It wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. When both teams had their starters on the field, the Cowboys dominated the Rams. Tony Romo looked like Dan Marino. Sam Bradford looked like Marc Bulger. The 2007-09 version. Only less accurate. On defense…well…I hope Jeff Fisher keeps a box of Snickers bars on the sidelines because we had a lot of Betty Whites out there. On that note, let’s look at the good, the bad and the Spagnuolo from week three of the preseason.
Greg Zuerlein nailed 52 and 55 yard field goals. This guy is a keeper. I just hope he isn’t our best offensive weapon. I had my fill of field goal fests over the past three years. How can you not feel for Garrett Lindholm, Zuerlien’s competition for the kicking job. When he finally gets his chance, after watching Zuerlein nail two bombs, he comes in and promptly misses in extra point. Too bad. The kid has a decent leg of his own. Hope he gets another chance some where.
Darryl Richardson is light years ahead of Isaiah Pead at running back. I don’t see how he’s not the top back up to Steven Jackson after last night’s game. D-Rich ran like a pro again, this time against first string talent. Over five yards per carry. He brings an electricity to the field that thus far, Isaiah Pead does not.
Pead did look good returning kicks, however. We haven’t had a consistent weapon back there since Tony Horne. Pead averaged over 30 yards per return including a 47 yarder. That may be his niche this season. I hope he can at least contribute here.
Austin Davis continues to show promise. He lead the Rams on a nice scoring drive with time winding down. Kellen Clemens wasn’t bad last night, but Davis has the upside. The Rams should find a roster spot for him.
Nice fake punt. Jeff Fisher continues to be a risk taker in the preseason…a trait that I hope carries over when the real games start. It may not always work as nicely as it did last night, but it’s a lot more entertaining than the brand of football we had to endure under Steve Spagnuolo, whose idea of risk taking was throwing an eight yard pass on 3rd and 15 instead of a three yard one.
And finally, the best thing you could hope for in a preseason game. Nobody got hurt. Three down, one to go. Let’s hope that trend continues.
Isaiah Pead is going nowhere fast. At least not from scrimmage. Not sure what’s holding him back, but the light bulb needs to come on quickly. He’s averaging two yards per carry this preseason. And that’s the good news. His average per reception is even worse at 1.4 yards. I can’t imagine how a running back drafted in the second round could look so below average.
Sam Bradford provided another underwhelming performance. The “best QB prospect since Peyton Manning” continues to play well below the hype. When was the last time Manning completed 35% of his passes and averaged 3.76 yards per attempt? If Pead was averaging 3.76 yards per attempt, we’d have a parade. But not Bradford.
Janoris Jenkins had his first bad night as a pro and honestly, I was glad to see it. He was beat in coverage by mediocre receivers and whiffed on tackles. But it’s better to have that happen now, in the preseason, than when the games count. Things were coming too easy for him and sometimes when that happens to a young player they let up a little. They make the mistake of thinking they don’t have to work as hard. See Rodger Saffold in 2010 versus 2011. Last night’s game should help him stay focused. He can be a great player in this league, but only if he continues to work hard at it.
Tony Romo made it look effortless. It was 80 degrees at kickoff, but I doubt he even broke a sweat. Starting QBs have completed 32 of 47 passes with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions against our starting defense. The Rams weren’t much better against the run as Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray combined to average well over five yards per carry. This defense has to be better than that, and I believe it is.
Craig Dahl was in with the starters. There is a place on this team for Craig Dahl, but starting is not it. He needs to be up close to the line of scrimmage and making tackles. He’s a pretty good blitzer. But he is horrible in coverage. Every player with a highlight against the Rams defense this preseason has Craig Dahl flailing about 5 yards behind him. Get well soon Darian Stewart
Dwayne Harris? Are you kidding me? I was having flashbacks to last year’s Ravens game when Torrey Smith scored three long touchdowns before Steve Spagnuolo had a chance to squat. Harris caught three balls for 118 yards and two TDs in less than a quarter. Kevin Ogletree chipped in five for 75 yards. This wasn’t Bruce and Holt. These guys aren’t even starters. What would’ve happened had Dez Bryant and Miles Austin played?