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Film review: Defense, Cowboys @ Broncos


OK, so the film review is a little late this week, I’ll try to do better next time. With the Dallas Cowboys playing a very vanilla defense for most of the game, the defensive plays were less than spectacular for the most part. Here’s the review of the defense, the offense and special teams to follow later.

NTJay Ratliff got blown out of middle a couple of times, he needs to tighten that down but he used his athleticism to run down a screen and then fought off a block to make a tackle on a draw play. He also had a couple of other standard tackles and forced a holding call. Tank Johnson wasn’t very visible and had one play where he and two other Cowboys totally blew a tackle on a run. Junior Siavii had one good penetration into the backfield and another assist on a tackle.

DE - Chris Canty got injured on the first play. Marcus Spears is still impressing me with his preseason play. One penetration on a run, one pressure on the QB during a pass and a nice tackle in the backfield. That’s being active. Jason Hatcher managed one nice tackle against the run, but that’s not enough, he needs to pick up his play. Stephen Bowen has had a quiet camp and preseason. Even though he played a lot of the Broncos game because of Canty’s injury I only have him down for one decent tackle. Marcus Smith again was very active when he got a chance to play. He tipped a pass at the line that killed a third down near the goal line, he had around three good tackles against the run and even came up with a cheap sack. Remi Ayodele got one good stick on a ball carrier.

OLBDeMarcus Ware. We haven’t seen him turn it on yet, but he will. He made a couple of nice stops against the run and had one QB pressure that was almost a sack, but he also got called for pass interference. Greg Ellis had a so-so night, he strung out the run wide on a couple of plays but got overly aggressive on another run and gave up the edge contain. Erik Walden had a couple of plays where holding the edge against the run was a problem but he had a good QB pressure that almost led to an INT. He’s still raw. Justin Rogers has problems holding the edge against runs and just doesn’t show much at the position. Darrell Robertson got some late playing time and made a good read to cover the TE on a bootleg, but had a roughing the passer penalty. I only saw Tearrius George get involved in a couple of tackles.

ILBBradie James had an active game but was also part of the poor tackling the Cowboys exhibited early in the game. While playing in the dime coverage, he ran into Oglesby and knocked him off the coverage on one completed pass, he got called for a late-hit which I thought was a bad call, and got beat in coverage on a third and 2. But he did have quite a few tackles and batted down another third-down pass in coverage. Zach Thomas continues to excel by making a quick play to the sidelines for a tackle on a pass, he avoided a blocker and blew-up the run in the backfield along with several other nice tackles. He can also cover well and did it in this game. He still can get washed-out against the run near the goal line, something the Cowboys linebackers have been having problems with this preseason. Bobby Carpenter had a very uninspiring game when he had a chance to really shine. He whiffed on a tackle at the goal line and wasn’t very involved other than one nice tackle against the run. He also had one great blitz that led to a hurried pass and almost a sack. But overall, it’s time to step it up again for the Caveman. Tyson Smith actually made some plays when given the opportunity. He created pressure on the QB that would have led to an INT except for a penalty on another Cowboy. He also had four good tackles in the running game. Nice job.

CBAnthony Henry. Up and down game for Henry. He had another big stick this week when he nailed a Broncos WR, but he allowed a receiver to beat him for the ball in the air and gave up some passes in front of him. The Cowboys were playing a soft-zone so it’s probably not a big deal. Mike Jenkins finally got burned because of his aggressive play on a double-move, something I noted he could be vulnerable to during camp because of his press-style. He also allowed a TD pass. One good thing about Jenkins is that like Henry; he’s not scared to get involved in run support and managed a couple of tackles in that area. Adam Jones sure turned his game around this week, as poor as last week’s showing was, this week he was that good. He almost got a pick six, was in good position on a couple of more passes, and was very active in making tackles against the run and after short catches. He looked much better. Evan Oglesby helped himself again in this game. He gave up a couple of passes against Stokley and on another play was left with the impossible task of having two guys to cover, but overall played a solid game. Orlando Scandrick isn’t afraid to hit as he lit up another opposing player this week. He’s looking pretty good in coverage and shows the willingness to perform run support. A solid start for the rookie. Alan Ball continues to make mistakes that are jeopardizing his chances of making the roster. He had a penalty that nullified an INT and made no plays on the ball and exhibited poor coverage. His time is running out.

SRoy Williams didn’t make a whole lot of plays in the game and was part of the bad tacking that plagued the Cowboys. Ken Hamlin also was not immune to a missed tackle but he ended with a fair amount of tackles in the game. Pat Watkins, for the second week in a row, had an INT nullified by a Cowboys penalty. Courtney Brown had some good plays in run support and got a tackle for loss but gave up a huge fourth down conversion when he let his man go in the pattern on a bootleg, only an underthrown ball prevented it from being a TD. Dowaye Davis had one blitz play that almost was a sack but not much else.

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