For those of you who have been living under a rock, this past Sunday in the town of Canton, Ohio, pre-season football kicked off with the Hall of Fame game. Most people aren’t excited about pre-season football… I am not one of those people, I am sure you aren’t surprised. Football is football and for me, it doesn’t matter if it’s pre-season, regular season or post-season… It is all football and it is all worth watching. Pre-season is a time for kinks to be worked out and for players to get into game mode. It’s a time to establish a basis for what works, build upon it and deepen the chemistry.
At the beginning of the game, Al Michaels said, “It’s August, and August breeds hope.” It is my hope that he’s right!
In a game where Tony, Jason, Dez & Company were understandably sitting out, it was good to see guys step up and give us a preview of what is to come. Phillip Tanner scored an early TD with 9:41 left in the first. Dan Bailey hit a nice 49-yard field goal with 9:20 left in the second. DeVonte Holloman’s pick-6, 75-yard return shortly after Bailey’s field goal brought the score to 17-0. This, in my opinion, was the biggest defensive play of the game. With 1:30 left in the second, Miami’s Dan Carpenter punched in a 27-yard field goal making the score 17-3 heading into half-time. The hype about Cowboys new 4-3 defense seemed to be true.
Tony Dungy’s halftime interview talked about the three key elements to the Tampa-2. Element 1: Pass-rushing up front, DeMarcus Ware is that guy. Element 2: Linebackers creating takeaways. Element 3: Corners not just focused on coverage and man-to-man but hitting, tackling and getting a lot more physical.
After a quiet 3rd quarter, Miami’s Devlin scored a TD and Carpenter hit a 45-yard field goal to make it 13-17 in the 4th. With about 2:00 left Kendial Lawrence rushed 7-yards for a TD to seal the win for the Cowboys. Miami’s Miller did score with :16 left making the final score 24-20.
The pre-season opener showed promise for the ‘Boys. While some may say it’s too early to tell, I think this new defense is going to prove to be a good and productive change. This game gives us something to build on. Onward & Upward!