Dallas Loses But Learns At Preseason Game 1

August 16, 2009 by

I didn’t watch the game. I was spending time with two buddies whose interests are not those that relate to a pigskin ball.

However, we are in the day and age where TiVo exists and I recorded the game in its entirety.

And I did what some of my colleagues do not do. I watched 3 hours worth of film.

Stats are facts written on a piece a paper that tell one the end result of a certain play. Basically like a plot summary of a movie that you find on its back cover.

When David Tyree made the most amazing catch in Super Bowl history, a statbook will tell you if the catch made a first down or how many yards were gained.

However, film tells a story, and the film will portray how awkwardly the ball was held against his head, and how it almost touched the ground or how Rodney Harrison, the safety, could have taken it away.

I don’t know about the majority, but I prefer film because I can eat some popcorn while watching.

Now… I’m going to tell you, the fans, what I saw from the film and give you my analysis of what Dallas learned thus far.

To start off, the Cowboys had a little trouble on special teams. Running Back Tashard Choice was called for holding on the opening kickoff which started the first drive backed up in their own territory.

Matt McBriar had a lucky first punt, but its hangtime was not what new special teams coach, Joe DeCamillis, was looking for. McBriar showed more improvement later on though. He is looking good after coming back from a season-ending injury he suffered last year against the Cardinals.

Special teams coverage looked much better from what I could see. Linebacker Victor Butler made a beautiful tackle with other linebacker Justin Rogers.

The starting offense was brilliant. I loved every bit of what I saw except for a holding penalty on guard Kyle Kosier. They had a little problem when the Raiders blitzed a corner that stopped Barber behind the line, but overall, this team still has a great offensive firepower even without Terrell Owens.

Don’t get too excited though. This is the Oakland Raiders we are talking about. We’ll find out soon if this can be done against tougher teams.

Tight End Martellus Bennett will be a focal point of the offense, I guarantee it. If anyone plays fantasy football, I’d get Martellus Bennett because the Cowboys will be using him quite often.

He made a couple of good catches and shows that he will definitely be a target in the future.

Tony Romo looked wonderful, let’s hope this is a habit this year, and he even showed that he is more protective of the ball, which was one of his problems over the past three years.

Even though he was in trouble, he managed to get a very good pass to Tight End Jason Witten for a touchdown.

The second string offense still played at an elite level minus a few bonehead plays like Miles Austin dropping a pass or Center Cory Proctor messing up a shotgun snap.

Despite these bloopers, I feel comfortable with these backup players in case one of the starters goes down, especially at running back or quarterback.

I even think Stephen McGee was impressive.

Defensively, the Dallas Cowboys have highlights and lowlights.

Keith Brooking made a tremendous sack in the first quarter, and I felt that is solidified him as the right choice for the team. A lot of people are saying how the Cowboys need a younger guy in the middle to compliment Bradie James, and we already messed up with the veteran approach with Zach Thomas.

Well, let me tell you something, Zach Thomas never truly felt comfortable with his position here as the right inside linebacker.

Keith Brooking fits right in though, and after listening to an interview of him, he’ll be a great character addition to the locker room.

Other linebackers: DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, and Bradie James looked elite, so the linebacking corp looks very solid and strong.

Backup Linebacker Victor Butler really impressed me. He managed to make a tackle and get pressure against the starting Oakland team. Now, he does have to learn to play the run a bit better, but he is looking like a fine draft pick.

Jason Williams was pretty good in the spotlight, but I have to see a bit more before I give him a real grade.

The defensive lineman all looked solid (backups included) and Jay Ratliff looks like he may just repeat his Pro Bowl performances from last year. Igor Olshansky is the best replacement for Chris Canty and even made a tackle.

Now for the lowlights. The Dallas Cowboys really had horrible performances from two players; Mike Mickens and Courtney Brown.

Both play cornerback, a position where a mistake is like a gunshot wound and enough of them will kill you.

Mike Mickens is a seventh round pick from Cincinatti and he was a dice roll that turned up snake eyes last week.

I counted at least three big screwups in that game. He had one good deflection, but he even forgot about the new rule which is that a receiver, in the NFL, is not down unless someone touches him. He most likely assumed that since his guy fell to the ground with the ball in his hands that he must be down.

Not so, and Mickens paid for it when the receiver got some more yards out of it.

He and DeAngelo Smith both goofed when the Raiders scored a touchdown by throwing it to Will Franklin over both of them.

However, the biggest egg laid that night was done by Courtney Brown. That egg was as big as James’ peach.

It seemed that every major catch the Raiders had was made by a guy covered by Courtney Brown. Miller’s tremendous catch that placed the Raiders on the goal line and Murphy’s out pattern were both black eyes for him.

He did have two good tackles, one on a receiver that forced the Raiders to kick a field goal and he did keep Running Back Darren McFadden from scoring on that major run he had.

Those two guys were the weak spots and I only hope they either improve or we never have a secondary injury.

Preseason is boring for fans, but it is necessary to watch because it shows the entire team and not just the starters. Intelligent fans need to know who is the team’s insurance and how good he is, so watch the game no matter how dull it gets.

I’m hoping we win the next game though.

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