Cowboys-Raiders Redux and Review

The Cowboys regroup at practice in Oxnard. Photo Courtesy:
The Cowboys regroup at practice in Oxnard. Photo Courtesy:

By Will Martin

With the extra week due to the Hall Of Fame Game I pretty much threw out the numbers and stats from what was shown in Canton.

Friday night in Oakland you start to pay a little more attention to the work of the rookies, how fresh the legs of some of the veterans appear to the eye. What some might refer to as the eye test.

In what ended up being a 19-17 loss at O.Co. Coliseum it seemed like there many positives to take away from the exhibition if you went by the first half of play for the Dallas Cowboys.

I had commented earlier in the week that in the event Jason Garrett was not pleased with the performance of the starters on the first series of downs there might be a second sequence of play, which indeed happened.

88 yards passing for Tony Romo, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant looking to be ready for when the regular season begins. One can only imagine how potentially tough/formidable a trio of Dez/Miles/Witten could be given the time Tony Romo needs to find an open man.

Phillip Tanner continued to impress me with his ability to find an open hole and proceed to get positive yardage in short yardage situations. I wanted to see more carries from DeMarco Murray like last week. Next week in Arizona should be a nice test for both backfield runners.

Travis Frederick at Guard and at the Center position I sensed that he has a real feel for the two positions. In the event that injuries continue to bugaboo the offensive line, put me on record as stating that the Badger (drafted at #18 back in April) is going to be all right.

Gavin Escobar looks as if he understands the nature of his position and how to position block. I believe this young Aztec will be a pleasant surprise coming out of Oxnard. The starting line did a good job of moving the ball until reaching the red zone which was a cause for consternation.

I really like and foresee a lot of disruption created on the defensive side of the ball. Seeing DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee flying around defensively in the scheme of 4-3 puts a smile on my face. Ernie Sims also performing like he should start come September 8th. That would not surprise me in the least. Alas, we get to special teams…Ay ay ay…

How about a few thoughts from some of the participants from Game 2 in Oakland?

We begin with Jason Garrett
“I thought the starters on each of the units did a pretty good job with some positive things on defense with taking the ball away on the first drive and then making some stops down in the red zone were big for us. They were able to move the football so we have to keep looking at that and tighten down our execution. Offensively, I thought we did a pretty good job of moving the ball, bogged down a little bit in the red zone until that last drive right before the half.”

All offseason I have babbled on and on about what I think the team of Jason Witten, Miles Austin can do in a healthy state. Don’t believe me?

Let’s hear from the man who might make 2013 The Year Of DEZtiny
“To be honest man, I am so excited. Not only me, but the rest of this team. When we came to the sideline and Coach told us we were done – me, Witten and Miles – ¬†we were just talking about how good we felt and couldn’t wait to get back out there. It is a great feeling and I hate the fact that we only had a couple of drives because we are really ready to go and in good shape. The little momentum that we got tonight, we are going to try to take that over to the next practice and get better and take it on to the regular season.”

Demarcus Ware playing Defensive End
“Lining up at defensive end is easier. You are down in the trenches. There is no difference than playing outside linebacker, you are out wide, but when you are in the six technique, there are a lot more techniques you have to work on. But I felt like I did really well for the first game.”

Last but not least a quick thought from Tony Romo on his game
“It was good. We had a couple penalties that put us in a hole that cost us some points, I think. That is something that we are going to correct real fast. You just can’t overcome that stuff in the redzone. Other than that, I thought the guys did a really good job and it’s been going just how it was in training camp. It’s been good.”

It’s only two games and if you weren’t up late you might have missed the two series or so the starters played. A muffed punt late and a missed field goal by Dan Bailey part of the story behind a 19-17 loss. In all, the positives outweighed the negatives. Now for the Cowboys to try to get as many offensive linemen healthy…and quickly.

Next stop: A return to the desert for a 3:30 kickoff on August 17th with the Arizona Cardinals. Anybody getting Patrick Peterson punt return in overtime flashbacks from 2011? Didn’t think so. After this Friday the team returns back to Valley Ranch after four weeks in Oxnard, Ca and an imminent announcement about a move to Frisco very soon. Keep an eye out for that.