ARLINGTON, Texas – It's always difficult trying to scout a game while you're doing a radio broadcast, but that's the incredibly fun challenge I get to enjoy during the preseason.
From my vantage point in the radio booth, there was plenty to like about the Cowboys' 41-14 win against the Miami Dolphins. Here are 12 points from the second preseason game:
- I've been waiting for Brice Butler to make a play down the field and he was finally able to pull it off. His post route was well executed and Dak Prescott was able to get him the ball in a spot where he could finish the play. As good as the throw and catch were, give Geoff Swaim some credit as well for his block on max protection in the pocket -- which allowed Prescott the time to make the throw.
- Alfred Morris continues to show that he has a feel for how to execute running plays in this scheme. His vision and cutting ability is exactly what these blockers have needed. Morris' running style doesn't require them to have to hold their blocks for long periods of time. He is decisive and committed with the ball in his hands and that is why we are seeing more productive running plays.
- Think again when you want to get rid of Kyle Wilber. His performance was inspiring for a defense that had limited numbers along the line. Wilber struggled badly in camp with a back issue that limited his practices, and he only just recently returned to the field. He took very few snaps in those practices at the end, but when the time came for him to step in -- he was ready. Wilber was explosive and disruptive during his opportunities and once again showed why he's a reliable piece to this defense.
- Better showing by Chaz Green this week. I was getting a feeling from the pregame buzz that there was a big concern about Tony Romo playing in this game with Green filling in for Tyron Smith. There were better snaps from Green pass protection-wise. He wasn't as sloppy and off balance, which showed in their ability to move the ball. His run blocking continues to improve -- especially the times he was able to combo block with La'el Collins. They were able to create space for Alfred Morris to make his cuts. The only time that Romo was hit, it was not an error by Green -- which most fans believed would have been a common problem.
- Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne continue to get their hands on passes. I especially like what I have seen from Carr because it is rare when he does that. The move to the right side appears to have made Carr a more aggressive player. He is seeing the routes clearer, which I don't believe was the case on that left side. Carr is finally playing like a player that this defense can truly count on.
- Another game, another sack by Shaneil Jenkins. His technique isn't always perfect but his effort is. What really stood out about his play was how quickly he was able to get off the ball and into the blocker. There were several snaps where he and Cedric Thornton were right there, side-by-side, before the Dolphins linemen had a chance to react -- and he was in the backfield. Jenkins continues to get work at that all important under-tackle spot and proving to this staff that he deserves a spot on this roster.
- If the Dallas Cowboys gave out helmet stickers for pancake blocks, then Terrance Williams deserves one for the block he had on the opening drive that was called a holding penalty. If Williams doesn't finish his man off by driving him into the ground, the call is likely not made. I promise that when I watch the tape, it will show that is was a terrible call.
- Textbook punt block by Vince Mayle. On the block, Mayle could have easily missed the ball and run right into Matt Darr, drawing the penalty. To beat his man off the snap, then have the ability to lay out across the ball all while staying off the punter shows me that he pays attention in meetings. Mayle did exactly what Rich Bisaccia coached him to do. Very well-executed.
- Nice job by Keith Smith of coming in and helping with some single-back runs. It didn't surprise me that Smith had the success that he did in the game. During the practices in Oxnard, Smith ran behind the first offensive line when they worked the Pod Drill against the first defense. Smith always did a nice job of hitting the hole quickly and at the correct spot. In those situations, he was very natural in the way he carried the ball which he showed in this game.
- Keep Jack Crawford in mind for that starting job at left defensive end. He is starting to show up more than then what we have seen from the guys competing at the position. I am not sure the coaches really want to start him, but they might not have much of a choice.
- Nice to see Andy Jones bounce back after last week. His catch on the goal line is more in line to what we've seen from him during practice and he was able to make a tackle on the punt team. I still don't see them keeping six receivers with the needs at other spots, but the coaches are giving him the opportunities to make plays. In this game, he was able to respond.
- Thanks to Brad Sham, Kristi Scales and the entire Dallas Cowboys Radio crew for giving me the opportunity to work on their broadcast tonight. I wish every fan could get to experience what I get to do.