Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Early Reactions To Win Over Bengals

The cheerleaders also looked ready for the regulr season last night. - Tom Pennington

The Cowboys get generally favorable reviews for a performance that bodes well for opening night.

Cowboys starters look ready for opening night after solid performance against Bengals - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
That's probably as succinct a synopsis of last night's events as you'll get.

Romo sizzles in dress rehearsal for regular season - Tom Orsborne, Mysanatonio.com
Orsborne writes that Romo finished the preseason with a 123.3 passer rating on 23-of-36 [edit: it's actually 26-of-36] passing for 367 yards, two TDs and no turnovers.

"I thought it was important more than anything just to score points and put us in a position to have a good feeling as we finish the preseason a little bit with the starters," said Romo. "We have been playing well. I think it was just something we needed to do to cap the preseason."

NFC East Preview: Is this the year of the Cowboys? - NFL.com
Tony Romo and the Cowboys are a popular pick each year to win their division. Is this the season they make good on their potential? The Around The League crew has the Cowboys as the most popular pick in a wide-open division.

Hurry, the bandwagon is filling up again.

Romo Talks Free's Move, Pocket Time, Austin's Preseason - Rowan Kavner, DallasCowboys.com
Tony Romo finished the night with a 131 passer rating, going 13-of-18 for 137 yards and two TDs. Orton had an almost perfect passer rating of 152.1, going 4-of-4 for 44 yards and a TD. Both played behind an offensive line that featured Doug Free at right guard and Jermey Parnell at right tackle.

"We won’t know until we look at the tape, but (Free)’s been doing a really good job there and he’s a really smart player," Romo said via a conference call after the game. "Not everybody can make an adjustment like that, especially not in really one week. I think it’s a testament to Doug’s ability to play both those positions. Not unlike what I said about the wide receivers, the flexibility that he gives us sometimes is really, really a big deal to have a guy who can do multiple positions. I think he did a real good job."

"When you’re able to have that kind of time, you can do a lot of things as a quarterback – move a lot of different people a lot of different ways," Romo said. "That’s a testament to the guys up front giving me that kind of time. That play doesn’t happen over time in the past, per se, I guess you could say."

Different turnover story for Cowboys - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Jason Garrett has a very simple answer to what determined the outcomes of the last two preseason games:

"The story of this game is the turnover ratio," Garrett said. "We took it away four times from them. We didn’t give it to them. It’s the flip side of what happened last week in Arizona, so there’s a recipe for winning and recipe for losing and it starts with taking care of the football."

Dallas D trying to make turnovers a 'habit' - Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys have nine takeaways so far this preseason, and the players are crediting both the scheme and the mentality for their success.

"It’s all about getting the population to the ball, everyone swarming and trying to pick the ball up," said cornerback Brandon Carr, who recovered the fumble forced by Church. "It’s all about effort. It’s the will to want to get the ball out.

"We have a good system in place. We have been working since OTAs trying to get the small details down and trying to get on the right page to get the chemistry down. At the end of the day, it comes down to the will to want to get the ball out. Do you want to take the ball away?"

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray benched after first-quarter fumble - Brandon George, DMN
"The ball cannot be on the ground," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said, and promptly benched DeMarco Murray after his fumble inside the Cowboys' 10-yard line, which he fortunately managed to recover. Murray came back in the third quarter, and responded well to the benching: He capped an eight-carry, 45-yard rushing effort with a seven-yard catch for a TD on which he evaded one tackle after another en route to the score.

In a separate article, David Moore wrote thatJimmy Johnson would have approved of Garrett's decision to bench Murray for a bit:

Somewhere, former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson is smiling. This is the sort of move he often pulled off.

Tony Romo: Dallas Cowboys first-team offense finishing preseason with a ‘good feeling’ - Jon Machota, DMN
Tony Romo provides some perspective on what the preseason and training camp performance can mean for the regular season, and why he has a "good feeling as we finish the preseason":

"More than anything, you are always trying to build and get better," Romo said. "I do know from past experience if you struggle in the preseason – not just a series or a game, that’s just too short of a time – but if you struggle throughout the entire preseason, I found that your offense is going to be fighting an uphill battle throughout the year."

"If you’re able to move the ball consistently throughout camp and throughout the preseason games, usually you are able to do similar things in the regular season."

Bailey says 50-yard field goal try didn't feel right from the start - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
Cowboys fans couldn't believe their eyes when Bailey's 50-yard field goal attempt sailed so far to the left it almost left the range of the camera.

"Honestly, I’d have to go back and look at it, but just from the start, it was just bad," he said. "Something not right. Had to call a timeout. And then, just the whole operation, just really wasn’t right. I’ll have to look at it and see what happened."

"When something happens like that, you’ve got to make sure you go out and make the next kick," he said. "We got a chance to make the next one, and we did."

Bernadeau, Smith Outstanding on O-Line - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
Broaddus writes that the Cowboys offensive line was able to "out-tough a defense that prides itself on being a physical one." Broaddus saw an outstanding game on the left side of the line, and wonders whether Ronald Leary, once healthy, should be moved to the right side. Looks like a good problem to have.

Game Balls: Credit to Rookie LB, Play-Caller - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
Broaddus hands out game balls to Miles Austin, DeVonte Holloman and to Bill Callahan for his playcalling:

"Of the team’s 75 plays, Callahan called for the rush on 43 of them, which appeared to be just what the offense needed. The offensive line, tight ends, receivers and backs all had a hand in a ground attack that produced 154 yards – clearly a step in the right direction for a club that rushed the ball so poorly in 2012. It was an outstanding display of toughness and execution by this offense."

Dallas Cowboys acknowledge for first time that DT Jay Ratliff may not be ready for opener - David Moore, DMN
There you have it.

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