The Dallas Cowboys finished up their third pre-season game, a game known as the “dress rehearsal” for opening day. It is called that for the simple reason the starters play a majority of the game and the fourth and final pre-season game is to determine who will make the final 53 man roster. As well as the starting offense and defense did, there are still concerns that need to be addressed.
There isn’t much bad to say about the starting offense and they didn’t seem to miss Miles Austin or Dez Bryant starting the game. The offense came out with a bang ready to play and drove right up the field on the St. Louis Ram’s starting defense. Tony Romo continues to be elusive when under pressure getting out of sacks and making plays happen without forcing them. Legit contenders for the third wide receiver spot, Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley and Kevin Ogletree stepped up to the pressure of filling the shoes of Austin and Bryant with spectacular catches and touchdowns. Tight ends John Phillips and James Hanna made the loss of Jason Witten hurt a lot less both stepping up in both blocking and receiving.
The starting defense once again did not allow a touchdown in their third straight pre-season game, even without starting outside linebacker, DeMarcus Ware. The run defense was solid once again and the secondary did not get burned by the wide receivers for the Rams. Dallas’ defense even had a very good goal line defense in the second quarter holding the Rams to zero point and almost a pick by safety Gerald Sensabaugh.
When head coach Jason Garrett sat the starters for the game and the second and string players came in that is when the cause for concerns comes in.
Offensively, only a field goal was scored by the second string. Kyle Orton as a back up quarterback is concerning. He has had at least one turnover in each of the pre-season games. More concerning is the fact that neither Stephen McGee, who has been on the team for four years, can be consistent. McGee wasn’t horrible in the pre-season game last night but he wasn’t amazing either. Rudy Carpenter who is also trying to make the team has been good and then not so good. He, like McGee, hasn’t shown anything consistent that shows he deserves a roster spot on the team.
Special teams in general has been another area where concerns lie. Special teams, with the exception of kicker Dan Bailey and punter Chris Jones, has lacked on tackling, penalties and return yardage on both punts and kick offs.
The depth of the defense really showed in last nights game, giving up 13 points to the Rams second and third string offensive players.
For as well as Dallas did in their “dress rehearsal” they still have a lot of work to do and with cuts coming up by the end of the week, they need to focus on who has the heart, talent and mentality to make this team.