Thursday, September 1, 2011

Who Impressed Against the Dolphins

The players on the roster bubble had their last opportunity to impress the coaches on Thursday night. Most of the veteran starters had the night off so many of the younger players got extended playing time for the first time in the preseason.

One thing I really liked about Jason Garrett's plan was that Tyron Smith and Bill Nagy were both in the starting lineup. Those guys need all the work they can get heading into the regular season since they will be counted on to start. There is no reason to rest a player who is still learning on every game rep they receive. Nagy even got some playing time in the second half although Tyron Smith sat for the second half.

The Cowboys have to be planning on keeping Kevin Kowalski on the final roster as a backup. He started at center again and there is no way he would be able to clear waivers now that he has played two full games at center this preseason and done a good job. I think the Cowboys are getting him as much work as they possible can in case he has to step in for Phil Costa at any point this season at center.

DeMarco Murray had a big gain on a screen pass to start out the game. The blocking on the play was exceptional so I can't say the play had much to do with Murray. Murray is much bigger than I thought he was but he doesn't have the top end speed I expected when he was drafted. He is quick but he is not that fast. He looks great running the ball both in the middle of the field and in space. He is going to be a factor in the offense this season.

Stephen McGee really looks comfortable running the offense now and I have more confidence that he is going to develop into a solid backup. He looked controlled and confident throughout the game but he made a bad decision and throw on an interception in the end zone.

Kevin Ogletree got a chance to start and show that he deserves the #3 receiver role. He made a nice move after the catch on an option route for a first down. But he looked slow on an end around later in the game.

Dwayne Harris returned punts and he looks much more dynamic as a returner than Akwasi Owusu-Ansah has looked over the last few weeks. I don't know how Harris could not make the final roster. He ended up leaving the game early with what appeared to be a slight concussion. He has so much potential he seems like a keeper.

The backups on defense started out strong but then allowed a long run by Larry Johnson for a touchdown. The score doesn't bother me. What bothered me was the atrocious tackling on the play.

If Barry Church isn't starting at strong safety next season I will be surprised. He gets better every time he is on the field.

Phillip Tanner is making the decisions at running back very difficult for the coaches. Every time he carries the ball he looks good. There is no way the Cowboys can sneak him onto the practice squad. On that same note I have come away unimpressed by Lonyae Miller after 4 preseason games.

In the kicking battle David Buehler made an extra point length field goal at the end of the first half. Later in the game he missed a 48 yard field goal wide to the right. He was also kicking off through the end zone as usual coming off of his hip injury. Dave Rayner missed from 51 yards and 36 yards. No one has made the decision at kicker easy for the coaches. It seems as though they will have to go on a gut instinct. My gut tells me that Buehler keeps the job.

As the game entered the 4th quarter it became very difficult to watch. The vast majority of the players on the field will not make the team. The 3rd/4th string offensive line was very bad and the offense couldn't move the ball at all. The only thing I watched for at this point was another field goal attempt. Unfortunately I got my wish but it was another ugly miss by Rayner.

The worst part of the night was Rayman Radway's injury on the last offensive snap of the game. He went out on the cart with an air cast on his leg and he is undoubtedly done for the season. That is sad to see.


  1. This is the most biased post i've ever seen you drop boss man. Ogletree is a joke. for 2 reasons. 1 his around the end run he jogged.. didn't even run.. he never cranked it on 2 there was a pass instead of jumping or going for it he just slowed down. I thought 'did he not see the ball?!' oh but he did and he decided not to go for it. I mean even if it is uncatchable go for it.

    Mcgee is the hands down worst qb in my opinion. I really wanted to see the new guy get some play time last night. But he got knocked down HARD. Took it like a champ though. Back to McGee he is a terrible passer. When he gets pressured he runs into the line and gets tackled. you'll never see Romo do that because Romo rolls out. I just don't think McGee has what it takes to put points on the board.

    Demarco Murray and Phillip Tanner are awesome. Because when they get hit they drive their feet get low and get 3 more yards. Felix Jones gets touched and he goes limp legged and goes down.

    Radway should have been #3 receiver. I'm more than upset about his season and possibly career ending injury.

  2. WBF- I don't know what game you were watching but it seems clear to me that McGee did well considering the entire unit is third string like him. I think in an actual situation where he would be needed to play with the starters we would see a much different looking QB than the one we saw start on thursday.
    Also, RBs in today's NFL are starting to learn the importance and GOING DOWN TO STAY HEALTHY. Driving your feet is great for those of us who still enjoy hard nosed football but look at what it did for MBIII.
    And if you really think a rookie WR has a better chance of replacing Miles or Dez and actually playing effectively in Jason Garret's offense then I think you haven't been paying attention. Route combinations between the x and y WR's and the TE are the calling cards of every passing play and it takes time to learn the signifigance of running the right route.
    All in all another great post from @romo2witten. Keep up the good work!