By Kim Dunning
Don’t get too excited Dallas fans, even if Dallas had a dominating first half against the Rams on Saturday night. The team ended up blowing the lead only to lose a meaningless game 1 of the pre-season.
The team itself seemed to gel during the first half of the game with the potential starters and backups playing. This isn’t in anyway a precursor to how the season for the Cowboys will be. Pre-season never is.
Tony Romo and Jason Witten sat this game out, as they should have, especially Romo with his injury history. Dez Bryant was expected to sit out, but he had a few moments of playing time, and thankfully he caught the ball for a touchdown.
All in all, the first half, Dallas looked poised and ready for the NFL season. Here is my personal take-away from the game.
Dallas may have actually found a backup quarterback who can complement the Romo friendly team. Dak Prescott working with the first team looked amazing. He has picked up the playbook well enough to be serviceable. Amazingly, Dallas may have the steal of the draft with Prescott.
Dez Byrant looked pre-big contract Dez. He was the playmaker that fans alike were hoping he would become. The Prescott to Bryant touchdown pass was one that sent chills up longtime fans spines. It looked right.
Lucky Whitehead made a spectacular kick return on the very first play of the drive. I referenced Lucky in my last article saying he was definitely one to be keeping an eye on. I’m glad my peers were accurate that he was and is currently a huge standout for the Cowboys this year.
The offense as a whole looked like a complete unit, even without Romo at the helm. It really didn’t look like they had missed a beat. This was a completely different look. Even the play calling itself seemed to be creative and complement the players that were on the field at any given time.
When will Dallas learn the discipline that Garrett has been talking about for years? It is still an issue even in the first pre-season game. Drive killing penalties were still an issue and yes, it is the first meaningless pre-season game, but this has been something that has always been an Achilles heel for the Cowboys.
The bubble talent did not prove their worth in this game either. They let a big lead slip away and ended up losing the game. Again it is a meaningless game but still, if you are wanting to impress and make a team at least as a depth or practice squad player, you should definitely not let the lead slip away like that.
The defense, the ugliest and yet most neglected by the Cowboys. The suspensions of three of the four defensive lineman has really put Dallas in a bind defensively. The players who are available to take the spots while they serve their time are a bunch of no names that we know cannot play all three downs.
Dallas’ best hope for a successful season will be to keep the defense off the field. These guys still do not know how to tackle and take proper cuts. One would think after so many seasons they would get it. However, after watching the first game of their season, they haven’t learned from their mistakes. Maybe by the end of the season they will know what it takes to play defense.
Again, this is just an evaluation of the talent and depth that Dallas needs to maintain a team throughout the 2016. We all know pre-season games are meaningless. Dallas has done well in pre-season only to end up in last place and they have done awful in pre-season and made the Super Bowl.
I stick firm by my 8-8 prediction, because defenses win championships and Dallas doesn’t have a defense. Onto the next evaluation game that means nothing!