Watching this preseason game reminded me of why I don’t like officials reviewing plays. It just causes too much delay. The Cardinals coach actually challenged the spot of a ball which after what seemed like 30 minutes, the placement by the official was confirmed. Come on coach, it’s a preseason game.
New rule: No challenging the spot of the ball in preseason games.
OK let’s just get this cliché over with, a football team can’t win at any level turning the ball over 6 times. Orton had a forgettable game throwing two ugly interceptions and Tanney who had a very good game, threw one pick during the 2 minute offense at the end of the game. More on Tanney’s play later.
Then there were 3 fumbles lost. Dunbar had the luster of a great play removed when the ball fell out of his hands after a 43 yard catch and run. Dez had the ball aggressively stripped from his hands by defenders after a 27 yard hook up from Romo. Dwayne Harris fumbled a punt return early that led to a FG for the Cards. On that play, Brandon Underwood who is trying to make the roster, ran into Harris and that clumsy bump seem to help contribute to the fumble.
3 POSITIVES: Even with the unacceptable turnovers, there are some positives to come away feeling good about.
- The Dez Bryant and Romo connection looks like it will be very tough to stop this season. They are developing chemistry.
- The Dallas 4-3 defense displayed a “bend but don’t break” effort that did not allow a TD. Even after the turnovers, they held the Cardinals to only 4 FGs. The defense gave the team a chance to win.
- Dunbar is going to be an explosive weapon this season catching the ball out of the backfield. He really accelerated nicely after his catch, blowing by Cardinal defenders.
TOP PERFORMERS IN THE GAME:
QB Alex Tanney: Before the game, I blogged about the players who needed a big game and Tanney was one of the guys I named. And Tanney, the trick shot QB, had himself an impressive performance. He led the Cowboys on the only TD drive of the game covering 89 yards in almost 10 minutes. It was the best offensive drive of the preseason so far for Dallas. When the drive ended in a TD pass to rookie TE Gavin Escobar, Tanney was a perfect 10/10 for 100 yards.
I liked Tanney’s height (6-4), his strong arm, and the way he calmly tossed the ball to someone speeding down the road in the back of a pick up in his youtube video, but what we needed to see was how he handled himself in live action of an NFL game.
Tanney displayed composure and did an outstanding job of sensing defensive pressure and then maneuvering himself to buy a little more time to pass. I like how he stepped up in the pocket with shoulders squared and ready to pull the trigger quickly. He puts a nice zip on the ball which is a must at this level. His throws were confident and directed to his target with authority.
Tanney has moved ahead of Nick Stephens in the competition to be the 3rd QB in my view. He clearly needs developing, so Tanney would probably benefit a great deal from being on the practice squad.
LB DeVonte Holloman: Holloman came up with an interception at the goal line to prevent a Cardinals score. This play added to the HOF game pick six shows that this rookie is a play maker. Holloman had 4 tackles and showed he is a very good tackler in the open field. I think Kiffin must get Holloman on the field in passing situations.
LB Brandon Magee: Magee is another player that I pointed out needed a big game and he was all over the field, finishing the game with 6 tackles leading all Cowboys in tackles. The Cowboys seem to believe in Magee and they had him running with some of the starters in the first half. But prior to this game, Magee had not been very impressive. Today Magee showed why Dallas needs to consider keeping him on the roster.
WR Tim Benford: Benford made 2 catches including a nice 19 yard reception, during the long Tanney led drive. Benford’s name had been forgotten as a WR in the mix but he stepped up today.
TE Gavin Escobar: The rookie TE caught 5 passes for 32 yards and got his first TD. Escobar was a player that hadn’t done much yet but he appeared to be a favorite target for Tanney today. We already knew Escobar has great hands and he showed that today along with making some highly contested catches. It was nice to see him involved in the offense today.