ARLINGTON, Texas – It was another nice job by the first offense and defense in coming out against the St. Louis Rams and getting the job done.
With Dez Bryant and Miles Austin once again out of the lineup, some other receivers got the opportunity to either step up and make plays or fall by the way side. In the case of Kevin Ogletree and Dwayne Harris, they were able to rise to the occasion and make plays for Tony Romo, where others like Raymond Radway and Andre Holmes let chances go through their fingertips.
I was once again impressed with the first offense's ability to protect Romo from a pair of Rams' defensive ends that can create pass rush in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Both Tyron Smith and Doug Free did a nice job of holding up on the outside, while center David Arkin wasn't always pretty, but you saw some nice reach blocks and the ability to get to the second level and secure linebackers. The point-of-attack blocking was good enough to allow Felix Jones to earn some productive runs, which is something that needed to be done.
Defensively, there were some outstanding series when the Cowboys went to their nickel package. Better coverage down the field led to more pressure from the front seven. The Rams' receivers had a tough time finding space against this secondary. Cornerback Morris Claiborne was tested but seemed to come through it without much problem. For Claiborne it's going to be about reading routes, playing technique and making plays.
Linebacker Sean Lee was not only outstanding when the ball was run in his direction, but also in pass defense and as a blitzer. Bruce Carter also showed up against the Rams as did nose tackle Jay Ratliff , who displayed quickness and power before he left the game with an ankle injury.
There were several players that were fighting for roster spots on this team that didn't play as well as they needed to in order to secure a position. The offense in the second half did nothing to help the defense, which was on the field way too much.
With the last preseason game against the Dolphins coming up, there are not many chances left, but for the first offense and defense, it was an outstanding night.