I’m sure no one was really thrilled with the way the Dallas Cowboys played last night. Not the fans, not the players, and I’m guessing certainly not the coaching staff. However there are a lot of contributing factors to consider when reviewing how the game against the Oakland Raiders played out.
We all know the offensive line didn’t perform like a well oiled machine but injuries have forced the Cowboys to shuffle every position along the line. None of the Cowboys starters on the offensive line played in that same spot last year. In fact, only two starters from last years line started last night and those guys were on the opposite side of where they were last year. Tyron Smith has moved to left tackle, while Doug Free has switched back to right tackle so let’s give them a few weeks to get acclimated to their new positions. Free has played right tackle before but he still needs to get reestablished on the right side.
If you look at it from the positive perspective, David Arkin got about three quarters of professional football in at a position he’s never played before. Remember all those snaps he’s had trouble with in training camp, we didn’t see one of his snaps hit the ground. Rookie Ronald Leary also got some meaningful game action, something these young players need. I’m guessing the Dallas Cowboys starting line will look a lot better in a few weeks when Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau and even Phil Costa line up on the inside of Smith and Free. There’s time to get better, and healthier.
The same can be said for the wide receivers. It didn’t look pretty out there last night but Andre Holmes made a nice impression and and players like Cole Beasley and Tim Benford finally got a chance to play a real NFL game against someone other than a Cowboys DB covering them. The results were inconclusive but there is no making up for real game action. Theses receivers can go back and look at the film and find out how they can get better.
There’s also this to consider, won’t the Cowboys offense look better with Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and a healthy offensive line look better than what was out there last night? Being cautious with injuries and simple game plans are part of what pre-season games are all about so expect improvement in their next game on Saturday against the San Diego Chargers.
Time is a factor for the Cowboys to get better but the important thing is they do have a few more weeks to get players healthy. So let’s not jump off the bandwagon just yet.
As a song once said, we have to “accentuate the positive.”