Cowboys lose to the Chargers, 28–20.
Few things frustrate me more than NFL preseason football, mainly because it is almost football, but not quite. The other reason is that one is tempted to overrate the significance of individual and team performances. Some teams and lots of players are preseason superstars. And at the end of the regular season, the only highlight reel worth watching on them is preseason—the stuff that didn’t count.
Still, the preseason is a time for tuning up the team, finding players and flushing out pretenders. Impressions are made.
So, here are my impressions from Cowboys preseason, week two…
Dez Bryant is a monster
Bryant was an animal at Oklahoma State and he has shown flashes of brilliance in his brief NFL career. Unfortunately, dalliances with Deion Sanders, run-ins with mall cops and smack downs with dear ole mom leave you wondering if he will ever be able to rein in the knucklehead factor long enough to be the singular player his talent promises.
If he can, Cowboys fans will see stuff like this…
Big money and bold moves on draft day may have fixed the Cowboys cornerback position
The Cowboys traded up on draft day to snag LSU CB phenom Maurice Claiborne. Before they did that, Jerry Jones opened his check book and signed FA CB Brandon Carr to a $50 million contract. Last night, Carr had two beautiful interceptions. Claiborne had a quiet night, which for CB is only bested by beautiful interceptions.
Cornerback was a glaring weakness on this team a year ago. Since blitz-happy Rob Ryan insists on dialing up blitzes so often they take exactly no one by surprise, cornerbacks have to be able to lock down their receivers. Looks like these two will be far better suited than their predecessors.
DeMarco Murray is back
After a season-ending injury last year, there was the question of whether Murray would be the same electrifying runner.
Yes. Yes, he will. His first five carries against the Chargers netted 30 yards and eased a lot of minds. Welcome back, DeMarco.
Cowboys new OL Coach/Offensive Coordinator Bill Callahan has to come through…big time
The success of the season rides on Callahan getting the offensive line whipped into shape. At the moment, he is running a MASH unit. But all healed or not, September 5 is coming. If the defense beats the snapped ball to Romo when he is in the shotgun, it is going to be a long season. Romo can throw the ball. We know that. Austin, Bryant and Witten can catch it. Murray can run it.
But ONLY if Callahan teaches the line how to block. With Tyron Smith looking like the beast we hoped he would be, Callahan only has to worry about four out of five positions.
Good luck, coach.