The Defense Shows Up For The Dallas Cowboys In Oakland
Overall, it has been a pretty average offseason for the Dallas Cowboys. There were the usual free agent comings and goings. The Cowboys trimmed some fat and tried to get better in the secondary. The team said goodbye to cornerback Terrance Newman and they signed free agent Brandon Carr to play corner. They also attempted to redesign the offensive line by signing two guards, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings, while letting go of Kyle Kosier.
There are the typical questions surrounding the Cowboys’ draft. It looks Like Maurice Claiborne will be a starter along-side Carr at cornerback, but he and several other Cowboy draft picks have been injured and slow to get going. Defensively, there is hope for third rounder Tyrone Crawford from Boise State.
Offensively, the Cowboys desperately need a third wide receiver with the departure of Laurent Robinson. Danny Coale from Virginia Tech was selected in the draft, but has yet to be able to get healthy.
What would an offseason in Dallas be without a wide receiver in trouble? Enter Dez Bryant. Even Jerry Jones provided his usual bulletin board material when he said he was looking forward to … beating the Giants.
It has been an average offseason at Valley Ranch, so let the PRE-season begin.
The Cowboys made the trip up the California coast to take on the Oakland Raiders for some Monday Night Football and that is about as far as we have gotten.
The Raiders are rebuilding a franchise on and off the field after the passing of legendary owner Al Davis. Even Bill Romanowski has to get a pass to attend practice in Oakland these days.
The Raiders began on offense, ran three straight plays to running back Darren McFadden, then starting quarterback Carson Palmer threw up a prayer of a pass that was picked off by Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh. That is about where the excitement started and stopped for the first teamers in Monday night’s preseason game.
The Cowboy’s starting offense did nothing. Quarterback Tony Romo was 3-6 for 30 yards. DeMarco Murray rushed twice for no yards and Jason Witten caught two passes, the second of which left him exposed to a vicious hit that Witten took and promptly left the game.
The big play for the Cowboys in the first half came on special teams when Josh Brent blocked a Sebastian Janikowski field goal. The score was 0-0 at the half. Nothing lost, nothing gained? Perhaps.
It is preseason, and the Cowboys playing the Raiders Monday night capped off a week of some hard to watch football. The Cowboys definitely need the time to figure things out up front. That offensive line is not going to cut it in the NFL. Neither starting center for Dallas had ever snapped a ball in the league before Monday. Yes, there were two projected starters that did not make the trip, but the ones that did play did little to impress. Dan Bailey made a 33 yard field goal in the middle of the third quarter to get the Cowboys on the board 3-0.
Quarterback Stephen McGee ran the offense for the Cowboys for most of the second half. McGee is trying to hang on to a roster position as camp continues. With back-up quarterback Kyle Orten solidifying the number two spot, McGee is reportedly in a battle with Rudy Carpenter for the third QB position. Carpenter took over the offense with about 6 minutes left to play and proceeded to fumble or be sacked on three straight plays. McGee might be safe from the “Turk” for another week.
The positive to take from Monday’s game for the Dallas Cowboys came on defense. The Cowboys held the Raiders scoreless through three-quarters. They intercepted Carson Palmer and they stopped the run. Darren McFadden did make the two plays on the first drive but the Cowboys gave up very little on the ground after that. Late in the fourth the Cowboys defense had the opportunity to chase former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor around the pitch. Experience that will come in handy for a team that will face Michael Vick and RGIII a combined four times in 2012.
The Cowboys showed some possible depth at linebacker. Adrian Hamilton out of Prairie View A&M made a few flashes as well as did Orie Lemon from Oklahoma State.
The game ended on a 4th and 26 in which Pryor lofted a duck over the middle that was intercepted by defensive back Mana Silva from Hawaii.
Though ugly, the Dallas Cowboys will probably be happy with what they got Monday in Oakland. They shut out a team on the road in the NFL. They escaped a preseason game without sustaining a major injury and they had a chance to see again where they need help. The Cowboys have three more dress rehearsals to find that help.