The Dallas Cowboys are off to a strong start to their pre-season,defeating the Miami Dolphins 24-20, and for the most part they looked good doing it. There is still a lot of work left for them to do. Improvements need to be made to the secondary and pass defense, but the pressure up front was there and the defensive lineman were getting their job done.
Offensively, the Cowboys didn't have the passing attack going, but the run game carried them. That was an area they needed to improve on and they appear to have that under control.
With a win under their belt, let's hand out some game balls and give some recognition to some of the players who stood out in the impressive win.
Dunbar didn't play a lot and while he didn't have a huge statistical performance, I have to reward him for his play. Every summer a guy heats up in training camp, but fails to carry that over into actual games. Last year that player was Clifton Geathers, who took over in practice and looked like a potential find. When the lights came on, Geathers disappeared. Dunbar didn't do that and he looked impressive in an actual game.
He's small, but he is quick and hits the hole hard. His ability to take the ball to the outside is equally impressive. I don't believe the Cowboys have anyone else on the roster who can do some of things Dunbar can. A year later, he looks like he is putting the pieces together and could have an impressive career.
Granted it's only one pre-season game, Dunbar is off to a great start and the Cowboys have to be excited about their overall situation at running back right now. Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle both ran the ball well and this looks like a strong position group.
During the game on Twitter, I tweeted that Frederick didn't impress me physically and honestly I still feel that way today. There were times where he was slow getting to the second level and hitting his man, but that was never his strong suit. Frederick was never manhandled or tossed around by the Dolphins, but I did believe he would be more dominate with his strength.
There will be times this season where Travis is going to get overmatched physically. In time, it won't be a problem but right now you can't expect him to dominate every snap.
What truly impressed me about his performance was that in his first NFL game, he never looked out of place. For a rookie to come in and make all of the line calls and point out what the defense is doing is pretty impressive. He's like a sponge who soaks in everything around him. Frederick's intelligence is going to be a huge advantage for the offensive line. A lot of people around the NFL are starting to come around on the center. I still need to see more from him, but this is a great first game from Travis.
Selvie probably had the biggest impression of the night. Considering just a few weeks ago he wasn't even on a team, the defensive end brought it on every play the other night. Selvie filled up the box score with two sacks, four tackles and three quarterback hurries and his effort was outstanding.
He's been cut by a few other teams and at 26 he doesn't have many opportunities left to make it on a NFL team. The time is now for the former South Florida pass rusher and he's taking advantage of the injuries along the Dallas defensive line.
With long arms and decent size for the position, Selvie has the goods to be productive in a Cowboys uniform. Dallas has been looking for a defensive end with pass rushing ability to contribute in packages and backup DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. If he keeps it up, then Selvie may be the answer.
This is the first time I have ever rewarded a coach for their performance. Callahan has made a serious change in Dallas by changing the way the plays are called and the pace has been bumped up. The Cowboys thrived in a faster paced offense last season. Callahan is bringing the type of changes that can make this offense more efficient and keep the momentum going.
When it was first reported that the Cowboys could possibly be making some changes to their playcalling system, it had to be taken with a grain of salt because there wasn't a lot of confirmation from the organization. After watching one pre-season game, it's clear that Callahan is making changes. His number system is just a smoother way of operating the calls.
I wasn't a huge fan of making Callahan offensive coordinator, but I'm glad I was wrong. So far, he is looking like a great addition to the offense.
Honorable mentions: Ronald Leary and DeVonte Holloman
More from Blogging The Boys:
- Cowboys Training Camp Open Thread - Day Twelve - 8/6/13
- Cowboys Freeze Frames: David Arkin And Other Miscellaneous Observations
- Dallas Cowboys 2013 Roster: More 53-Man Projections (Post Hall Of Fame Game)
- Tracking The Cowboys First Quarter Offense: Performance, Personnel And Play Selection
- Cowboys HOF Game: Coaching To A Win, Defensive Edition