As is the case with most teams in the preseason, in last night’s game the Cowboys showed a lot of promise in some areas, as well as some areas in which they need to improve. Here are some observations from their 23-17 win over Minnesota:
1. The Cowboys’ special teams unit had a good night. In a race for the starting kicking spot, Dan Bailey and recently signed veteran, Shayne Graham combined to go 3 of 3 in field goals. David Buehler again was sidelined with an injury. Last night made the kicker decision even more difficult.
Also on special teams, Gerald Sensabaugh and Orlando Scandrick combined to block a Vikings’ field goal attempt, which Alan Ball scooped up and returned for a touchdown.
2. The defense still has a lot of work to do. Though they made some good plays, including an interception by Sensabaugh, they gave up too many yards on the ground. Though Adrian Peterson is arguably the best RB in the League, he gouged the defense for 81 yards on just 14 carries. Overall the Vikings amassed 442 total yards, 175 on the ground.
3. DeMarco Murray had a respectable night at RB in his first game as a Cowboy. He rushed for 32 yards on 7 carries.
Rookie Phillip Tanner again stated his case for making the roster by carrying the ball 5 times for 25 yards. Though Jones has claimed he will only keep 3 running backs, Tanner is making that difficult.
4. On a night in which the coaches are still looking for a #3 receiver, Jesse Holley had a solid night. He finished with 3 catches for 51 yards. This spot has been difficult to determine, considering a new receiver has stepped up each game.
Dez Bryant continued to shine, leading all receivers with 5 catches for 67 yards, but no suprise there. If he can stay healthy and keep his head on straight, there is no ceiling to what he can do.
5. Rookie center Kevin Kowalski found out just before game time that he would be starting for inactive Andre Gurode and injured back-up Phil Costa. Kowalski did a solid job, as did the rest of a very young offensive line.
Due to salary cap concerns, Gurode’s status with the team is in question, though a decision as to his fate is expected soon.
The Cowboys’ final preseason game is Thursday night vs. Miami.