Normally I do a write up on the Saints each week, but this week I am adding the Cowboys to the write up as well. This was a sloppy, sloppy game and I will do my best not to seem judgmental of the team. This was a tough loss, but the Cowboys are a tough bunch. The only TD scored by the ‘Skins was on a fumble recovery by DeAngelo Hall. I can’t necessarily put all of the blame on Choice for coughing it up, because there were a lot of factors to the ‘Boys dropping this one. OK, enough of this, on with the show.
Offense – Where do I start? The O-Line was horrible. Romo was constantly on the run, and just when things started to look up, HOLDING on the offense. Constant SOOF (Shoot Our Own Foot) Syndrome. Barron was inexcusable. My 15 year old nephew could have done just as good. Taking Barron is looking more and more like a huge mistake. I never thought I would see the day that I wished for Flozell Adams’ return. This game was not lost by the missed field goal, this game was not lost by the fumble by Choice and this game was not lost do to the consistently horrible play of Barron – it was lost by a combination of the three. If I were Jerry Jones, Barron would be SOOOOOOOOOO FIRED.
Defense – I am not too terribly annoyed at the D. There really isn’t too much of an anger issue with them except the offsides penalty on fourth down that resulted in a first. It still did little to truly affect the final outcome, but I have to list something here, right?
Special Teams – Field Goal misses are starting off on a rampage this year. Whatever good feelings there were for the youngster before the game are pretty much gone at this point. Missing a key opportunity early in the game took trust away from the kicker and led to more mistakes. Pile on sloppy return coverage, and almost no blocking and your Special Teams looks more like Mediocre Teams.
Coaching – I think the Cowboys were very underprepared for this game. The Cowboys held Training Camp with no contact, and some of the sloppy plays were a result of poor tackling. Phillips needs to pull his head out of his ass and get his D all on the same page. He also needs to pull Flozell Jr. and send his ass packing. There are a lot of areas that need work, and if the Cowboys expect to make the playoffs, and if Phillips expects to have a coaching job with the team next year, then he better step it up and get his team to playing at the level of excellence in which they played last year. One other thought, why abandon the run? A total of 24 Rushing attempts, 103 yards, 4.2 YPC Average. The run was working, maybe slowly, but it was still working. I think the Cowboys would have had better success had they went with a more balanced attack. 47 Pass Attempts – 24 Rushing Attempts.
Offense – Romo was fairly efficient in the game despite the lack of protection that he had. 282 yards, 66% completion rate, a TD and no INT’s. Not outstanding or “elite” play, but still a far cry better than his opponent. Barber Averaged almost 5 YPC, Jones was almost at the same level, and Choice averaged a little better than 3 ½ YPC. Not a bad day, just not enough attempts to register a knockout performance by any one back. Austin stole the show and with 146 yards receiving, why wouldn’t he?
Defense – The Cowboys D did its job. I don’t know what more you could ask for except a turnover. They held the Skins to 6 points, 89 rushing yards, 171 passing yards, no offensive TD’s, forced 6 punts, was constantly in McNabb’s face. If it weren’t for two big runs of 17 and 18 yards, they would have turned in a near flawless performance.
Special Teams – Bidwell did ok with his punts. 6 Punts, 41 yard average, and 2 inside the 20.
Coaching – Much applause for the passing call on fourth down. The whole game plan wasn’t a total bust. Had the plays been executed a little better, had blocking been a little better, and had receivers caught a couple of the catchable throws their way, this would have been a W.
Areas of Concern:
Offense – As if you couldn’t tell by now, the entire O-Line. Romo did not have very good blocking. He was harassed all game, and any time momentum started to go their way, there was a holding call to shut them down. The penalties piled up and amassed 92 yards, and I lost track of how many holding calls or offsides that Barron had. There are more questions than answers in regards to the O-Line right now, and until the bugs get worked (or thrown) out, look for it to continue to be the weak link.
Defense – How bad is Ware hurt. Last year he suffered a neck injury and had to be carted off the field. During the opening game he suffered another neck injury. Without him, the Dallas D doesn’t perform to the same level. He is the heart and soul of the Big D in Big D, and without that leadership ability and talent on the field, the defense is definitely at a weakened state.
Special Teams – The big question mark right now is will the young PK stand up to the pressures of the NFL. The kick he missed was very makeable for him, but for some reason, he missed. I foresee lots of practice from that specific hash mark in his future.
Coaching – Preparation is key. The O-Line is in shambles, but coaching takes a small part of the blame for this. There are much better alternatives to Barron. There has to be right? I know that he is supposed to be a back-up, but at the same time, he has to at least play up to that level, which he clearly failed to do in this game. Phillips has a lot of work to do with him in order to better prepare him for next week, IF he remains on the roster that long.
Players of the Game:
Offense – Miles Austin. I mean, really, was there any doubt? 10 Rec, 146 yards, 14.6 YPC Average, caught the only TD of the game for the Cowboys.
Defense – DeMarcus Ware. 6 Tackles (all solo), a sack for a 10 yard loss, constantly in McNabb’s area applying pressure, all around great effort.
Surprise Player of the Game – Dez Bryant. For a rookie that missed as much as he did with an injury, I think he performed quite well. 8 Rec, 56 yards, with a long of 15. He is still developing, and he will only get better throughout the year. He still needs to work on route running and gaining separation, but he made some crucial receptions. I think he will definitely live up to the hype.