Staff Writers Review Players To Watch Following Bengals Game


Miles Austin, WR:Miles Austin caught four passes on the day, all of them coming on third downs and resulting in either a first down or a touchdown. It's exactly the type of performance the Cowboys will need from Austin during the season. He has to be counted on to move the sticks, with favorable matchups likely to leave him in 1-on-1 situations he needs to exploit. He did well with that Saturday. 

Barry Church, S: Church also did exactly what I thought he needed to do in the dress rehearsal. We've seen Church come up and make some stops, but he hadn't had many noticeable clutch plays throughout the preseason up until Saturday, when he forced a fumble as the Bengals threatened to score in the first quarter. That play allowed the Cowboys' first-team defense to continue its streak of holding the opponent out of the end zone during the preseason. Church was also a sure tackler throughout.

Bryan Broaddus

Doug Free: I was interested to see how this offensive line would play with Free at right guard. Free was not perfect by any means, but for the most part he was able to battle against a front seven that can cause matchup problems.

There were several plays where he really did a nice job of working with center Travis Frederick to get to the second level on the backside. Where there were some struggles was when he had to work with right tackle Jermey Parnell, and I believe that was more about this being the first game-action that Parnell had seen since last season.  In pass protection, Free didn't appear to have as many breakdowns as you might have believed. Overall, just from the eyeball test, he appeared to have a steady, workmanlike game for his first time out.

Bruce Carter:He really is a special player when it comes to chasing the ball, and Saturday I thought he showed that trait. In this scheme, you have to be able to run because these coaches will put you in position to make plays. I am always amazed at how fast Carter can read what is happening to him on defense. Like Sean Lee, when he sees it, he is gone. I think an underrated skill he also has is his ability to play in pass coverage. He was put in a couple of situations where he had to cover out of the slot, which is new for him, but it is something that I believe he will grow and learn from going forward. His effort and overall game was outstanding tonight.

David Helman [embedded_ad]

DeMarco Murray, RB:Murray responded in a big way after an abysmal first quarter saw him cede the field to Phillip Tanner. Murray opened the game with four carries for six yards, including a fumble which he recovered himself. He spent the rest of the first half watching Tanner from the sideline. It looked like it motivated him. When Murray returned after halftime, he pounded the rock eight times for 48 yards on the first possession of the second half, and he capped it with a nifty seven-yard touchdown reception that saw him evade three tacklers.

Kyle Wilber, DE:It was harder to find Wilber on Saturday night than it has been in previous preseason games, and that's probably because DeMarcus Ware played a full half of football. Wilber was around the ball and downed a punt for the special teams' coverage unit. He entered the game at defensive end in the third quarter, but he did not register a tackle.

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ARLINGTON, Texas  – The Cowboys wrapped up their fourth preseason game Saturday night with a 24-18 win over the Bengals at AT&T Stadium.

Before the game, Dallascowboys.com staff writers Bryan Broaddus, Rowan Kavner, Nick Eatman and David Helman picked two players each that they would be evaluating closely.

Now, we let them review their guys after watching four quarters of football here in Phoenix.

Nick Eatman

James Hanna, TE: I picked the second-year pro because I wanted to see how the Cowboys used him in the "12 personnel" and if Gavin Escobar would creep back into the mix. Hanna really didn't do much of note against the Bengals. In fact, Escobar did work himself into the "12" mix. Hanna lined up twice in the backfield in the H-back role and he was on the field four times in the 12-play drive that ended with Dez Bryant's touchdown. It looks like Hanna will have a role, but more of a blocker.

Orlando Scandrick, CB: This was a big opportunity for Scandrick to show himself in more than just the slot. He played for Morris Claiborne (knee) again. Scandrick did allow a third-down catch down in the red zone but got saved by his safety teammates. Barry Church and Will Allen were there to strip the ball away for a turnover. Scandrick is this team's slot corner and that seems to be his best role.

Rowan Kavner


Miles Austin, WR:Miles Austin caught four passes on the day, all of them coming on third downs and resulting in either a first down or a touchdown. It's exactly the type of performance the Cowboys will need from Austin during the season. He has to be counted on to move the sticks, with favorable matchups likely to leave him in 1-on-1 situations he needs to exploit. He did well with that Saturday. 

Barry Church, S: Church also did exactly what I thought he needed to do in the dress rehearsal. We've seen Church come up and make some stops, but he hadn't had many noticeable clutch plays throughout the preseason up until Saturday, when he forced a fumble as the Bengals threatened to score in the first quarter. That play allowed the Cowboys' first-team defense to continue its streak of holding the opponent out of the end zone during the preseason. Church was also a sure tackler throughout.

Bryan Broaddus

Doug Free: I was interested to see how this offensive line would play with Free at right guard. Free was not perfect by any means, but for the most part he was able to battle against a front seven that can cause matchup problems.

There were several plays where he really did a nice job of working with center Travis Frederick to get to the second level on the backside. Where there were some struggles was when he had to work with right tackle Jermey Parnell, and I believe that was more about this being the first game-action that Parnell had seen since last season.  In pass protection, Free didn't appear to have as many breakdowns as you might have believed. Overall, just from the eyeball test, he appeared to have a steady, workmanlike game for his first time out.

Bruce Carter:He really is a special player when it comes to chasing the ball, and Saturday I thought he showed that trait. In this scheme, you have to be able to run because these coaches will put you in position to make plays. I am always amazed at how fast Carter can read what is happening to him on defense. Like Sean Lee, when he sees it, he is gone. I think an underrated skill he also has is his ability to play in pass coverage. He was put in a couple of situations where he had to cover out of the slot, which is new for him, but it is something that I believe he will grow and learn from going forward. His effort and overall game was outstanding tonight.

David Helman [embedded_ad]

DeMarco Murray, RB:Murray responded in a big way after an abysmal first quarter saw him cede the field to Phillip Tanner. Murray opened the game with four carries for six yards, including a fumble which he recovered himself. He spent the rest of the first half watching Tanner from the sideline. It looked like it motivated him. When Murray returned after halftime, he pounded the rock eight times for 48 yards on the first possession of the second half, and he capped it with a nifty seven-yard touchdown reception that saw him evade three tacklers.

Kyle Wilber, DE:It was harder to find Wilber on Saturday night than it has been in previous preseason games, and that's probably because DeMarcus Ware played a full half of football. Wilber was around the ball and downed a punt for the special teams' coverage unit. He entered the game at defensive end in the third quarter, but he did not register a tackle.

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