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Cowboys have work to do after loss to Houston

Taking a look at the articles this morning about what transpired Saturday night in Reliant Stadium only confirmed what I knew. The Cowboys were bad, I’m talking 5-11 Dave Campo-type bad. The Texans rolled over us 28-16 and basically outplayed us in every phase of the game. One particular phase worries more than the others.

The Cowboys ran for only 57 yards, led by 34 from Julius Jones on 10 carries. Marion Barber was held to just 14 yards on six carries, though he did have a catch for 15 yards.

But stopping the run had been a strength for the Cowboys so far in preseason. Not only did they hold Denver and its always-stout running game to just 35 yards last week, but they entered this week as the NFL's top-ranked rushing defense, allowing just 42.0 yards per game on the ground.

But Houston racked up 142 yards on the Cowboys, averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

Oy! If you can’t run and you can’t stop the run you are going to lose games. Again, it’s preseason , so there’s time to work out our struggles. But given how giddy we were in our offense’s ability to move the football, and how stout our defense had been, this is a wake-up call.

The backup corners had their opportunity to prove what they could do in the absence of Terence Newman. Let’s just say no one, including top reserve Aaron Glenn, distinguished themselves on this evening.  

"We had problems at corner tonight," Phillips said following the Cowboys' 28-16 loss to the Texans. "We didn't get much help. We played a lot of corners to see who would do something but from on the field, I didn't see anyone make many plays. It looked like they all had a chance to make some plays but we didn't get any."

Jacques Reeves and Alan Ball both gave up TD passes, although Reeves’ came on a play where Matt Schaub had far too much time to find a receiver. Joey Thomas was embarrassed on an open field tackle, and I don’t know how Nate Jones did. I’ll have a lot more on all these guys after the film review.

Kevin Burnett got a nice sack on a blitz when he came around the edge untouched. But he hurt his ankle during the game and never returned.

Cowboys linebacker Kevin Burnett left Saturday's game in the second quarter and never returned, though the third-year player was walking without a limp after the game.

The X-rays taken of Burnett's ankle were negative for a broken bone, but doctors say they were inconclusive since it appeared his injury was to a joint. Burnett likely will have an MRI on Sunday.

Also, Martin Gramatica hurt his hamstring, and hurt his chances of winning the kicking battle when he missed an extra-point.

Kicker Martin Gramatica missed an extra-point try and suffered a hamstring injury on the ensuing kickoff. It appears rookie Nick Folk is the front-runner now.

There were a lot more mistakes to cover, bad tackling being prominent as well as poor special teams play. I’ll cover all that in the film review later.

There was some sentiment that the Cowboys were flying too high this preseason and needed to be brought down to earth. Well, they came down to earth with a resounding thud, and revealed what we should have known, there’s still a lot of work to be done with this team.

The NFLN is replaying the game at 11 AM EST today.

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