex Smith in week nine. That’s really impressive for a rookie.
He is still learning and developing, but he has been impressive for much of this season. He was late in coverage on play that allowed Taylor Gabriel to pick up a big 34-yard gain, but he has otherwise played very well this season.
Jourdan Lewis has no fear in coverage. Great job against one of the best in Julio Jones. Really nice job of him flipping his hips and driving on the ball. #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/eBSJBorgDx— John Owning (@JohnOwning) November 14, 2017
Love how patient Jourdan Lewis is at the LOS. Mirrors release, gets position on inside hip of receiver and establish contact to 'feel' the route. #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/KwFQKnMmvp— John Owning (@JohnOwning) November 14, 2017
J-Lew finished with two solo tackles and one pass deflection. He continues to be the Cowboys’ best cornerback and appears to be only getting better.
Ryan Switzer has had his moments, but he also struggled throughout his debut season — which is to be expected. Switz did play pretty well on Sunday: returning two kickoffs for a total of 51 yards and showing off a little bit of his explosion when he returned a punt 11 yards.
The Cowboys need as good as field position as possible, so here’s hoping Switz continues improving and feeling comfortable back there.
Xavier Woods made the highlight of the day for the Cowboys in an otherwise miserable loss.
On the Falcons’ first offensive possession, the home team was facing a third down after the defense stuffed running back Devonta Freeman on two consecutive runs to open the contest. Matt Ryan dropped back to pass and threw it to wide receiver Mohammad Sanu for the first down; except, Anthony Brown played great coverage and the ball tipped up into the air.
Xavier Woods did the rest from there.
Xavier Woods’ 1st career interception! #DALvsATL pic.twitter.com/lFxhPgVwPe— ✭Cowboys News✭ (@DemBoyz_News) November 12, 2017
Woods later downed a Chris Jones punt inside the five on special teams. He ended the day with four total tackles, two solo tackles, a pass deflection, and that one incredible INT. He seems to be getting better and better each and every week, something that should make Cowboys fans excited.
Noah Brown continues to make the active squad — showing that this coaching staff strongly believes in their seventh-round selection. Our own DannyPhantom and I were pounding the table for Brown to make the 53-man roster as the sixth receiver. So far, he has been activated in nearly every game.
A big reason for that is his willingness to make blocks. Brown made a huge block to help free up Zeke on Elliott’s touchdown on the screen play back in the 49ers game. This time around, the coaching staff designed a rollout play for Dak, allowing him to find the open man or carry the ball into the end zone himself. Brown was a potential option for Dak, but as soon as Prescott turned up field, Brown made sure that his quarterback would not be taken down from behind. It was a beautiful play design with incredible execution.
.@Dak Prescott will do it himself...— NFL (@NFL) November 12, 2017
Touchdown, @DallasCowboys! #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/vnL6Iicoqg
Love this play design by Dallas. Gives Dak Prescott a ton of options. pic.twitter.com/ertVimYSJS— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 13, 2017
I have been impressed by 85 and am excited to see how he continues to develop.
Blake Jarwin, a former tight end for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, played in his first game for the professional Cowboys. Due to Geoff Swaim being held out, Jarwin was activated for the first time in his young NFL career.
In his first game with Dallas, Jarwin was already showing off his blocking ability — an aspect that you practically must have if you want to play for the Cowboys. Check out this block that freed up Alfred Morris for the best run of the game:
Oh hello Blake Jarwin. Nice block by No. 89 to help spring Alfred Morris on this Duo. La'el Collins helps Morris get a couple more yards pic.twitter.com/guSjkGLSJ1— John Owning (@JohnOwning) November 14, 2017
Forget Alfred Morris ... WHAT A BLOCK by Blake Jarwin #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/hlDHliJ7CD— Troy Hughes™ (@TommySledge) November 12, 2017
The tight end room is crowded, especially if Rico Gathers is able to make his regular season debut at some point this season, but Jarwin made the most of his limited opportunities on Sunday.
The undrafted rookie out of LSU was called up from the practice squad and made his NFL debut against the Falcons. Neal made his impact felt in the snaps the he played for the Cowboys, too.
The former LSU Tigers defensive lineman pressured Matt Ryan, got a QB hit, and recorded a TFL for the Cowboys. He finished the game with one tackle and was credited with half of a tackle-for-loss against Atlanta. The former practice sqauder impressed in his limited action for Dallas.
Lewis Neal flashed a few times against ATL pic.twitter.com/oMjMCoewFf— John Owning (@JohnOwning) November 13, 2017
Again pic.twitter.com/Jpl2QBcs7O— John Owning (@JohnOwning) November 13, 2017