If you just look at the 34-21 score, you’d think the Cowboys came out and handled Tampa Bay today. While there were some things to be pleased by, I think there are far more things to be very concerned about. Let’s light this candle.
1. The Cowboys defense sucks. They’re soft, slow and stupid. That’s not to say that they won’t improve as the year goes along, but today they were horrible. The Bucs racked up 450 total yards and could have easily had 100 more if it wasn’t for a few dropped balls and passes that got away from Byron Leftwich. Early in the game, the Bucs were running the ball at will. The impact of Wade Phillips’ infamous “Camp Cupcake” was obvious as Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward just bowled over Cowboys defenders. The Bucs ran the ball for 176 yards and average 5.6 per carry. Missed tackles were abundant in the preseason and it’s obvious that it’ll be a problem for a long time. Wide receivers were wide open all over the field. The middle of the field was wide open all game. If these things don’t get fixed by next week, the Giants will win by three touchdowns.
2. Speaking of the defense, how do these stats sit with you? Leftwich, a veritable statue at quarterback, dropped back to pass 42 times. The Cowboys got ZERO sacks and forced ZERO turnovers. Not only have the Cowboys not improved on the absolute worst facet of their game (forcing turnovers) from last year, but they’ve lost what was the only strong point of their defense from last year (getting to the QB).
3. Mike Jenkins is a moron. The guy looks lost on 3/4’s of the plays he’s in on. Please let Orlando Scandrick be the full-time starter.
4. It’s the second quarter, the Cowboys are marching down the field trying to regain the lead after a Cadillac Williams touchdown made it 7-6. It’s 2nd and 10 at the Dallas 45 yardline. The Cowboys run a beautiful end-around play to Patrick Crayton who dashed upfield for a 16-yard gain. However, there’s a flag on the play. Unnecessary roughness called on Flozell Adams. Wipe out the run and move the ball back 15 yards. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
5. It was good to see Tony Romo overcome his early game jitters and come out firing in the second half. The placement on his passes was off in the first half. He was throwing behind his receivers on quick slants and he tried to fire a pass into Martellus Bennett on a fade route instead of throwing the ball high and with touch. However, in the second half, he settled down and ended up with the highest single game passing yards total of his career: 353. His final line was equally impressive: 16 of 27 for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns. That comes out to a QB rating of 140.6. Not too shabby.
6. Remember the constant whining about where the big plays were going to come from now that T.O. is gone? How do touchdowns of 42 yards, 66 yards and 80 yards sit with you, naysayers? The receiving corp looked good today, and it was kind of relieving to watch a game and know that the ticking timebomb that is T.O. wasn’t about to explode because other people were making big plays.
7. I like the running back rotation that Jason Garrett used today. It was a great mix of all three Dallas backs: Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. What I liked even better was how obvious it was that Barber was still fresh in the fourth quarter when it was time for the Cowboys to close out the victory. The Cowboys are a much better offense when Barber can come in late in the game with fresh legs and be the battering ram we all know and love.