The Cowboys have been looking for more physicality in their defense and they decided to make some wholesale changes. One of those changes was to promote special teams standout Kavon Frazier. They got a ton of production from Frazier in the victory over the Redskins.
He earned more playing time after this game, he served as a spark for the defense. The way he sees the play, reacts, then has the speed to come down lay the wood is something Dallas had been missing. Frazier had six tackles and one tackle for loss but he also made plays like this:
One presence that has really been missed this season has been that of former defensive captain Barry Church. Frazier is making his play for that role on the team, a smart, run-stopping safety who can thump.
You can’t mention the emergence of Frazier without talking about the guy who was somewhat demoted, Byron Jones. What they got from Frazier is what they weren’t getting from Jones and it’s clear that they’re not that high on Byron anymore.
The Cowboys are really down on Byron Jones. Kavon Frazier rotated every two series with Jones. That was the change a safety that Jason Garrett talked about earlier this week. Frazier played well— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) December 1, 2017
To be clear, Jones is one heck of an athlete but what else does he do for the defense in his current role? The Cowboys wanted a rangy athlete as a free safety but they also want versatility. The problem is that they want Jones to be something he’s not and it’s time to give him a try at cornerback. He’s not a bad player in coverage and has the range and ability to cover different types of receivers including tight ends.
The organization isn’t likely to pick up his fifth-year option but you can’t help but think he can be a good player in this league. He’s just not being used in a way that fits his abilities. In these last four games, it may be best to try him out at cornerback and see what you have or don’t.
When the Cowboys’ offense dominates at the line of scrimmage like they did on Thursday night, they can beat any team in the league. The Cowboys battered and bruised Washington all night long and showed that it was health plus a lack of execution that caused their three-game skid. They were healthier in this game and it showed:
get you a tyron smith in your life pic.twitter.com/KiwtljDqh4— nobody (@nick_pants) December 1, 2017
Tyron Smith was incredible in this game but credit goes to the entire offensive line for being able to run at will and punish their rival.
They couldn’t ignore the passing game because this team needs balance. They had to keep Washington’s defense on their toes. Their amazing offensive line play kept the offense in a position to do anything they wanted. If their line continues to play like that, this team can win out.
We’re not going to batter him too bad because he did have a transverse process fracture in his back during this game. However, his effort as of late has been questionable. It started against the Chargers, where he barely attempts to get a potential fumble in the red zone that would have kept them from scoring.
Orlando Scandrick's effort here is pathetic. He had no desire to get on the turf to get to this ball. pic.twitter.com/BNcNmxsgp1— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 24, 2017
In this past game, he seemed to be out there with no interest of making tackles or even carrying his man to completion:
Kirk Cousins finds an open Ryan Grant for a 20-yard TD pass on left side. Orlando Scandrick let Grant go by him off line of scrimmage and Jeff Heath was late getting over to cover him. Now 17-7 Cowboys.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) December 1, 2017
Orlando Scandrick did not exactly chase Crowder very hard after that catch.— John Schmeelk (@Schmeelk) December 1, 2017
Be clear that wasn’t any rookie that allowed that receiver to run untouched it was veteran Orlando Scandrick.....AWFUL #COWBOYSNATION— V. George Smith (@VGeorgeSmith) December 1, 2017
Scandrick is a good player and when he turns it on, he’s known to erase the receivers he has to cover. If he’s hurt, he needs to get rest and that’s likely to keep him out a few games. The Cowboys still need Orlando Scandrick and especially if they somehow can get on a run here and make the playoffs. With that said, his effort is lacking and he’s just not the guy that can play well when he’s dinged up.
The way he has been returning kicks over the past few weeks gave you a feeling this would happen at some point:
As everyone is aware, Switzer’s return abilities were a huge reason for drafting him in the fourth round this past year. He tied an NCAA record with five scoring returns in one season but also had seven scoring returns in his collegiate career. Switzer’s ability to see the open space, weave, and turn on the jets are incredibly valuable.
If you can flip the field position in this league, you can win a lot of games. Switzer’s return also helped the offense because Dak Prescott was receiving X-rays at the time. Switzer finally showed up huge in a game and his return sparked the entire team.
It’s hard to criticize the passing offense when the team gains so much on the ground. However, Dak only had just over 100 passing yards. He was dealing with a swollen hand but still had two touchdowns.
The issue though is that in the first half, the Cowboys’ defense got the ball back a few different times and the offense stalled. Against the better teams in this league, you cannot continue to stall in the first halves of games. When your defense is playing as well as they are, the Cowboys’ offense must keep up their end of the bargain and score points.
Instead, we watched as Dak underthrew a few, he also overthrew a few, and the attempted shuffle pass to Jason Witten out of bounds was a head-scratcher. They need to find a way to spark the passing game and it might take the short-intermediate, high-percentage throws to get Dak into rhythm. If he hadn’t hurt his hand, maybe he would have had more than 100 yards. He made some big-time throws when he needed to so hopefully he can build on that in the final month of the season.