The Cowboys held on to beat the Raiders 3-0 in a preseason game that was pretty much like the score would indicate. UGLY. It mercifully came to an end on ESPN prime time MNF when the Cowboys Mana Silva received an interception, like manna falling from heaven.
All you can hope to do in a preseason game is find out where you are with the brief time starters play and then after they leave the game, try to find some players that can help your team. With that in mind, let’s break it down by the starters and then perhaps some guys who may help this year.
The Starters: Offense
O-Line: OH NO!
If you weren’t concerned about the offensive line before, you definitely should be now. Decimated by injuries, the Cowboys interior line was inept to say the least. A tremendous effort from Arkin who was playing center as a last resort but naturally he made mistakes. To his credit, the snaps were just fine. The Cowboys better come up with some answers on the line and PDQ because the Giants are less than a month away.
For Romo to get the ball to some of their nice weapons like Dez Bryant, he must have a little bit of time. The running game was also DOA as it had no chance which goes back to the offensive line too. The hopes were that new line coach Callahan could come in and make lemonade out of lemons but that is looking like just a fantasy now. A reality check for the offensive line tonight.
Romo’s 24 yard pass to Dez would be the sole highlight for the 1st offense. Dez could have a really big year. Got to get that line tightened up.
What we learned? Our offensive line sucks.
Ware is the pass rush.
Ware looks ready to have another outstanding year as he effectively pressured the QB. Spears as usual, looked really solid against the run. Like the way LB Bruce Carter looked moving around in pass coverage. The Raiders were able to run the ball effectively on the Cowboys but I think Dallas will be fine defending the run this season.
The secondary managed to pick off a pass with Sensabaugh collecting a deep pass from Palmer. To me, the secondary looks better but not great. Remember that 1st round draft pick, Claiborne, did not play tonight because of a sore knee.
Have to come away feeling pretty optimistic about the defense.
What we learned? Ware is the pass rush……again this year.
Penalties can cause the Cowboys to lose and on special teams there were some major penalties. A Raiders drive was extended twice because of penalties during a punt. Teddy Williams jumped offsides on one of the penalties. It’s simply unacceptable. Actually some of the guilty guys may not make the team or play on special teams but this has got to get cleaned up.
These are the guys that impressed when the starters left the field:
Rookie OLB Kyle Wilber: Great job of pressuring the QB. Looking like a very good pick. Unfortunately Wilber broke his thumb in the 2nd quarter and will be out for a month.
2nd year OLB Alex Albright: Albright was all over the field making tackles from the inside linebacker spot. He finished as the leading tackler with 6 solo tackles and 3 assist. Linebacker is looking like a very deep position for Dallas.
Rookie guard Ron Leary: The Cowboys need help at guard and I thought Leary played well for an undrafted rookie in his first NFL game.
Rookie Ben Bass: Big Ben showed up and played his tail off. Along with a sack he had 4 tackles and a QB hurry. He looks like a football player with a nose for the ball. I saw a lot of good athletes on the field for Dallas tonight but Ben just looked like a football player. Want to see more of this guy with the first team.
WR Andre Holmes: Andre has failed to impress in most of camp, however he made plays tonight and showed us why Jerry Jones is big on this guy. Possesses nice height at 6-5 and used it to his advantage tonight. Finished with 3 catches and 40 yards.
Rookie TE James Hanna: Came in with questions about his hands but made a nice catch for 13 yards in the game. Also did a nice job on kickoff coverage showing that he can contribute to special teams. Should provide depth at TE this year.