The Miami Dolphins played more of their starters, but the Dallas Cowboys won anyway, 24 – 20 in the Hall of Fame game. The first of 5 preseason games for the Cowboys, and – for me – the official start of the 2013 NFL season.
The game meant nothing, though ‘nothing’ seemed to mean more to Miami, seeing they put their 2nd stringer QB, Matt Moore back in the 4th quarter to try a come from behind win. No matter. Regardless of the final score, this Cowboys fan wanted to see what new Defensive Coordinator, Monte Kiffin’s switch to a 4-3 Tampa 2 style defense was going to look like. Would it increase take aways?
I also wanted to see how Offensive Coordinator, Bill Callahan would handle the play calling duties. Much ado has been made of the slow, public stripping of Head coach, Jason Garrett’s duties, but I, for one, am looking forward to this change. The point was to speed up the offensive process, get the plays out quicker and emphasize the run game while letting the head coach learn clock management. Right?
Well, whether it was coincidence or the Tampa 2, the defensive backups sure seemed to have their eyes on the football and take away opportunities more so than I’ve seen from my Cowboys. The Cowboys won the turn over battle (when’s the last time that happened?) and, except the back up safeties, the defense impressed me – as much as a defense can in a preseason game. If this early defensive play continues, the Cowboys change to a 4-3 was a great move. (Sorry Rob Ryan, good luck in New Orleans though)
What most impressed me was the running game. Not sure how much the Offensive Line had to do with it, but RBs, Phillip Tanner, Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle all ran well, Tanner in particular. Was it OC, Callahan emphasizing the run plays? New Center, Travis Frederick’s presence? Doug Free’s half the millionaire he used to be? Tanner losing 10 pounds in the offseason? What ever the case, and even if it was a temporary apparition, I liked what I saw in all our RBs. The Cowboys hit the ground running – literally. Maybe Tanner can force the Cowboys to keep one less Tight End.
Look, no one is reading too much into this first preseason game, but we are trying to read something into it, right? And from what I could see, so far, there is something different here.
Points and Observations :
– Larry Allen has all our respect, he’s had mine, and I imagine all Dallas Cowboys fans, since he ran down that defender who intercepted Troy Aikman’s pass.
– Although we all kinda knew it already, did you catch Bill Parcells confirm, at half time last night, that the bobbled snap in the playoff game in Seattle in 06 was the reason he quit coaching?
– Is the – Bill Callahan in the booth to Wade Wilson to the QB to the QBs rist to the rest of the players in the huddle – play calling process really going to speed things up? Or is that just until everyone gets used to it?
– Consensus seems to be that S, JJ Wilcox and TE, Gavin Escobar didn’t play well last night.
– I’m probably the only one who thought it was odd that Miami put QB Matt Moore back in the game. Unless the coaches were really trying to get a good look at Moore – who has a lot of tape from Carolina and Miami already.
– Watching the Hall of Fame inductees speeches made me think of Michael Irvin’s induction speech. I have it saved on my website and replayed it several times. One of the best, most heart felt. If you ever lose your passion as a Cowboys fan, listen to it, it will come back instantly.