Written by theMBIIIeffect
On Friday night, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Tennessee Titans 30-10.
But in the NFL preseason, it isn’t about the final result: it’s about the individual performances.
At the first Cowboys game in Jerry Jones’ masterpiece stadium, a true billion-dollar baby, there were some individual winners. And there were some losers. Thankfully, there were more winners than losers
Winner #1: Dallas Cowboy fans
Take a look at that new stadium! Wow. Just wow. There is nothing like that place in the entire NFL. Everyone from Fox Sports gushed about it at some point, as they should have.
Winner #2: Tony Romo
Our starting quarterback put in a good, consistent, clean performance. Granted, the Titans defense is suffering from losing Albert Haynesworth, but that was still a pretty strong unit that lined up opposite Romo for most of the first half. Did he care? No. Romo went 18-of-24 for 192 yards. More importantly, he was patient in his passing and found the open receiver instead of locking in on one target (15 Cowboys caught passes on Friday night). All of our quarterbacks looked good, completing at least 75 percent of their passes with Jon Kitna and rookie Stephen McGee finding the end zone.
Winner #3: The Defense
The 3-4 is looking pretty good. There weren’t too many spectacular plays, but there were signs that guys are catching on — Anthony Spencer hauling down speedster Chris Johnson on a dumpoff from Kerry Collins was particularly impressive — and this defense is going to be a strong point. Our run defense was particulary good, limiting Johnson and LenDale White to 7 yards on four carries. Mike Jenkins did let Titans receiver Justin Gage slip by him for a touchdown, one of the low points for the Dallas defense. But I was encouraged that veteran corner Terence Newman ran over to instruct Jenkins on his blunder right after the play.
Winner #4: Kevin Ogletree
There’s a fight going on for the fifth reciver spot between Ogletree and converted quarterback Isaiah Stanback. Ogletree emerged as the clear favorite after this game, making three grabs for 37 yards. None of his catches were as pretty as his one-handed, over the shoulder touchdown reception from Stephen McGee.
Winner #5: Felix Jones
Felix Jones put all NFL defenses on notice in this game. His message was clear: pay attention to me or I’ll make you pay. His 42-yard reception to move into Tennessee territory within the final two minutes of the first half changed the game and his one-yard touchdown to cap the drive displayed his versatility.
Loser #1: Special Teams
Uuuuuuuuugh. The first play in the new stadium, a long return from Miles Austin, gets called back for a holding call. Another penalty from Gerald Sensabaugh gifts Tennessee great field position and they get their only touchdown of the game from it. Granted, it’s early and there’s time to fix these things, but if we’re going to be a serious contender, we need to fix our special teams. Even Nick Folk missed a field goal. That was uncharacteristic of him, and I hope it’s a one-time thing. One bright spot was rookie David Buehler sending two kickoffs deep into the end zone.
Loser #2: Isaiah Stanback
With the play of Kevin Ogletree, Stanback is on thin ice in the first place. And on a night where nearly every Dallas receiver caught a ball, Stanback had a big ol’ goose egg when it came to receptions. Even Keon Lattimore caught a pass for goodness’ sakes. If Ogletree can continue to produce in the offense, Stanback is gone.
Loser #3: Pat Watkins
Watkins is another guy who needs to have a strong preseason to ensure his spot on the team. So what does he do? He streaks down the field on punt return for more than 20 yards while out of bounds, gifting the Titans with 15 more penalty yards. Not good, Pat.
Loser #4: The Run Game
I wasn’t impressed with the run game on Friday night. Our stable of running backs produced a paltry 111 yards on 35 carries, a 3.2 yard average. I’m attributing this to Tennessee’s defense. Still, we need to be able to consistently run the ball if we’re going to be a playoff team.
Loser #5: Jerry Jones/The NFL
This honor has to be split. There’s a huge fuss about the height of the huge videoboard that I like to call “The Jerrytron.” Jones put it five feet above the league minimum of 85 feet and is refusing to move it. He comes across looking like the jerk even though he’s within the regulations of the NFL. Someone NFL official had to know about this and Jerry must have done his homework before hanging this $30 million behemoth. It’s just more ammo for the Cowboys/Jerry Jones haters out there and a headache for Cowboys fans. Pardon me, but I’m more worried about what’s happening on the field.