Last Friday, the Cowboys had their second preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. The result of the game was 17-19 loss for the Cowboys. In the previous game against the Dolphins, it was clear that the Cowboys were the better team that the Dolphins the entire game. Against the Raiders, this was not the case. On paper, our starters are easily more talented than the Raiders. Our backups on the other hand, struggled greatly against the Oakland Raiders.
In particular, the special team was atrociously bad. Dan Bailey had one of his kicks blocked, which is never a good sign. Eric Frampton had an unnecessary fair catch interference penalty. In addition, the kickoff coverage was also poor last night. It was a sloppy effort and it should be a priority to improve.
I was very disappointed by our defensive backs. Outside of J.J. Wilcox, no one stood out to me. Barry Church missed some open tackles during the first drive. Later on, he did come up with a hard hit in the box on Rashad Jennings, but I would rather see some nice tackling than hard hits. Eric Frampton made some mental errors and was consistently out of place. B.W. Webb struggled in coverage and could not bounce back. Brandon Underwood easily had the worst game out of all of the defensive backs. He was constantly abused in the passing game. J.J. Wilcox had an impressive game. His second drive in particular was impressive. He was always around the ball and made some good wrap up tackles. Wilcox also had a game changing redzone interception, though that should be more credited to Terrelle Pryor making a bad mistake. Nonetheless, Wilcox showed that he is still in the competition for the starting safety position.
I praised Nick Stephens last week for his performance, but this week I just wasn’t digging him. On his first throw he made a bad decision, which led to a costly interception. He could only improve from there, but he did not look nearly as sharp as his first game. I noticed Stephens is good at reacting to the blitz. When he sees it coming, he knows immediately where to get off the ball. The Cowboys have a comfortable quarterback situation right now. Romo looked rusty on his first drive, but on his second possession he was unstoppable. Then came Kyle Orton, who had a perfect completion percentage and led the team to a touchdown. Our quarterback depth is easily the best in the league right now with Romo and Orton leading the way.
While our quarterback may look sharp, our offense still needs some improvements. We are all familiar with penalties and once again we are experiencing the same old story. I recorded at least 2 false start penalties and 3 holding calls in the game. Outside of that, I was once again impressed by our running backs depth. Murray looked as good as ever. Dunbar showed off some good vision and found some opening. He also showed that he has the ability to catch the ball. Tanner once again displayed with some powerful running. Finally, Joseph Randle looked even better this week. He was quick and slippery, and made it hard for the defense to catch him.
Our offensive line deserves some credit. Our interior push was a lot stronger, and I was pretty impressed with Leary, Fredericks, and Bernadeau for opening some holes in the run game. The pass protection was good as well. Romo and Orton had plenty of time to get rid of the ball. However I’m still going to be cautiously optimistically. The Raiders defensive line is their weakest part of their defense, so next week it will be important for the offensive line to show some consistency. We’ll be facing off against a strong Cardinals defense line that includes Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, and Darnell Dockett. This will be a crucial test that for our offensive line.
Overall, the Cowboys deserved to lose that game. The Raiders were the better team (I never thought I’d say that this year). The Cowboys made too many mistakes and was sloppy the entire game. The only reason why the score was this close was because of some crucial turnovers caused by the defense. Monte Kiffin’s defense deserve some praise, it forces over turnovers and will be a key component to the Cowboys success in 2013. For now, we’ll need to continue on improving our mistakes.