The second of four pre-season games is in the books for head coach Jason Garrett’s bunch. What’s changed since game one, what stood out and what do we know now that we didn’t know then?
- The Secondary: Brandon Carr seems to be as good as advertised. Carr had two interceptions in the game and that makes Cowboys fans happy. He brings a dimension to the secondary that we haven’t seen in years. Rookie Morris Claiborne had two tackles in his debut and had a nice day overall, given that he’s still learning to play at the pro-level. Orlando Scandrick has also elevated his level of play as of late and finished the game with five tackles.
- The Receivers: Dez Bryant is a freak of nature and he’s going to abuse some defensive backs this season if he can stay healthy. In the battle for the No. 3 receiver, Kevin Ogletree seems to be back in the driver’s seat after catching 4 passes for 60 yards. Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris also closed the gap between themselves and Ogletree with impressive nights. Beasley had 7 catches for 104 yards and Harris had 4 catches for 42 yards and one touchdown. Andre Holmes stood out last week, but didn’t do anything in this game.
- The Runningbacks: DeMarco Murray is the real deal. I’ve said it before; Murray is going to be a monster for fantasy owners. In limited action today he caught two passes for 18 yards, and looks to be one of the most sure handed receivers coming out of the backfield. It wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes Romo’s security blanket while and if Jason Witten misses more time than expected. Felix Jones however his second wide-open drop in as many games. Jamize Olawale continues to be a reliable player catching and running the ball, could make Phillip Tanner expendable going forward.
- The Bad: Stephen McGee had one of the most horrendous outings I’ve seen, going 9-of-16 for 86 yards with an interception and a fumble. Tim Benford and Raymond Radway both failed to register a catch. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah looked lost and failed to shine, again. For all the praise that rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford is getting in camp, he sure isn’t making many game changing plays. The one play I saw Crawford involved in, he was being carried into the end zone for a touchdown by Jacob Hester.
- The Ugly: Penalties are still a huge problem. The Cowboys as a team finished with nine penalties for 86 yards. That number is down from last weeks 12 for 91 yards, but it’s still unacceptable and has to change. The Cowboys had three takeaways, the two Carr interceptions and a fumble recovery by linebacker Orie Lemon, but also gave the ball away three times.
It was a better game for the Cowboys as a whole even though the outcome wasn’t a win. The first team offense moved the ball well and they showed flashes of what’s in store for the regular season. The defense stayed in its base form for most of the game and has been pretty impressive with four interceptions in two games. The Cowboys hope to have all of their starters – except for Jason Witten – back in the line up for their third pre-season game against the St. Louis Rams.
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