Seven-Issue Watch: Tracking the Process One Game at a Time

Every week, I'm going to take 10 "issues" from the offseason and give the Cowboys a grade. Feel free to comment below and suggest how you think the grade should be different.

1. O-line: B+ The few sacks came pretty late in the play. Bernie gave up more pressure than we think Waters will, but there were plays where Romo had enough time to progress through quite a few reads. Murray never got hit in the backfield. I'll take it.

2. Running game: B+ Nothing exciting, but 4 1/2 yards a carry is just fine. (Murray also gets credit for nice success in the passing game.)

3. Passing Game: B- Some people really liked the way Callahan/ Romo took what the Giants gave. I subtract the 14 defensive points and am unimpressed with the points scored, especially considering some of the short fields. Also concerning was the utter lack of splash plays--did we give that up when JG stopped signal-calling? Romo to Witten is always good, but Dez was supposed to be a beast, and Williams was supposed to improve on Ogletree. Not this game.

4. Special Teams: A+ O.K., maybe this is too high, but after the abysmal preseason I saw exactly what I wanted to see: a positive turnover differential, made field goals, solid punt coverage, and a touchbacks. We don't know how our own returning goes because both teams booted the kickoffs and because the Giants only punted once.

5. Pass defense: D. Did I mention that the Giants only punted once? How about that Eli threw for 450 yards? Whether it's the long, long, long touchdown pass, or the series with 6 first downs before there was ever a second down, this is what a poor pass defense looks like. The blame needs to go on the secondary and the D-line alike. It's not just about getting a sack/ pressure here or there; it's about keeping the QB from throwing where he wants, when he wants.

6. Turnovers: A+. These weren't just luck, they were hard-fought and awesome. Nuff said.

7. Intangibles: C+. Yes, we beat a division foe. Yes, we won. Yes, we showed fortitude. But if 6 turnovers isn't enough to put away an opponent, what is? How can you take away the ball for your opponent's 1st 3 possessions and only lead 6-3? I don't want to see the Cowboys do "just enough." I don't want them to say, "We're ahead, so we'll spot you two TDs." I want to see them play with intensity for all 4 quarters. This will have to get better if we're heading to the playoffs.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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