Going to the defense now, I paid close attention to the new 4-3 scheme. I was surprised by how often we blitz. It wasn’t as often as Rob Ryan, but I was expecting a more conservative defense. I was encouraged by the turnovers that the defense forced. They recovered a fumble and had an interception. The fumble was lucky, since it came off of a bad handoff. The interception was also a bit of luck, since Holloman was at the right place at the right time. We should expect to see that more often though, since the scheme uses a lot of zone coverage. The reason Holloman was in the area, is because that was his zone. This defense will take advantage of offensive mistakes and punish them for it. In terms of run and pass defense, our run defense needs to improve. Our 2nd and 3rd strings had trouble containing the run and over pursued the running backs. Our pass defense was good until our 4th string defensive backs took the field. On the last two drives, Matt Moore went 7/11 for 96 yards. Our defense in general looked better. They didn’t look as confused, and were given many opportunities to make plays in the passing game. Next week, I would like to see some improvement in their run defense.
The defensive line did well last night. They got pressure on most passing downs. George Selvie played phenomenally. He had two sacks and pressured the quarterback every opportunity he got. It might be because he’s facing off against lesser competition, but he still looked like a man amongst boys. If Selvie keeps playing to this level, we won’t need to worry about our defensive end depth. In addition, I also liked Kyle Wilbur; he got some pressure on the quarterback when he was put in the game.
We might need to start panicking about our defensive tackle depth. For the most part, they didn’t do much in the game. Ben Bass made some plays before he got injured. Landon Cohen had lots of snaps, but struggled to make plays. Fellow defensive tackle, Nick Hayden, needs to display more consistency. There were times I was impressed with his pass rush, but he disappeared for large chunks of time.
Our linebackers over pursued the runningbacks. They were very aggressive in the run game. The one player that stood out to me was Taylor Reed. I don’t know where he came from, but he’s a dark horse to make the roster. He was very good at tackling in open space and even got a sack. I hope to see more out of him next week.
I’m a bit worried about our defensive back depth. I noticed Micah Pellerin made a lot of mistakes when he initially played. As the game went on, he got better though and made some nice plays. Matt Johnson has potential. He was around the ball a lot, which isn’t bad for a safety. Though he was beaten on a 45 yard pass in the 2nd quarter. One thing I noticed about Johnson is that he tackles low and wraps up, which I love to see. I really hoped to see more out of our rookies, B.W. Webb and J.J. Wilcox, next week. They were invisible during the game.
Overall, the Cowboys outperformed Miami. Most people would put the Cowboys and Dolphins around the same tier, around an 8 win team. I for one think that the Cowboys showed they’re better than that. Both the offense and defense were encouraging, and I look forward to seeing more last week.