Note: I realize yet another Fanpost breaking down a preseason game is a bit redundant but what's done is done :)
I didn't get to see the game live and had to wait a day to download and watch it. So I got to read all the reviews and reactions before I watched it myself. From the reactions I was expecting Dallas' performance to be a total debacle. After watching it myself (and re-watching the first team several times) I felt better.
*Carson Palmer's throw may have been a bit late but Sensabaugh still did a real good job. He read it correctly, showed good range to get there on time and most importantly finished the play by making a good catch. Last year we rarely made QB's pay for poor throws. This years secondary just consistently making the plays that are presented to it would be an improvement over the last few years.
*Second play on offense. 2nd and 10. Raiders blitz. All 4 D-Linemen and all 3 LB's attack the Oline. Nobody got through. Everyone got their man. Vickers communicated to Murray, literally pointed out the blitzers coming from the left side. With good protection Romo punished the blitz with Bryant grabbing 24 yards. Good play. With all the Oline woes I'd just thought I'd say something positive about them :)
*Derrick Dockery got pushed back and derailed Murray's second run. There's no need to panic about this as Dockery is a camp body sub nothing more.
*Forth play on offense again 2nd and 10. Raiders blitz again. Again communication looks real good. Multiple Olinemen pointing and talking to each other. Murray adjusts. 7 man blitz picked up. Everyone got their man. Romo has time but him and Beasley can't connect. It may not be much to go off but the Oline and RB's have communicated well and halted both Raiders blitzers on the series, hopefully a good sign.
*Penalty False Start Derrick Dockery. There's no need to panic about this as Dockery is camp body sub nothing more.
*As many others have noted, Butler, Coleman, Lissy, Ware all looked disruptive at times against Oakland's first team. On their sack of Palmer pressure came from all around. When Palmer's first read was covered he was cooked. Good coverage, good pressure.
*Church looks solid in the short zones. Seemed quick to anticipate and close. Wrapped up nice too. How he'll go 20 yards plus down the field was always the real question though and at the moment we still have no idea. His physicality is a plus to the team.
*On the Second series obviously both Free and Arkin messed up bad. Let's hope Arkin can go back to backup and Free can pick it up. Overall the inexperienced Arkin was what you'd expect going up against a good veteran like Tommy Kelly. He was overmatched but he certainly wasn't terrible.
*The two biggest strugglers on the Oline were clearly Dockery and Arkin. The good news is neither of these guys were projected starters anyway. They're a desperation signing (Dockery) and a 4th string option (Arkin) only playing because of several injuries. Hopefully health can remove them soon.
*Also, when Romo dumped that pass to Witten I cringed. There was no yardage to be gained, Witten was behind the line of scrimmage with defenders closing fast. Throw that ball away Tony. That is the textbook definition of a hospital pass and we've all heard that Witten now has a lacerated spleen from it.
*Hannah and Holmes made some nice catches. Hannah's first catch in particular was a real tough one.
*As plenty of others have noted Hamilton and Ben Bass showed up plenty in the second half.
*Olawale looks like he has poor vision and little speed. Bad combo.
*Jason Witten is a tough S.O.B. Anyone who doubts it please rewatch the 1st teams third series that Witten played with a lacerated spleen. 1st Down: takes on and gets a nice block on the LDE and continues to push through the whistle. 3rd Down makes the catch and is hit by a Safety and LB. Get's up, jogs off the field, gives second half interview and claims he's fine.
*A shame that Stephen McGee doesn't seem to have the ability to be mentally/visually confident/decisive with the football because from a physical perspective he's got a lot of talent. There's good athletic ability plus a really nice arm. Strong and accurate. His deep balls over the last few preseasons (and a time or two in the regular season as well) have been beautiful. His deep ball to Benford was perfect but the WR adjusted poorly to the ball. McGee just doesn't seem to see the field with any consistency though. Such a shame.
*13 penalties (12 accepted). Obviously that's unacceptable. But let's take a closer look at what happened before we declare that nothing has changed.
1). Derrick Dockery - False Start (Offense).
2). J. Olawale - Running into the Kicker (Special Teams).
3). T. Williams – Offsides (Special Teams).
4). Kevin Ogletree – Holding (Special Teams declined).
5). Victor Butler – Offsides (Special Teams).
6). David Arkin – Holding (Offense).
7). J. Parnell – False Start (Offense).
8). D. Harris – Holding (Offense).
9). P. McQuistan – False Start (Offense).
10). R. Leary – Unnecessary Roughness (Offense).
11). L. Smith – Holding (Defense).
12). J. Taplin-Ross – Pass Interference (Defense).
13). Substitution penalty. Offense kneel down formation error.
What stands out? There's not a single projected Starter amongst those 13 players penalized. Most of those guys are deep down the roster and should not be seeing any playing time in real games. In fact many won't even make the team. Dallas has definitely had a penalty problem going back several years (even to Parcells time here) but this game isn't really proof that it'll be out of control again this year.
Honestly with some of the reactions you'd think that we lost 24 – 0 and were manhandled all game long. Truth is, some starters looked good, some emergency backups played poor, some young guys played real well, some young guys made bone headed mistakes. Sounds like a normal first preseason game to me.