The regular season is almost here. We have now seen enough in the preseason to know that the Dallas Cowboys will at least be an above average team this season. How far above the average remains to be seen but there is potential for a great season. The third preseason game is typically referred to as the dress rehearsal so the performances from the game give us real insight into the regular season. Here is what I noticed. (At this point in the preseason I am going to focus on the guys who will actually be playing during the regular season.)
Tony Romo looked very good again. One extremely poor deep ball, but everything else was very good. He looked better in the second preseason game but he was missing Roy Williams and Sam Hurd this game. I love that he is keeping two hands on the ball when he scrambles. Hopefully that will cut down on his fumbles this year.
The defense is still a work in progress. The pass coverage was a little soft for my taste but overall they did a solid job. Anthony Spencer is looking better each week. Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick both deserve to start, but I think Jenkins will end up winning.
Special teams play was much better this week. A couple of stupid penalties kept it from being a great performance, but it was still much, much better. Kick and punt coverage was excellent and Terence Newman ripped of a big punt return. Kick returns were not overly impressive.
Kevin Ogletree got to run with the first team and he took advantage of the opportunity. He made a couple of nice plays and you could see that Romo trusted him to be in the right place. He was getting open against man coverage which is more than you can say for some of the guys in front of him on the depth chart. Stanback better hope they keep six receivers or he'll be cut in the near future.
I'm liking Keith Brooking more each week. He has a much better feel for getting to the passer than Zach Thomas did last year. It looks like opposing quarterbacks are going to have to get rid of the ball quickly against the Cowboys due to the pass rush.
The running game looked much better. Marion Barber turned back into the Marion "the Barbarian" this week. I haven't seen him running over defenders since his toe injury last year. He was finally back to bulling over defenders. Felix Jones nearly broke a 94 yard touchdown. The offensive line did a good job opening up holes for both backs.
Miles Austin finally got it going. He was starting so I figured he would finally get a few receptions. It is about time he got involved in the offense.
My favorite moment was when Wade Phillips laid into Courtney Brown after his pass interference penalty. I have never seen such emotion out of Wade. I hope it continues during the regular season.
The injuries started to mount in the second half. It looks like Michael Hamlin will miss 6 weeks with a broken wrist. I was worried when Jason Williams went out with an ankle injury but x-rays were negative and they are saying he might be back for the opener. He is starting to look like a guy who will be on the field this season. Alan Ball was down for a long time with a neck stinger but he appears to be ok. No one was lost for the season so that is a bonus. I wish there were no more preseason games because I hate injuries in games that don't count.