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Cowboys @ Texans (preseason) film review: Offense

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What you saw in the game is pretty much what you get in this film review. Poor line play on both sides of the ball, special teams that weren’t special, untimely penalties and blown assignments. Very few guys did anything worthwhile last night, and some were definitely worse than others.

QB
Tony Romo ended with a nice stat line (14/22 197 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT), bit he didn’t play as well as that line would suggest. It was kind of like some of his games from the end of last year; his line looks OK, but he’s been sharper on the field. The INT was woefully underthrown, he overthrew a couple of receivers, had a couple of bad reads, and bobbled two shotgun snaps. He had to overcome some penalties and no running game to put up the 2 TD’s and still come out with a respectable showing. Brad Johnson had a beautiful throw to Tony Curtis for a big gain, but didn’t do much else and threw a desperation INT at the end.

RB
Julius Jones and Marion Barber were held in check all night. Neither had much room to run as the offensive line played a poor game. Numerous missed blocks doomed plays. Julius Jones had a couple of bad cuts when there was room outside and he stayed inside. I think he left some yardage on the field. Marion Barber seemed hesitant on a couple of runs, one where he missed a wide-open hole because he danced in the backfield. On the positive side, they used MB3 as a FB on a couple of occasions and he made nice blocks, including one on DeMeco Ryans. He also does a good job of picking up the blitz. Tyson Thompson didn’t get much opportunity in the game.

FB
Lousaka Polite and Deon Anderson rotated with the first unit with Polite being the starter. I didn’t see either one do anything of note. They made some blocks, but they missed a couple of blocks that helped doom running plays. It looked like Anderson also missed a blitz pickup assignment.

WR
Terrell Owens finally got some action and scored on a patented pass across the middle that he turned into a TD. He did a nice job of splitting the tacklers and taking it to the house. He did get his hands on one pass he should have caught. It was a difficult catch but a WR of his talents should catch it. Patrick Crayton had a couple of catches but Sam Hurd was the best WR on the field for Dallas. He had four catches and was running hard after the catch. Miles Austin, Isaiah Stanback and Jerheme Urban did little.

TE
Jason Witten saw extended time in this game and responded with three catches for 47 yards and a TD. Tony Curtis was the main backup to Witten and caught a long pass from Brad Johnson for 33 yards. Adam Bergen had no impact on the game.

OL
Not good all the way around, except maybe Andre Gurode. I didn’t see him getting beat that often, but a couple of snaps took Romo by surprise, so one of them had the wrong count. Leonard Davis had his first poor showing of the preseason. He whiffed on a pull block, lost control of the pass rusher forcing Romo to escape the pocket, had a false start and a holding call on 1st and 10 plays, and whiffed on a run block allowing his man to disrupt the timing in the backfield. He did settle down after the first couple of series and played OK. Marc Colombo looked better than last week and only had a couple of breakdowns in his run blocking and was fairly solid in pass protection. Flozell Adams turned his guy loose on a play forcing Romo out of the pocket, had a false start penalty, and missed a block badly on a running play. Kyle Kosier also had a couple of run blocking breakdowns, and got Romo hit when he didn’t know the snap count; he stayed in his stance when the ball was snapped and his man ran straight through the line for the sack. It felt like on every other play someone on the line had a breakdown, but they did look better in the third quarter, probably because they were playing against reserves.

Of the backups, I didn’t see much out of the ordinary for most of them. Pat McQuistan had a couple of awful run blocks that killed plays and James Marten got pancaked into Brad Johnson for a sack.

Punt coverage
Well, not good. They gave up a 91-yard punt return where Keith Davis got blocked out of his lane, Anthony Spencer took a bad angle and Jacques Reeves couldn’t close for the tackle.

Kickoff coverage
The Cowboys actually seem to be improving in this area as they only gave up an 18-yard average. Abram Elam and Joey Thomas both made good plays on the coverage unit.

FG/XP
Martin Gramatica missed an extra-point and had a very short kickoff. Nick Folk was perfect on his FG and extra-point tries.