Dateline: Canton, Ohio– It was only the first preseason game and the usual suspects for heroism were on the sideline. Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee sat this one out. The 2013 Hall of Fame game was a night for backups and rookies to step into the spotlight.
Rookie linebacker DeVonte Holloman stole the show with his 75-yard pick six. Holloman, the sixth round pick in this year’s draft, was not alone, however; as backup defensive George Selvie showed his liking for the Monte Kiffin 4-3 defense by recording two sacks and harassing Miami quarterbacks most of the night. Rookie linebacker Taylor Reed, an SMU product, recorded six tackles and three assists. Rookie defensive back JJ Wilcox recorded four tackles and two assists.
On the offensive side of the ball, first round pick C Travis Frederick looked like a veteran, calling out OL assignments and defensive coverages. He helped open holes for running back Phillip Tanner, who, fighting for a spot on the roster, ran with purpose. Tanner carried the ball 10 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. The rookie figuring to push past Tanner and solidify himself as a backup/change-of-pace back to DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle, carried the ball 13 times for 70 yards.
Tarleton State alum Nick Stephens flashed NFL arm strength. He only completed four of seven passes for 24 yards, but one of those passes was a low-flying missile, perfectly placed over the middle of the field between two defenders.
Monmouth product QB Alex Tanney didn’t quite live up to his YouTube video fame, but he looked pretty decent.
The kids were at play and they played well together.
Most importantly, Monte Kiffin’s defense was on display and it showed promise of doing what it does: pressure the ball and force turnovers.
It was a good start for a team with high hopes.
Oh, and the Cowboys beat the Dolphins, 24-20.