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Film review: Cowboys vs. Dolphins (abridged version)

I watched the Dolphins game again and took notes, but the Tank Johnson story and regular life intervened so I didn’t get to write up the full film review. Since it’s time to move on to the Bears, I offer this abridged edition. I’ll make short work of some of the obvious guys, but try to bring out some stuff that I didn’t see until I watched it a second time.

QBTony Romo needs no review. He’s getting it done. The only thing I can ding him on is some questionable throws into traffic that ended up with the ball in the air close to interceptions. Otherwise, nothing but clear skies.

RBJulius Jones has some good runs early in the game, but he can’t run in traffic well and the Cowboys had a tough time creating space between the tackles. I still want them to get JJ on the edges more where he can work like he did on the pass catch when he made three guys miss. He’s running hard but just doesn’t have the power or vision in traffic. Marion Barber is the more dynamic back and he put a major block on Zach Thomas on a blitz pickup. On his short TD run he was met by two guys at the 2-yard line and still got in and he busted off a 40-yard TD although the blocking was the key. MB3 is playing excellent football. Tyson Thompson got mop-up duty.

WRTerrell Owens continues to excel overall with production in yards and scores, plus he’s blocking in the running game which is nice to see. He did drop a pass, double-clutched another one and picked up a silly penalty. Still, he’s getting it done. Patrick Crayton messed up his finger and wasn’t much of a factor in the passing game but had a great punt return. I guess I’ll no longer refer to him as the Human Fair Catch. Sam Hurd pitched in with a couple of catches but also got a pass interference penalty near the goal line, a big no-no. Miles Austin was present but didn’t add much.

TE – The Dolphins were not going to let Jason Witten beat them and he attracted a lot of attention. He still had some good catches and made a key block on MB3’s TD run. Anthony Fasano got a pass catch and had to make a block on DT Keith Traylor on one play and got the job done. Kudos. Tony Curtis was the recipient of the flip-pass TD from Romo on a play that was originally intended for Witten until the Dolphins tackled him in the end zone.

FBOliver Hoyte had some good blocks in this game and along with Witten sprung MB3 for a TD. He’s still not much threat in the passing game and probably never will be. Deon Anderson got some mop-up duty.

OL – Let me break it down this way; in the passing game they were excellent, in the running game they were OK. In pass protection Leonard Davis had a bad block that led to pressure as did Kyle Kosier, but for most of the game they were excellent. In the running game, Andre Gurode along with Davis and Kosier where having a hard time moving Keith Traylor and Vonnie Holliday out of the middle. Flozell Adams picked up a couple of false starts but played well and Marc Colombo had a great game, too.

NTJay Ratliff did a great job in his debut. A fumble recovery, a batted down pass on 3rd-down, a few QB pressures and a couple of good tackles means he was productive. Our best pass rusher of any of the front three. Remi Ayodele barely played.

DEChris Canty actually had a better game than I thought initially. He messed up a run play’s timing in the backfield, made a partial tackle on a run in the backfield, had good pressure on a pass rush (but missed the sack when he should have got it), got pressure that helped on Roy’s INT, and got a meaningless sack at the end. So it was better than I thought. Marcus Spears, on the other hand, was not better than I thought. He got one QB pressure that led to a bad pass and he stayed at home on an end-around to help contain it. Other than that, not much. Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen both played but had no real effect.

OLBDeMarcus Ware didn’t get a sack again and only managed a few meaningful pressures on Trent Green. In his defense, they were double-teaming him a lot. He did make some good tackles in the run and short-pass game and was also good about staying home on an end-around. Anthony Spencer needs to help Ware by getting a pass rush against a single blocker. He wasn’t very good at it in this game. Again, no big mistakes and he had a few tackles, but he needs to start making bigger plays. Bobby Carpenter was absent except on special teams.

ILBBradie James had a great night stuffing the run and timed a blitz perfectly to get a sack. He was late getting into coverage zones on a couple of passes though and the Dolphins took advantage. Akin Ayodele had a very quiet game. Kevin Burnett saw more time this week in the nickel and dime defenses and had a few good tackles, plus he had a QB pressure that led to a bad pass on a blitz.

CBAnthony Henry had an excellent game. Two INT’s - one from having perfect coverage and the other by making a break on the ball around the receiver. He also supported the run well, had a pass break-up and was only beat a couple of times in coverage. Jacques Reeves had another so-so outing. He got beat badly for a TD and they threw on him 4 or 5 times where he was just too soft in coverage. He did get more aggressive later in the game and broke up a couple of passes but also got a pass interference call. Nate Jones had four tackles and was only beat a couple of times for short gains.

SRoy Williams had a good game with some key tackles, an INT and wasn’t beat in coverage deep (he wasn’t tested much either as the Dolphins didn’t attack the middle of the field deep). He also had a QB pressure on a blitz with Burnett that led to a bad pass. Last week I wrote about Ken Hamlin and missed tackles - Coach Phillips talked about that in the press conference on Monday. Hamlin had no problem with his tackling this week and had an INT, but he did give up the garbage TD at the end for the Dolphins. But his game was improved from last week. Pat Watkins was in on a couple of tackles.

K - Nick Folk rocks.

PMat McBriar rocks.

Special teams – Patrick Crayton had a great pun return. Rookie Justin Rogers was in on a couple of kick-off coverage tackles, Pat Watkins drew a penalty on coverage from the Dolphins and had a nice tackle on another coverage play. All the special teams units played pretty well.

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