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Dallas Cowboys see both good and bad in first preseason game

I guess you just take the good with the bad as the Dallas Cowboys lost to the San Diego Chargers, 31-17. The Dallas Cowboys opening preseason game went from the sublime, to the ridiculous, to the mundane.

The Cowboys starters came out like a juggernaut and were dominating the game. Romo to Witten is…say it with me now…cash money. MB3 was running very aggressively and the offense had no problems marching down the field for a TD. The first team defense got a sack, a three-and-out and had forced another punt on a drive.

Then everything went sideways. Danny Amendola fumbled the punt return, Ken Hamlin got the questionable pass interference penalty and the tables turned. OK, Hamlin did bump the receiver but he wasn’t getting to that ball anyway, we had blanket coverage. After they scored, we went into a long period of ridiculously bad football that was only saved by the play of Felix Jones. Brad Johnson, frankly, didn’t look good. The backup offensive line struggled. The special teams were a disaster. They showed one replay of our punt coverage where we had four guys running in a vertical line. We picked up some huge pass interference calls that led directly to scores. Finally, Felix and Miles Austin combined to power a FG drive at the end of the first half.

In the second half, after we gave up another special teams-aided short TD drive, we actually stabilized a little bit and played a decent rest of the game. Austin and Tashard Choice were the major players in the last TD drive and Richard Bartel was trying to make his case for more reps. The defense finally stopped giving up points and the backups played to a draw late in the game.

There will be plenty of things to work on for the Cowboys but if you want to take the optimistic look; just remember how well the starters played. And no major injuries.

Box score here

Recap.

Looking good:
Tank Johnson had a nice sack.
Marcus Spears had three disruptive plays in the backfield.
Tony Romo looked sharp. His line was great.
Jason Witten is a machine.
Patrick Crayton made a couple of contributions.
MB3, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice all looked good, Jones looks like he could be special.
Miles Austin had a great night and is now battling hard for the #3 WR spot.
Bobby Carpenter got involved and had a lot of tackles.
Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick looked pretty good.

Looking for improvement:
Brad Johnson didn’t look like quality backup material. He needs to show something over the next couple of games.
Danny Amendola can’t put the ball on the turf. Just can’t happen.
Adam Jones has certainly had better nights. He’s still rusty.
The secondary needs to be careful about the penalties.
Sam Hurd. After I pumped him up, he comes up with one catch for five yards.
Special teams were abysmal. No excuse, I don’t care who was playing where, they were awful.