Cowboys-Raiders Recap and Impressions

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Special Teams:

1. Twice in the same drive, we give back the ball to the Raiders. That makes the coaches’ evaluations easier.

2. Then, when they screw up the field goal, we’re offsides. That would have been a 3-point swing had it not been kicked from second base.

3. Chris Jones is in the Mike Saxon/Toby Gowin mold of punter. He’s not a Sam Palescu-type. Chris Jones will be serviceable.

Here’s my impressions from other points in the game:

We had guys who did good and guys who did aghast. Here’s who stood out to me tonight. Here’s my impressions:
1. Marcus Spears couldn’t wrestle a fumbled snap away from Matt Leinart. Maybe Wade Phillips has a job for him down in Houston.

2. Barry Church has a nose for the football. It’s easy to see why the coaches were high on him and why they drained Brodney Pool.

3. We had our first team offense playing into the second quarter. I guess we needed more injuries.

4. Tyron Smith seems better at left tackle than Doug Free seems at right tackle. I’ll let you decide what that means.

5. Victor Butler’s pass rushing skills are self-evident. If he can apply the same pressure in the regular season, it will be beneficial for this defense.

6. James Hanna had a nice grab in traffic to help dispel concerns about his skillet hands.

7. Kyle Orton doesn’t appear limited in his throws or command of the offense. While we should be anxious if Romo ever misses a game, we don’t have to be daunted. Orton is a very solid backup.

8. Jamize Olawale, the North Texas product, had a few nice runs. I doubt he wins the third runningback spot though.

9. Stephen McGee had two passes deflected in the same drive. It’s over. Maybe he can open a chain of car dealerships back in Round Rock.

10. When McGee opens up his chain of car dealerships, maybe Rudy Carpenter can be his general manager. The poor guy didn’t even get a pass off in his two dropbacks tonight.

11. Terrelle Pryor got away from our pass rush too many times. Agreed: he is quite illusive, but you have to wrap up if you’ve got him in your grasp, which so many of our linebackers and linemen did.

Now, let’s move on and see who’s leading the third wide receiver race.

Here’s the quick stats on the third wide receiver race. I think Cole Beasley starting on the first team is a statement, but catches speak louder than starts, which Holmes had tonight. The players are ordered from who had the most catches to the least. Then, it’s broken down from targets to plays, including yardage:

Andre Holmes — 5 targets — catch, 20 yards, in traffic on a square-in (Orton); comeback, came out of break too slow, overthrown (Orton); catch, 16 yards, comeback on man underneath (Orton); catch, 4 yards, out with a man on his hip (Orton); go route, fell down trying to draw a penalty (Orton)

Dwayne Harris — 2 targets — 10-yard pass interference (Orton); catch-and-run, 9 yards (McGee)

Tim Benford — 2 targets — 10 yards, comeback (McGee); go-route overthrown (McGee)

Kevin Ogletree — 1 catch, 10 yards, comeback route (Orton)

Cole Beasely — 1 target, was tackled on a seam with the first team (Romo). Saw action with first team offense.


Yes, it’s the first week of preseason. There’s a lot to work on — no question about it. Still, there are some things to take note of and be confident. I think our pass rush is going to be ready to go in Week 1. I don’t think we’ll have to go to the waiver wire to find our third wide receiver; he’s right here on the roster. If you want the Cowboys to make you feel bad, then they gave you material. If you want the Cowboys to make you feel good, then you’ll have to look hard. But the gold is there.

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