SAN DIEGO – It's just about two hours since the Cowboys' preseason opener ended, and we're about to head out.
No, we're not going back to a hotel room, but straight back to Oxnard, Calif., to prep for the remainder of this training camp – and now we've got some real, bonafide games to discuss. There's plenty more to say about what we saw on Thursday night, but here's 12 initial thoughts to hold you over until we get back to home base.
- If Terrance Williams and Devin Street can continue to run routes and finish plays the way they did against the Chargers, defenses are going to have a hard time placing all of their attention on Dez Bryant.
- The goal of the front office in the offseason was to build their defense in a way to develop a pass rush. There is no question that with the addition of Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory that they have done just that. Throw in Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence, and you now have four defenders that can really get off the ball. I was impressed with the way they were able to attack the pocket when they were all together.
- I was impressed with the poise that Dustin Vaughan was able to show in his time under center. There have been too many snaps in practice where you didn't see him have that as part of his game. His mobility in the pocket and ability to avoid the rush on tape will be nice teaching points for Wade Wilson to go through and reinforce what they have been trying to get him to do in the development of his game.
- When the defense studies the film on Saturday, there are several players that are going to be sick in the way that they were in position to finish plays but were unable to. I am looking forward to studying the film myself and count the number of missed tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage.
- I'm sorry, Lucky Whitehead, but as much as I love the way you have come into camp and taken us all by storm with your play – you can't fumble the ball. If you continue to do so, they will find someone else on this roster that won't and that's not good for you.
- From my seat in the radio booth, it appeared that Jack Crawford more than held his own in the quest to be that backup under-tackle behind Tyrone Crawford. What I have liked about Jack Crawford's game -- especially since being moved inside -- has been in his ability to attack the pocket. When he has lined up on that outside shoulder of the guard, he has been difficult to handle one-on-one. He has always been a relentless player in the way he approaches the game, but more importantly his technique has, as well.
- I have always taken the approach that you can't grade an offensive linemen on just two or three poor plays, but his entire game. As bad as we all might believe that Darrion Weems played at times, I am willing to bet there will be more plays where he was able complete his job just fine. I believe the problems that Weems had were more technique-related than they were physical problems. There were snaps where he kicked too wide on his set and it allowed the rusher inside, which was a problem. His holding call on the running play was just him being lazy and not bringing his feet underneath him, which put him in a terrible blocking position.
- I wouldn't be one bit surprised to see Nick Harwell get more opportunities in practice this week over guys like Deontay Greenberry, George Farmer and A.J. Jenkins. With the exception of Lucky Whitehead, he has been the most consistent of the young receivers -- not only running his routes, but also finishing plays. The others haven't matched up.
- I am not going to make any excuses for the coverage units on special teams for the Cowboys on Thursday night, but if balls are going to be fielded with the returner catching them on the run, they have no chance. There were several times where I watched the flight of the ball and where the defenders were and thought to myself: "This is going to be a big return." The Chargers did a nice job of taking advantage of the situation, because I know that this unit is better than what they showed.
- Jameill Showers is fun to watch. I knew that he had outstanding arm strength, but I had no idea that he had the mobility that he did. His ability to think on his feet was impressive – as was his reaction to make a play.
- Liked what I saw from rookies Byron Jones and Joel Ross coming forward and defending the run when the ball came downhill at them. Usually corners will shy away from contact when it comes to forcing the run, but both Jones and Ross held their ground nicely and were right where they needed to be on the run fit.
- All I could think of when Efe Obada got some snaps in the game was how proud fellow Englishman Dan Turner must have been watching him from the press box here in San Diego. Obada will always be a wonderful story, and like I said on the radio broadcast, every day he does a little something that gives you hope that he can find a way onto this practice squad. We'll have a more detailed story coming on Obada. But for now -- cheers, Dan. Your boy did well.