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The Washington Redskins have no big powerful receiver, but they have speed on the outside and strength in the TE’s. Jordan Reed is a monster and combine that with Matt Jones and this zone running scheme that we know all to well here in Dallas, this offense has potential to be problematic for the Cowboys. But there are holes.
The Redskins defense also has plenty of holes, and the Steelers exposed those with arguably the best receiver on the planet and a strong running game.
If you want to beat the Redskins Sunday, here are some options from past evidence against the Steelers.
Offensively, you can always rely on Desean Jackson to be a knucklehead and make not know what he’s supposed to do. Here, is a quick slant that Jackson stopped on. There are two reasons he quit on the route, A) the defender was playing off and he thought he could find space underneath B) he doesn’t understand the playbook still.
Kirk Cousins quick drops and fires and Jackson is nowhere near the ball, leaving a direct pass to the cornerback, which was dropped. If this happens, the Cowboys must catch these and give their offense the ball bacl as often as possible. Also notice the linebacker was about to destroy Jackson if he came all the way across, sometimes he is scared.
The rest of the night, the Steelers disguised their coverages enough to force Cousins to keep everything underneath. Two things, A) he doesn’t have a good enough connection to his receivers and isn’t accurate enough to make this a winning formula B) the Steelers closed and tackled well which eliminated Jackson, Garcon and Co. from breaking loose for any big TD’s off short pass plays.
The Cowboys must keep the Skins receivers in front of them when they have the ball and when they don’t.
On the other side of the ball is where the big story is though.
Jason Garrett just talked about the explosive play, the big play, the toxic play in his press conference. It’s a stat that they look at as a huge indicator of who wins and loses. If you have more explosive/big/toxic plays, more likely you win the game. The Steelers did just that.
Here is a play where Josh Norman follows Antonio Brown in motion back to the left side, and the Steelers find plenty of space for Brown between the safety and Norman. It was incomplete, but this is an example of something the Cowboys could do with Dez that could be a gamebreaker.
Big time gains if Brown holds onto it. Actually, when Norman came in for the tackle, Brown tried to spin out to the sideline to use Norman’s momentum to shake him and head up field. There was a challenge as to whether there was a fumble or incomplete, but it was inc. Still, lots of space heading down that sideline.
Instead, the Steelers just threw it deep.
Roethlisberger saw the safety dip down towards the line and one-on-one coverage on the outside with Brown, matched up against the weaker cornerback. Ben threw him open and made a perfect pass, but definitely took advantage of the matchup.
One thing the Cowboys tried to do often to the Giants was expose their two high safeties by patiently taking the underneath. However, they were never able to capitalize on big play strikes to Dez down field. The Giants felt even though they were losing in the soft spaces of their defense they were limiting Dak and Dez.
They also felt they could close quicker on Beasley and Witten if needed.
The Redskins tried the same thing, and Roethlisberger made them pay by hitting Eli Rogers all night. Then when he finally hit Brown deep, the Skins had to pay attention which opened up even more options for Rogers like this play.
This drive eventually ends in a TD that bounces around in the end zone, but again it’s a quick pass to Rogers out of the slot. Beasley has to make the Redskins pay.
If you want to see the run game of the Cowboys pay off, head to that left side.
Jeff Cavanaugh said the Cowboys need to power behind Tyron Smith and La’el Collins more often, and Deangelo Williams was able to beat up the Skins defense behind the left side all night.
I know what you are thinking. Cory this is a two tight end set and the tight end pulls to make a block that opens things up for Williams.
Yes. You are correct. And there was so much more of this that Williams essentially won my fantasy game for me. Thanks left side of the Steelers offensive line!
Here’s another time that the Redskins left Brown one-on-one with no safety help…and they paid for it. Pay attention Dak.
And if you didn’t believe me about the left side for the running game, here’s a 15-yard TD from Williams. He made a nice play to split two defenders but still, the left side was gold.
Overall, the Redskins area very beatable opponent. The Steelers offense is far more creative that Dallas has been in the past, but the opportunities will be there for Dak to punish them. The offensive line can definitely control this game, but if they play the drop check Dez check off and throw conservative game, they won’t win the explosive play battle and you will likely see this game come down to the wire like last week against the Giants. Hopefully all of the receivers have been to get out of bounds.
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