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Buccaneers vs Cowboys: Final Report Cards, Player Grades for Dallas

Steven MirandaCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2016

Buccaneers vs Cowboys: Final Report Cards, Player Grades for Dallas

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    The Dallas Cowboys won an ugly game at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dallas was able to survive another bad start and they relied on the foot of kicker Dan Bailey who made three field goals in the game, giving Dallas a 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay.

    Dallas did not look sharp for most of the game and turned the ball over three times, however the defense was fantastic and held Tampa Bay to just 166-yards of total offense all day.

    Dallas improves to 2-1 while dropping the Buccaneers to 1-2 on the season.

    Let's take a closer look at the Cowboys’ final postgame player grades and evaluations.


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    Tony Romo: B-

    Tony Romo has struggled in back-to-back games. His accuracy was a little better, but he looked indecisive at times. He continues to be elusive but unfortunately he was sacked four times in this game.

    Sometimes it appears that he is not on the same with his receivers and he and wide receiver Dez Bryant are clearly not in-sync.

    Overall, this was not a great performance from Romo. He finished the game 25-of-39 for 283-yards and no touchdowns. He also threw an interception and fumbled the ball twice.


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    DeMarco Murray: B

    Maybe the Cowboys need to feed DeMarco Murray the ball a little more. He managed to gain 38-yards on 18 carries and scored the Cowboys lone touchdown. The offensive line has not done a great job of blocking for the run, but Murray clearly needs to be featured earlier in the game rather than later.

    Felix Jones: C

    Felix Jones lone carry went for -1-yard. He continues to look out of place in Dallas. He did manage 28-yards on two receptions but Jones clearly is not a huge part of the Cowboys offensive plans.

    Lawrence Vickers: B-

    Its apparent that Lawrence Vickers has not turned into the lead blocker the Cowboys expected this season. He continues to struggle to open clear running lanes and is getting held up in the hole. He caught one pass for 5-yards and did not have any carries in the game.

Wide Receivers

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    Miles Austin: A-

    Even with a rib injury, Miles Austin managed to lead the team with 107-yards receiving. Austin went into the locker room briefly to get x-rays on his ribs but he looked strong and continues to be the most consistent receiver the Cowboys have on offense.

    Dez Bryant: B

    Dez started off slow but picked it up in the second half. He ended the game with 62-yards on six catches and provided a huge spark for the Cowboys with his 44-yard punt return, which setup the final Dan Bailey field goal.

    Kevin Ogletree: B-

    Although Kevin Ogletree caught five passes for 57-yards he ran the wrong route a couple of times and was not where he was supposed to be on a few others. Romo is still looking for Ogletree and that is a good sign, but until he starts to perform on a consistent basis, all the coverage will continue to focus on Austin and Bryant.

Tight Ends

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    Jason Witten: D

    Jason Witten continues to be a liability for the Cowboys. He was targeted six times and only made two catches for eight yards. Witten was also flagged for two false start penalties and he had three dropped passes.

    The drops are uncharacteristic and have plagued him in the first three games this season. We are not sure if these problems can be attributed to his spleen injury but it is something Witten needs to correct, and soon. We know Jason Witten he is a tough guy, but right now he is not getting the job done.

Offensive Line

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    Tyron Smith: C-

    Tyron Smith continues to remind us of Larry Allen. He clearly does not look comfortable at left tackle. He continues to get beat off the line-of-scrimmage and he was called for another false start penalty. He may eventually become a great left tackle, but right now, he is not effective.

    Doug Free: D

    If Smith is having a hard time on the left side, Doug Free is going to get Tony Romo killed. Free allowed a couple of sacks, was penalized three times for false starts and was called once for offensive holding. He is not making it easy on Romo.

    Ryan Cook: B-

    Ryan Cook continues to be a more than adequate stand-in for Phil Costa at the center position, but he still has some communication issues with the other offensive linemen. He allowed some pressure to come up the middle at Romo and that is never a good thing.

    Nate Livings: C

    Nate Livings was called for offensive holding but it was declined by the Buccaneers. The middle of the offensive line was not any better for Dallas and Livings was continually beat to the inside.

Defensive Line

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    Jason Hatcher: A

    Jason Hatcher was only credited with one tackle in the game, but he was clearly a disruptive force on he field.  He also had a quarterback pressure and was effective taking on multiple blocks on run plays.

    Sean Lissemore: B+

    Sean continues to be impressive on defense. His ability to turn the run back inside and maintain several blockers allowed the Cowboys pursuit to hold many of the Tampa Bay runs to short gains.

    Josh Brent: B+

    Josh Brent continues to shine in his replacing the injured Jay Ratliff. Brent had two tackles including one solo tackle for a loss.


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    DeMarcus Ware: A

    DeMarcus Ware continues to be the best linebacker for the Cowboys. Ware managed to defeat double-teams and finished the game with two sacks including a sweet strip fumble of Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman.

    Sean Lee: A+

    Sean Lee continue to impress. He plays all over the field and was part of the reason the Cowboys held the Buccaneers to only 75-yards rushing. Lee finished the game with five solo tackles and one tackle for a loss.

    Bruce Carter: A-

    Bruce Carter was fantastic playing sideline-to-sideline today. He was constantly in Tampa Bay’s backfield and finished the game with one tackle for a loss and five total tackles.

    Anthony Spencer: A+

    Anthony Spencer lead all players with seven tackles including five solo tackles, one tackle for a loss and QB pressure. If Spencer continues to play like this, it will become harder and harder for offenses to double-team Ware on the other side.

Defensive Backs

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    Brandon Carr: A+

    Brandon Carr was all over the field today. He lined up at free safety in some situations, allowing Mike Jenkins to get some work at cornerback. Carr had one pass defense and did not allow any big plays.

    Morris Claiborne: A+

    The rookie is showing the Cowboys that they made the right decision moving up in the draft to select him sixth overall. He finished the game with one solo tackle, one pass defended and held his own against Vincent Jackson.

    Mike Jenkins: A

    Mike Jenkins saw plenty of playing time today and he looked great on the field. Jenkins looked like he never missed time due to injury. On one play, Jenkins leaped and deflected a deep pass intended for Vincent Jackson causing an incomplete pass. With a season ending injury to safety Barry Church, Jenkins may see more time on the field, especially if Carr moves to safety full-time. 

Special Teams

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    P Chris Jones: B+

    Punter Chris Jones was able to get off all his pass attempts although one of them was close. Early in the second quarter the Buccaneers were charged with a roughing the kicker penalty. Jones was able to finish the game and he ended with an average of 43.3-yards per punt.

    K Dan Bailey: A+

    Dan Bailey continues to be perfect on field goal attempts and his three field goals today lifted the Cowboys to a victory. Even though all three kicks were short attempts, Bailey is showing that he can be counted on to make the easy kicks when the team needs it.


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    Jason Garrett: B-

    For the second consecutive week, Jason Garrett did not have his team ready to play. The Cowboys won the game, but there are plenty of questions left to answer.

    His team came out flat and again trailed their opponent within the first five minutes of the game. Garrett also failed to challenge a couple of questionable spots on two third down plays where it appeared the Cowboys had gained the first down marker.

    His inability to make changes to his offensive protection schemes will be a hot topic in Dallas this week. Dallas’ offensive line clearly needs some help and Garrett has failed to address this problem.

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