Did We Get Some Answers Last Night? I Think We Did

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Did We Get Some Answers Last Night? I Think We Did

Post by Cowboy1959 on Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:56 am

I had said that I was looking to get some answers out of the game last night, and I think we did. Maybe not too many, but it's still early.

1. Our WR corps is starting to take shape. It looks like Dez, Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley, Brice Butler, and Lucky Whitehead have made the team. That puts Andy Jones on the bubble, and he looks like he's headed for a PS assignment. My one-time pet cat, Devin Street, is a goner.

2. Gavin Escobar made a decent case for himself last night. He's my veteran pet cat, and I am still rooting for him. I don't remember the guy ever dropping anything that's been thrown to him. Geoff Swaim has probably pushed him onto the bubble, but James Hanna's injury keeps Escobar in play. Having not seen Rico Gathers play so far this preseason, I'd have to give him long odds to make the roster, so he looks like a PS player right now. Unless Hanna recovers quickly from surgery, it looks like it's going to be Witten, Escobar, and Swaim to open the season.

3. Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris have made the team, with Darius Jackson looking good for the 3rd RB slot. Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar, and Rod Smith are on the bubble. If the Cowboys go with a FB then I think all 3 of them are gone. Personally, I'd keep McFadden or Dunbar and go into the season without a FB by using either Swaim or an agile backup OL on those plays that require a FB-type player. So many teams have gone away from the traditional FB, and I wouldn't replace a talented player at HB just to carry a FB for a half-dozen or so plays a game.

4. Chaz Green looks out of his depth in the NFL. Barring injury on the OL, I don't see him as anything more than a PS player for now. He doesn't look very natural to me, so at the very least he's going to need whatever seasoning he can get on the PS. He definitely doesn't look like the answer at LT if Tyron Smith is unavailable for any length of time this season.

5. It's looking more and more like Romo and Prescott 1-2 to open the season, with Jameill Showers headed for the PS again. Assuming that, the Cowboys will need to add a veteran 3rd-stringer, maybe someone with a good "bench presence" to serve as an example/sounding board for Dak, and to provide some stability behind him. I'm not convinced that Romo is prepared to be as generous with his potential replacement as we'd like, and previous reports of him not getting along with some of his backups makes me leery of trusting him to mentor Dak sincerely. Maybe it's just me, but Romo's body language looked a bit off last night when Dak was scorching the field. He stayed seated on the bench and I never once saw him interact with Dak. Now I wasn't at the game and I'm only going off of the small handful of sideline shots, so while I may be hypersensitive to a very small number of glimpses I didn't like what I saw and I have some concerns.

6. Our secondary looks like it might have more depth than any other I can remember for a long time. We might actually have some talent back there. J.J. Wilcox continues to show me no reason why he should make the team this year. He got caught completely flat-footed on that long gain in the first quarter, and while he made a nice tackle for a loss on the next play his negative plays have outweighed his positive plays by a lot this preseason.

7. Brandon Carr also continues to impress me negatively, and that pay cut the Cowboys required him to take looks increasingly like a smart move.

8. The injuries to Andrew Gachkar and, now, Mark Nzeocha, complicate the view at LB. With Rolando McClain unavailable (and an almost-certain lock to be cut when he returns from suspension), the Cowboys need to find some depth at LB going into the season.

9. Once the Cowboys got untracked after that disastrous first drive, Romo did exactly what I was hoping he do: take the offense down the field and score a TD. Romo looked solid on the drive, and I don't know if I'd expose him to Seattle's defense for more than a quarter on Thursday. We know what he can do, and I'd frankly rather see Dak Prescott against a good defense so we can test exactly where he stands at this point.

10. I continue to be unexpectedly (and gratifyingly) impressed with Dak Prescott, especially his field presence and leadership. You can't teach that, and he seems to have a natural talent for it. That could bode very well for the future. He seems to be able to make all of the throws, too, and that long pass to Brice Butler was a thing of beauty, coming on the heels of the TD pass to Terrence Williams the week before. He can really drop the ball right where it needs to go. It's still too early to make any firm pronouncements, but you have to like what we've seen so far.

11. We did get some sacks and takeaways by the starters, and I think the strength of our DL will be the rotation. Getting 20 plays out of 8-10 guys might be the key to success this year, especially if Rod Marinelli can figure out a way to put each guy in the situation that gives him the best chance to succeed. I think that, as much as anything, the success of this DL will rely on Marinelli manipulating each player to best advantage. It will be an interesting high-wire act for him.

12. By and large, other than the injury to Nzeocha, the Cowboys came out of the game in good shape. Overall they've had a good preseason in terms of health, and that will be important to maintain as the season begins and goes on.

I like where the Cowboys are right now, but it's still way too early to feel comfortable. They don't hand out the Lombardi Trophy in August, and until they do this team still has a lot to prove.


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Re: Did We Get Some Answers Last Night? I Think We Did

Post by MRich on Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:29 pm

I'd have to agree. That injury to Nzeocha was a little disappointing to me. I wanted to see the guy play.

Not having seen Prescott in College, I was very impressed with his pocket presence, mobility, arm, and the touch he put on passes.

I think there's a VAST drop off after Prescott. That's unfortunate, because I was rooting for a better showing out of Showers. The WRs looked good.

I was also happy to see them run a few screen passes.
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Re: Did We Get Some Answers Last Night? I Think We Did

Post by caddy4bp on Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:50 pm

You covered a lot Cowboy and agree with most of your comments. The WR position is falling into place with Butler staking a claim to #5 and agree Street is destined for the street in a few weeks. Jones likely on PS.

I'd like to see Escobar come to life. He was a former classmate of my son in HS. Losing Hanna for the foreseeable future puts Escobar & Swaim on the 53. Not sure how they will deal with Hanna's spot. Gathers is heading to the PS.


3) Alfred Morris was very good last night and shows why in the zone scheme he's a far better fit than McFadden. Just reality. Darius Jackson showed well too and is making the oft injured Dunbar expendable. Jackson's faster, but Dunbar had the quick moves. I like Dunbar but he can't stay healthy. Jackson is more the future along side EE, IMO. No need for FB, but Keith Smith is the better of the two they're looking at.

4) I was concerned with Green in the game, if Romo was starting, but he did fine in protection. Just need to show him where to line up! He isn't very athletic nor quick & looks stiff.

5) QB - Romo looked ready and Dak is making JJ avoid spending a valued draft pick on a veteran back up, who stinks less than Matt Cassel. Only preseason, no disguised coverages at this stage, but Dak has played great and eliminates thoughts of past failures such as Dustin Vaughn, the 4th rounder we tried about 6 years ago and oh yes, Johnny Football is no longer dancing in JJ's mind either!

6) I like the secondary's improvement, Mo most of all. Me, I have little or no use for Carr. He's being more aggressive on the right side, than he was on the left. I like the drafted CB, Anthony Brown and think he's got something to him for the future. Out with minor injury last night. Deja has my interest and Josh Thomas has a few years of experience, just not necessarily much upside.


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Re: Did We Get Some Answers Last Night? I Think We Did

Post by lgkehoe on Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:36 pm

Great comments, as usual from everyone.

I think LB was addressed a little bit already. So, I'll just either add or reiterate that its an area of concern. There is very little depth. At this point, I'd probably have to put Lee right behind Romo and Smith as the least affordable injuries. The defense is so much better when he is on the field. And there's the operative word..'when'. Its a long season, so Ro still may become a factor. Let's hope not.

One other thing I noted...Special Teams play has looked pretty good, too. At this point in preseason, I'd say this is the most prepared the team has looked since the Days of the Tuna.
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