I, like most of you probably, had an immediate reaction to the game, but I decided to wait 24 hours to write my thoughts down so I could synthesize my thoughts.
1) Our backups are much stronger this year than in years past, especially on defense. I understand that only 1 starter on defense and 3 on offense played, but our backups could hang with Miamis 1's (not saying much I know). Our pashrush lived up to the nickname "rushmen" and were harassing the QB all night. George Selvie, nuff said. On offense I would have liked to see more of Dunbar, but Tanner and Randle definitely showed plenty to ponder. Unless the worst injury bug attacks again, I don't see us needing to sign nearly as many randos off the street this year around.
2) Offense playcalling was definitely way more focused on the run. Now is this because this is preseason and we only want to show basic stuff, or is this a trend that will continue into the season? I would like for our offense to be 50/50 between pass and run, this will allow for more efficient games and less wear and tear on Romo/Dez/Austin.
3) Offensive line will be improved. That is not a hard assessment to make since it was terrible last year, but I see tangible improvement. Fredrick is the real deal, his physical gifts are a big upgrade, but where he will really help our line improve is with his intelligence. Making the correct calls at the line and understanding where he will be needed should give Romo and the RB's those inches/seconds they need to succeed. Smith and Free were solid if not great, and the guards were able to get solid push throughout the night. Leary and Arkin are everybody's pet cats for a reason!
4) WR's need to step up. Dez and Austin will handle their business, but the 3rd 4th and 5th WR's need to be able to make plays. Now the balls being thrown were perfect or Romo balls, but I saw way too many times the ball hit the hands of the receiver and it hit the ground. I am excited to see how Williams plays next week, because I believe he will be a contributor right off the back. Cole Beasley had one of his worst games, and none of the other receivers stand out in my mind (and that's a bad thing).
5) While this defense is not nearly as complicated as RR's, it is obvious that it will take some time to get all of the intricacies down. Too many times receivers had too much space or the LB'ers didn't close or get the proper depth. This is a defeensive system predicated on forcing the action and dictating the tempo. The pass rush did its job, now its up to the LB and DB to make plays. Again I understand these were all backups, but we all know how often backups play in this league.
Overall I am very pleased with how this game went, but there is PLENTY of room for improvement. I look forward to seeing how the 1's play next week and am looking for improvement week to week.
Agree/Disagree? Anything anybody else saw that they want to point out or want to see improved?
PS. Pass me some more kool-aid, this team is going to be special if the backups even get me this excited!