In their fourth pre-season tilt the Dallas Cowboys would have their dress rehearsal against the Cincinnati Bengals, who boast a formidable pass rush. With Doug Free at guard and Jeremy Parnell at tackle facing live action for the first time, many wondered if Romo would survive the game. Luckily Romo made it through and even had a nice game behind decent protection. Today we will look at how Tyron Smith, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Travis Frederick, Doug Free, and Jeremy Parnell did blocking for Tony Romo and the backs.
1st and 10, ball on the 10
The Bengals bring six on what appears to be a screen or quick pass to Bryant; Tyron Smith kicks out and awaits a defender chipped by Witten, but the defender moves to the flat, leaving Smith with no one to block. Bernadeau allows the 3 technique to blow right by him, only giving him a weak punch as he turns perpendicular to the LOS almost immediately. Frederick comes out of his stance a bit high and is initially pushed back by the 1 technique, but anchors and keeps his man far away from Romo. Doug Free, playing guard, catches a DE who has looped inside and gives up minimal ground while Parnell kicks out right and initially controls the LB rushing his side, but can't hold his block long enough. A sixth rusher is unaccounted for and has a clear shot at Romo between Free and Parnell, as does the DT who badly beat Bernadeau. Romo falls down to avoid the big hit, and had he managed to evade the 2 free rushers Parnell's man was on the way to finish him off.
2nd and 18, ball on the 2
Romo hands off right to Murray; Tyron Smith immediately heads to the second level and cut blocks Rey Maualuga. Bernadeau and Frederick slide right; Frederick tries to help Free with Geno Atkins while staying in front of the 1 technique, who Bernadeau gets his hands on and does a nice job keeping at the line of scrimmage before Frederick turns back left and helps. Free is driven back by Atkins, keeping him out of Frederick's reach and blocking Murray from going out right. Parnell forces the playside DE to go wide, denying him access to Murray. Because Free blocks the path right Murray goes up the middle, where he is met by the backside DE who crashed down the line for no gain.
3rd and 18, ball on the 2
The Bengals only rush three as Romo takes the shotgun snap; Smith and Bernadeau double the RE, keeping him well away from the QB while Frederick and Free stone the DT at the line. Parnell handles the LE with no issues. Romo with a clean pocket opts for the quick throw to Witten who has no chance at getting the necessary yardage.
After punting the Bengals march down the field to the redzone. However, the defense stiffens and swarms to the ball as Barry Church forces a fumble which Brandon Carr recovers, giving the offense the ball deep in their own territory.
1st and 10, ball on the 4
Murray takes the ball up the middle; Smith helps Bernadeau block Atkins before moving to the second level. Bernadeau can't get any push and slides right into Murray's path. Frederick takes on the 1 and forces him back a step while Free fires out straight to a LB and Parnell stands up the LE with a nice block. Overall very little push is made on the play and there is a wall in front of Murray, who plunges forward for what little yards he can get.
2nd and 7, ball on the 7
Romo hands off to Murray on the stretch left; Smith extends and tries to seal the edge on #93 Michael Johnson. Bernadeau chips the 1 technique, who Travis Frederick has done a nice job of forcing off the line of scrimmage, then slips off to block Vontaze Burfict in space. Doug Free runs out of his stance right past the 3 technique, then hesitates after seeing no one to block and turns back toward him, then completes circling around and finally finds a DB to shove as Murray tries to cut back right. Parnell blocks down on the 3 technique getting enough in the way to slow his pursuit, then falls and Atkins trips over him. The backside DE comes up from behind Murray and pops the ball loose, but he manages to get back on it.for a short gain
3rd and 5, ball on the 9
The Bengals bring five against Romo in the shotgun; Smith gets a hand on the RE who is making an inside move, and passes him off Travis Frederick, who stands him up a few feet in front of Romo. Bernadeau takes on a blitzing LB, allowing him a few yards upfield, but not enough to pressure Romo. Free is bull rushed toward Romo. Parnell does a nice job on #57 Vincent Rey, giving him a nice punch forcing him well past the pocket. Romo throws for Bryant, who draws the defensive PI for a first down.
1st and 10, ball on the 26
Murray takes the stretch right; Smith does a nice job forcing the playside end wide right with Bernadeau's help, who then turns and takes on a linebacker, but cannot maintain his block. Frederick gets low and makes nice push, forcing #94 Domata Peko backwards off the LOS. Free gets a hand on Geno Atkins on the way to the second level where he tries to cut a LB. Atkins sees the run and crashes down the line much too quickly for Parnell to get ahold of him on the down block. Murray is met for a minimal gain as a result.
2nd and 14, ball on the 22 after a Free false start
From the shotgun Romo throws quick out to Bryant. The ball is out almost instantly, negating any chance for the left side of the line to give up pressure. Free pulls left while Frederick and Parnell head right to try to block for Bryant. Parnell whiffs in space on Taylor Mays, who holds Bryant to a minimal gain.
3rd and 13, ball on the 23
Romo takes the shotgun snap; Smith easily handles the RE who was chipped nicely by Jason Witten. Bernadeau and Frederick attempt to double Atkins, who goes inside both of them to their right and gets away mostly unscathed. Free does a nice job standing up the 1 at the line. Parnell is beaten badly by an inside move by a LB, but sticks with him and pushes him to Romo's left. The pressure by the linebacker and Atkins force Romo to get rid of it quick to Murray on the sideline, who goes out of bounds well before the first down marker.
Following a punt return TD by the Bengals and a short kickoff return the Cowboys offense once again takes the field with poor field position.
1st and 5, ball on the 18 after a 12 man penalty by the defense
Tanner takes the handoff right; Smith pulls inside and cuts down the 3 technique Bernadeau had driven back a step. Frederick takes on the 1, stopping him at the LOS of Murray cuts off the block. Free latches onto a linebacker while Parnell pushes #99 Margus Hunt back many yards, forcing him to the ground at the tail end of the play. Phillip Tanner actually has room to run and gains nice yardage.
1st and 10, ball on the 27
Romo hands off up the middle; Smith and Bernadeau double the 3 technique and drive him back a couple steps. Frederick fires out with nice pad level and drives back the 1 with Free's help, who then turns a bit late and gets a piece of a linebacker who has a hand on Tanner cutting right off the double team. Parnell does a nice job of turning Hunt perpendicular to the LOS as Tanner goes by for 4 yards.
2nd and 6, ball on the 31
Handoff left; Smith pulls left and turns #53 Bruce Taylor right, edging him by Tanner. Bernadeau holds up the 3 at the line of scrimmage, but allows him to shed the block as the back goes by. Frederick stays in front of the 1 down the line, keeping an arm outstretched, but never fully engages him. Free pulls left behind Frederick and attempts to cut the 1 but misses. Parnell gives the backside end a shot then tries to cut a linebacker but also misses. Tanner gains 3.
3rd and 3, ball on the 34
Shotgun snap; Smith stops the 3 technique from making any progress toward the backfield while Frederick does the same with the 1. Bernadeau is between the two with no one to block. Free takes the LE that Parnell passed off and pushes him left. No pressure and Romo gets a quick completion to Miles Austin for the first down.
1st and 10, ball on the 41
Tanner runs left; Smith slides left and picks up a filling linebacker. Bernadeau jolts the RE with a nice punch, but trips over Travis Frederick, who fell trying to block the 1 ducking behind him. Free goes to the second level and tries to block Burfict, but doesn't get much of him. Parnell steps inside and stands up the 3 technique away from the play. Frederick's missed block allows the 1 to drag down Tanner for a gain of one.
2nd and 9, ball on the 42
Romo from the shotgun; Smith catches the RE and keeps the pocket clean. Bernadeau stands up the 1 while Travis Frederick turns to help Free, who is giving up ground to the 3, but not enough to pressure Romo. Parnell Stops the LE who rushes straight up the field, but cannot get inside to Romo. Braynt makes the catch for a nice gain and a first down.
1st and 10, ball on the 46
Tanner runs right; Smith gets a nice shot on the backside end, then looks for a linebacker. Bernadeau pulls right and cuts down the 1 while Frederick goes straight to the second level. Free allows Atkins upfield a bit, but gets enough of him to allow Tanner to get through the hole. Parnell and Witten Margus Hunt, then Parnell picks up Burfict and pushes him out of Tanner's way. Gain of 5.
2nd and 5, ball on the 41
Play action pass; Smith and Bernadeau double the 3 and keep him at the line while Frederick and Free double the 1 and give up some ground, but keep the pocket clean for Romo. Parnell stands up the LE at the line and he goes nowhere. Bryant with a nice catch and run and another first down.
1st and 10, ball on the 26
Play fake left; Smith slides inside, eventually picking up a linebacker on a delayed blitz. Bernadeau pancakes the 1. Frederick goes right, where he and Parnell double the 3 and stand him up. Free pulls left and picks up the DE that was lined up across from Smith, getting enough of him to give Romo time. Romo gets rid of the ball to Bryant again before the defenders can close in.
1st and 10, ball on the 11
Shotgun snap; Smith is pushed back a bit by an inside power move, but resets and catches the follow up spin move, stopping the end. Bernadeau keeps the 3 away from his body and away from Romo. Frederick and Free double the 1 after Free is pushed back initially. Parnell keeps the LE well away from Romo with ease. The Bengals have no answer for Bryant as he makes his 3rd catch in a row.
2nd and 4, ball on the 5
Run up the middle; Smith does a nice job stopping the the end from getting inside, taking him out of the play. Bernadeau and Frederick double the one and stop him at the line. Free and Parnell are both badly beaten by inside moves, forcing Tanner to run parallel to the LOS before he dives upfield for no gain.
3rd and 4, ball on the 5
Romo from the gun; Smith pushes the RE past the pocket. Bernadeau is jolted back by the 3 technique, but gains his balance and holds him up. Stops the 1's momentum at the line while Frederick is between the guards waiting to help. Parnell catches the LE and stops him in his tracks. Romo gets rid of the ball quickly on a fade to - you guessed it - Dez Bryant for an easy touchdown.
After the Bengals take over rookie corner B.W. Webb comes up with a nice interception that gives the first team offense the ball with their best field position yet.
1st and 10, ball on the 37
Shotgun snap; Smith sticks with his rusher going up field, giving Romo enough time, but allows him to go back inside as Romo holds onto the ball. Bernadeau is driven back deep into the pocket by the 3, but Romo side steps the pressure. Frederick forces the 1 technique back, but falls to the ground. Free stands up Margus Hunt and doesn't allow any pressure while Parnell easily stopped a blitzing DB initially. The line did mostly a good job initially, but Romo had to hold onto the ball and pressure started coming. The ball was thrown away before Romo could be hit.
2nd and 10, ball on the 37
Hand off up the middle; Smith chips the RE, then tries to pick up Burfict but is too far outside. Bernadeau stands up the 3 at the line of scrimmage, but cannot get any push to open things up. Frederick does the same with 1 technique. Free stumbles to the second level and gets hold of a linebacker. Parnell forces Margus Hunt outside and keeps him away from the play. The interior of the line cannot get to the second level and the linebackers stop Tanner for a gain of 4.
3rd and 6, ball on the 41
Romo in the gun; Smith knocks back #59 Emmanual Lamur, who came on a delayed blitz. Bernadeau and Jason Witten do a nice job stopping the end on his hard inside move. Frederick and Free double Atkins, who tries to spin away unsuccessfully. Parnell stops the LE's momentum, then pushes him past the pocket on his second effort attempt. Miles Austin makes a nice first down grab.
1st and 10, ball on the 44
Hand off right; Smith starts of heaading inside, then turns back out and stands up the backside end. Bernadeau makes a nice block on Atkins and pushes him back a step. Frederick gives up a little ground to the 1, but stays with him and keeps Tanner clean as he goes by. Parnell and Free double the playside end, forcing him wide right before Free peels off and making a great block on Burfict, forcing him to the ground. Tanner has a huge hole to run through between Frederick and Free and picks up 8 before a linebacker makes the tackle.
2nd and 2, ball on the 36
Run right; Smith gives the RE a shot, but allows him to slip underneath in pursuit. Bernadeau pulls right and tries to block a linebacker on the edge, but can't get proper positioning and barely phases him. Frederick stands up the 1 and turns his body between the defender and Tanner. Free and Parnell double Atkins, stopping him at the LOS before Free turns to stop backside pursuit. Bernadeau's poor block is the main culprit for almost no gain on the play, as his man stopped Tanner's forward momentum.
3rd and 1, ball on the 35
Handoff right; Smith, Bernadeau, and Frederick all fall on top of submarining defensive linemen, while Free blocks down on the playside DE. Parnell lets a linebacker slide right off him and hit Tanner in the backfield. Tanner falls forward for no gain.
4th and 1, ball on the 35
22 personnel on the hand off left; Smith controls #93 Johnson from the snap, driving him back for the duration of the play. Bernadeau and Frederick stand up the 1 before Bernadeau slips off and gets a decent block on a linebacker. Free takes on Atkins and keeps him turned away from the play. Parnell is forced back by the end, but doesn't allow him to break off and pursue. Tanner picks up enough for the first.
1st and 10, ball on the 33
Tanner running right; Tyron Smith pulls right but cannot get around Bernadeau, who is being driven back and shed by Atkins. Frederick does a nice job getting push on the 1. Free makes a nice second level block on a linebacker, and Parnell does a nice job forcing the playside end to move backwards. Atkins got lower than Bernadeau and got his head across to the playside while slipping away, stopping Tanner in the backfield.
2nd and 11, ball on the 34
Play action; Smith Blocks down on the 3 technique, who Bernadeau also picks up, but the two cannot quite contain Atkins as he stays active as Tony slides in the pocket. Frederick stands up the 1 while Free waits before assisting. Parnell awaits a linebacker while Witten is bulled back into the pocket. The DE applies the initial pressure while Atkins follows suit after Romo evades. The ball gets thrown away.
3rd and 11, ball on the 34
Shotgun snap; Smith passes off the DE and catches Atkins on the stunt. Bernadeau and Frederick take the DE inside, keeping him away from the QB. Free has issues containing Dontay Moch, who made a hard inside move from the left end. Parnell slides out to block #93 Johnson, who blows right by him around the edge to force Romo to step up into Free's man for the sack. Parnell did not get enough depth on his drop and Free didn't stick with Moch.
A nice series by the defense forces the Bengals to punt.
1st and 10, ball on the 43
Run up the gut; Tyron Smith barely touches Johnson, who gets in the backfield in a hurry, as he goes to block a linebacker. Frederick and Bernadeau double the 1, but both slip off without getting him out of the way. Frederick falls to the ground while Bernadeau tries to block a linebacker. Free is jolted by the 3, but holds his ground. However, he drops his head and allows his man to slip off and hit the runner. Parnell drives Margus Hunt way out of the play to the right, but Tanner is already met in the backfield. He falls forward for 1 yard.
2nd and 9, ball on the 44
Romo from shotgun; Smith gets his long arms on Johnson, then drives him to the ground as he tries to dip around the edge. Bernadeau and Frederick double the one, moving him to the right as Romo slides left. Free does a nice job standing up the 3 while Parnell knocks Hunt backwards, the Free passes of the 3 to Parnell and picks up Hunt trying to rush inside now. Romo has a clean pocket and dumps it to Tanner for a pick up of 6.
3rd and 3, ball on the 50
Another shotgun snap; Smith and Bernadeau double the 1 and force him right, where Frederick also helps, keeping him at the LOS. Free handles the 3 on his own, keeping the pocket clean. Parnell looks off balance as the DE rushes upfield initially, but recuperates and forces the end past the pocket with a nice punch. Romo throws incomplete but defensive PI gets the first down.
1st and 10, ball on the 39
Romo in the gun again; Smith appears to get pushed into the pocket by Johnson, but recovers and gets very low, forcing Johnson past the pocket as he tries to dip around the edge. Bernadeau gives up a bit of ground to the 3, but doesn't allow him to escape his grasp or apply pressure. Frederick slides between Free and Bernadeau, waiting to assist. Free handles the 1 well, not allowing him to collapse the pocket. Frederick doesn't pick up anyone as the guards are handling themselves well enough. Parnell uses his long arms to keep the end away from his body and keeps the pocket clean. Romo throws incomplete for Austin.
2nd and 10, ball on the 39
Hand off right; Smith fires out and finds the SAM in space, turning him away from the play. Bernadeau keeps the 1 at the LOS, but over-extends and falls down, allowing the 1 a shot at Tanner. Frederick quickly helps Free double the 3, then stops a linebacker in his tracks while Free continues pushing the DT down the line to the right. Parnell helps Witten initially with Hunt, but quickly turns his sights to a linebacker and engulfs him. Tanner questionably turns back to the left, where the backside end is crashing down and Bernadeau's man is waiting. He still manages to gain 4, pushing forward through them.
3rd and 6, ball on the 35
Shotgun snap; Smith slides out in front of #93 and forces him to try an inside move to no avail. Bernadeau is slow to pick up the 3, but gives him enough of a shot for Romo to get rid of the ball. Frederick keeps a blitzing linebacker at bay with one arm before sliding over to help Free. Free has ahold of the a DT and keeps him at the line of scrimmage, where he tries to move back inside and meets Frederick. Parnell is driven back and gets off balance, but recovers enough to keep the LE out of the play. Romo hits Austin for a nice gain.
1st and 10, ball on the 12
11 personnel from the gun; Smith mirrors Johnson step for step and keeps well away from Romo. Bernadeau extends one arm and shoves the 3 inside where Frederick is waiting and picks him up. Free comes out of his stance high, but still manages to keep the 1 from driving him too far back to the QB. Parnell gets just enough depth to keep the LE from getting around the corner and disrupting Romo. The ball is thrown for Austin but winds up incomplete.
2nd and 10, ball on the 12
Another shotgun look; Smith throws the RE to the turf as he tries to dip around the edge. Bernadeau stops the 3 initially before passing him to Frederick, who gets driven back into Romo as he throws. Free does a nice job handling the 1, who tries to spin on him. Parnell comes out way too high and is driven back by a much smaller player, but finally anchors before landing in Romo's lap. The pass is incomplete for Williams.
3rd and 10, ball on the 12
21 personnel from the gun; Smith is jolted back at first, but resets nicely and pushes the DE wide of the pocket. Bernadeau does a decent job on the 1, giving up some ground, but allowing Romo to step up by him. Frederick has no one to block initially, but picks up the DE who came inside after being stoned by Parnell. Free pushes Atkins wide of the pocket and gives Romo a small lane to step up in. Romo delivers a nice ball to Miles Austin in the back of the endzone for a TD.
And now we will look at individual summaries:
(Note: Unfortunately I couldn't get the formatting right for the summary table so I made do with inserting an image of it)
After an early adjustment period, the offensive line seemed to settle in and pick up its play. While there was pressure and issues creating push in the run game, overall line play was solid. Obviously this is not the ideal configuration for the line, but it is a nice contingency plan if injuries continue to plague the guard position.