ARLINGTON, Texas – We wanted to see Tony Romo do Romo-like things.
We wanted to see Dez Bryant doing Dez-like things.
Basically we just wanted to see this offense function like it has most of camp.
And for the most part, everything we've seen out in California pretty much occurred in this Saturday night preseason tilt with the Ravens.
Now, I'm talking more about the offense here. The defense performed much better than we've seen and the special teams I really don't ever talk about in preseason because you're never going to get the real unit out there until the games start counting.
So let's focus on the offense for this one. Basically in the first two series of the game, we saw a lot of the things we expected to see:
- Tony Romo looked closer to normal than he did a guy who's coming off back surgery. Now, I can't say I predicted he would have a perfect passer rating of 158.3 like he did, but still, he was expectedly efficient.
- But at times the offense did look like a unit that misses its starting quarterback every other practice. The botched handoff with Romo and DeMarco Murray looked a like they weren't on the same page.
- Dez Bryant is just an absolute beast. He's a beast in California with shorts and shells on. He's a beast on the field in a preseason game. He's just unreal and he was again on this night.
- Other than the fumble, Murray looked pretty sharp in his preseason debut. With his combo of power and speed, you can see why Murray was one just a handful of backs who averaged more than 5.0 yards per carry last year. Murray (eight carries, 34 yards) had a 4.3-yard average on his attempts, but did have a 21-yard reception.
- The offensive line had a couple of mishaps, including holding penalties by Tyron Smith and Zach Martin, but for the most part, it was solid. The penalties stand out of course, but don't forget a couple of plays when Romo is standing back there buying time and waiting for an open receiver. The line had its dominant moments, too.
Again, it wasn't all great by any means. The offense scored a touchdown for either team, so that's not a good sign.
But we all should know by now not to judge the overall scene in these preseason games. They could've beaten San Diego 27-7 and won this game 37-30 and no one should be feeling better about these games.
What it tells me is the depth issue is not very good for this team; then again, what else is new.
Let's get back to Romo because that's really the pressing issue with this team. And really, it probably was the issue with last year's team, too, considering his injury prevented him from playing in the biggest game of the season.
But at least we saw him doing things that we've seen Romo do before. He spun out of rushers, he stepped up in the pocket to create passing lanes and he had most of his passes right on the money.
The touchdown throw to Dez Bryant was absolutely perfectly thrown, regardless what some of my twitter followers might have suggested. Yes, the underthrow there to Dez 1-on-1 is exactly what needs to happen. Dez sees the ball, the defender doesn't. Dez stops, the defender doesn't. Dez makes the play, the defender doesn't. That's exactly how you draw it up.
Overall, except for the fumble and then his lack of tackling, Romo's game was pretty solid. That's what you want from the guy who's trying to manage his injury here in the preseason.
As for Bryant, he's just truly a joy to watch. Every time I see him make a play, all I can think of is: He's just better than you.
When it's a jump-ball situation, Dez is just a better athlete than the defensive back trying to stick with him. Every time Bryant got the ball in the first half, he was in beast-mode.
With the offense backed up on second-and-20 from their 8, Bryant makes a 22-yard gain in which he physically out-muscled the defense to get the added yardage. He then made a spectacular sideline catch that was not only ruled out of bounds, but the play would've come back for a holding call. Still, Bryant came down with the juggling catch in front of the Ravens' bench. Inbounds or not, it was a guy making a great play.
Then the slant pattern for a first down that extended the drive was nice, but I'm not sure the refs got that one right by whistling his forward progress being stopped. That's always a tough call, and personally, I thought Bryant was still grinding those legs and never went down. It didn't really matter because they scored – wait, he scored – later in the drive. [embedded_ad]
Every time he got the ball, Dez was sensational.
I know this team can worry about a lot of things, mainly with the defense.
But if Tony Romo can be the Romo he's been, if Dez can be the Dez he appears to be, and this offensive line continues to provide enough running lanes for Murray – the offense will be a really, really good unit.
And after three weeks of camp and two preseason games from looking at the other side of the ball, it's going to have to be.