The Dallas Cowboys opened the preseason this past weekend with a 24-20 win against the Miami Dolphins in Canton, OH. Even though most expected starters sat out this game, there was still a lot to learn from this game, and there were several things that hit me during the game.
1. The new defense is already looking solid.
The switch to Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 defense is what everyone is paying attention to this offseason, and the defense was solid in the team’s first outing. They did allow 421 total yards, but this was without any of the normal starters ever touching the field and the defense displayed a true bend but don’t break philosophy. Everything seemed to tighten up the further down the field Miami got. There is still work to be done, but we appear to be ahead of where I expected them to be at this point
2. We may actually have a running game!
My fingers are crossed on this one. Our running backs totaled 165 rushing yards and 2 TD on 32 total carries Sunday night. That is a hell of a lot better than we were running the ball at any point last season. Phillip Tanner totaled 59 yards and 1 TD on 10 carries and rookie Joseph Randle looked strong also carrying the ball 13 times for 70 yards. If we can develop an effective, consistent rushing attack to take the pressure off of Tony Romo and our receivers, our offense has a chance to be very dangerous. It appears Bill Callahan is going for some balance this year, and with these backs we can have a very strong 1-2 punch, no matter who they pair with Murray for the bulk of the carries.
3. George Selvie was a great pickup.
Selvie has had his struggles since entering the NFL, but the 2007 Big East Defensive Player of the Year had a strong showing in Canton. He has the size and skills to be a solid player, he just needs to put it all together. I have a feeling he will be an excellent backup at the 4-3 DE spot behind Demarcus Ware. He could play some productive snaps for us this season and I think he is a player to watch this preseason.
Most importantly, this first game means that football is finally back. I cannot wait to see the starters finally get some game action this Friday, when Dallas travels to Oakland to take on the Raiders.