August 13, 2012; Oakland, USA; Oakland Raiders brings down Dallas Cowboys running back Jamize Olawale (49) during the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Cowboys’ First Units Atrocious in Pre-Season Debut

The Cowboys have a LOT of work to do.

Last night looked a lot like where Dallas left off last season. The Cowboys looked tentative on both sides of the ball and frustratingly inadequate in key areas. The obvious rebuttal to this is the fact that the date on the calendar reads August 14th and the boys have three pre-season games left before they go live. However, the problems we are seeing are the same problems we saw just a year ago. Last night we saw bad penalties, terrible Offensive Line play, questionable coaching decisions and consistent blown coverage on pass plays. Let us explore the terrible ways:

1) The Cowboys did not even wait one play to revert back to bad form. On the first play from scrimmage, the defense had trouble lining up. Bruce Carter was still in motion when the ball was snapped.

2) The Raiders gashed Dallas’ run defense on the subsequent two run plays. The Cowboys looked tentative and unsure. They were not attacking but instead reading and reacting (late).

3) The Gerald Sensabaugh interception was nice but it was a ball Carson Palmer should not have thrown.

4) The offensive line was so bad running the ball on the first 2 series that DeMarco Murray was often greeted behind the line of scrimmage. Inexcusable offense if you ask me.

5) Cole Beasley could not get separation on what would have been a sure touchdown throw on the first possession.

6) A false start on Jeremy Parnell and a drop by Felix Jones ended a terrible offensive start for the 1st team.

7) The Raiders’ second possession was an absolute joke. The defense actually played a decent few downs. Barry Church made a play but overall the defense was tentative and refused to attack. The only reason Jacoby Ford did not come down with two BIG first downs is because he cannot catch. Oh, and TWO times when the Raiders punted, the Cowboys committed penalties that gave the ball back to Oakland; completely inexcusable and reminiscent of the past 15 years of crap I (well, we) have endured.

8) The Cowboys second offensive possession featured David Arkin getting absolutely dominated. Romo was nearly sacked for a HUGE loss. Then, well, he WAS sacked for a huge loss.

9) That should have been the night for Romo but our questionable coaching call came on the next series when, despite seeing the offensive line be terrible all night long, Garrett put Romo back in to take some more abuse.

10) Stephen McGee is terrible. Please cut him. The fact that he still has a job with this team tells me all I need to know about Dallas.

What looked good on Monday Night:

1) Dez Bryant: He only played three snaps but one of those snaps was a first-down catch for 24 yards. He is still a solid player that can make a major difference.

2) Tony Romo is as good as advertised. Even though his offense line was atrocious, he stood in the pocket, scrambled and made great plays with the very little time he had. Also, he was throwing to 5th and 6th wide receivers. Garrett almost got him killed, but I digress.

3) Andre Holmes showed up in the 2nd half, albeit against Oakland back-ups. He has to be leading the competition for the 3rd wide receiver at the moment.

4) The front seven looked good on defense despite two early runs. DeMarcus Ware is still a beast and he/the front seven will look even better when Hatcher and Spencer show up. Adrian Hamilton looked like the solid player we expected him to be. He needs to make this team.

5) Neither QB threw at Brandon Carr and for good reason: he had his man blanketed all night. He and Dan Bailey are as reliable as it gets right now.

It’s no coincidence that the “good” is outweighed 2 to 1 by the “bad.” Look, I know it is only one pre-season game into the season. However, the problems we are seeing are the EXACT same problems the Cowboys had last season when the offensive line, secondary and everyone’s penalties cost them games that could have positioned them to win the East easily. If they cannot figure out how to fix these problems, expect some more 8-8 football.

The Cowboys have a LOT of work to do.

Follow Mark on Twitter (@MrCowboy74) for all your Cowboys news, updates and opinions.

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