A game that gave us a preview of what Rod “Boobie Miles” Smith can bring to the team when given the opportunity, as well as a bounce-back performance by Cole Beasley, will be quickly forgotten since it happened against the Giants. The 2-10 Giants. The Cowboys would rip off 20 unanswered points with seven minutes left in the fourth, it was a better-late-than-never display, that has fans feeling a little more at ease with the offense.
As Giants fans roared to Eli Manning stepping out as the starter for Sunday’s game, an opening drive that consisted of 17 plays, took nine minutes off the clock, ending with three points for the G-Men. They would only be able to score another seven points after the slow start by the Cowboys defense.
Speaking of the Rod Marinelli-led defense, Xavier Woods is this week’s forgotten star. Woods was tasked with lining up across from slot threat Sterling Shepard. Though Shepard was hampered by a hamstring injury, his ability to find open spaces is still lethal. This is especially true against a zone-heavy team like Dallas. Due to the benching of Anthony Brown, Woods has been forced to leave his natural position of safety and man the nickel corner role.
An athletic player with great instincts, Woods has had his struggles tackling in the open field. In his debut last week as the nickel-back against the Redskins, Woods fared well against Jamison Crowder. However, he was bailed out a bit by Crowder’s inability to hold onto the football. So, how would Woods respond this week? With Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Dwyane Harris all being sidelined for the season, the Giants remaining weapons played right into his hands.
Switching between covering Shepard and veteran wide receiver Dwyane Powe, the pair would combine for just seven targets against Woods, completing four of them for 29 yards. They would both rank in the bottom three on the team for receiving yards out of eight players.
Finishing with four tackles, along with a tackle for loss, one pass breakup, and a quarterback hit, Woods played exceptional for the most part. Whether it was in coverage or being asked to rush the quarterback, Woods simply found himself around the ball, affecting the play in some way.
Xavier Woods in the 6th Round?
Thank you other 31 teams. pic.twitter.com/t9tvjFW8eu
— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) December 10, 2017
This play for example, although the timing was disrupted by the pass, notice Woods ability to read the play, split the blockers, and make the tackle as the receiver attempts to make a move back inside.
The potential to become a true enforcer for this defense, Woods was also among a unique group alongside rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.
— mike fisher ✭ (@fishsports) December 10, 2017
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