OAKLAND– The Cowboys now have two preseason games under their belt, and finally have one with most of the starters in action.
Still, the focus still seems to be on the some of the younger players, possibly on the bubble.
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 Oakland.
Doug Free, RT:Free played all three series of the first half and put in a strong bit of work. The Cowboys ran the ball for just 36 yards in the first half, but that was only on six carries. The offense ran off Free's right tackle spot only once, though it was for a seven-yard game. By my count, he was beaten once in pass protection, though it was a non-factor as Tony Romo was able to step up in the pocket on the throw. Free looked impressive on the other 14 dropbacks, as he capably handled blitzers on two or three different occasions.
Sterling Moore, CB: Consider Moore a tough luck loser in this case. There wasn't a lot the undersized corner could do to stop Brice Butler from pulling in a gorgeous 30-yard touchdown on a diving catch in the third quarter. Moore was running step-for-step with Butler, and walked away from the play shaking his head. It was the most noteworthy play of Moore's night, as the Raiders' run-heavy playbook kept him out of most of the action. It's worth noting that, thanks to the absence of Morris Claiborne, rookie corner B.W. Webb made it onto the field with the starters – before Moore did.
Donte Rosario, TE –This is a guy that will stand out more to the coaches than fans and media. He didn't jump off the page in stats, but his versatility is always vital. He lines up in the backfield as an H-back and even as an occasional fullback as a lead blocker. Rosario also lined up in the slot a few times, too. It looks like the Cowboys will keep four tight ends and as of now, Rosario appears to have a good grip one of those spots.
George Selvie, DE– Well, he wasn't exactly Lawrence Taylor this time around. In fact, he didn't stand out much, but the Cowboys gave him an opportunity early, giving him the start opposite DeMarcus Ware. With the second group, Selvie showed some fatigue as the Raiders ran the ball down the field. He wasn't as effective this time around, but it was far from a setback considering how well he played last Sunday. Selvie is carving a spot for himself into the rotation.
Lance Dunbar, RB – Maybe Dunbar can – and should – get a greater and more expansive offensive workload this year. It's tough for a player of Dunbar's size not to be labeled as a change of pace back, but he's demonstrating that he may be more than that. He was an offensive asset throughout the second quarter, breaking off long runs off tackle and serving as a viable option on pass plays. He has a burst that separates him from the other backs have, and he doesn't need to take a toss play to prove it.
Ernie Sims, LB – Sims didn't get as many snaps as I thought he might in the second preseason game, but he seemed to be around the ball on the ones he got. He met the ball carrier near the line of scrimmage and showed some quickness. He didn't make any flashy plays during his time in the game, but he didn't do much to negatively change my opinion about his spot on this team.
Dwayne Harris - Was looking for a big game from Harris who opened the game in the Cowboys three wide packages in place of the injured Terrence Williams but once again, he was very quickly in the contest. Harris was not targeted in the game as Romo went in the direction of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin when he needed a play. It was Harris' teammate, Cole Beasley that had the bounce back game from last week. [embedded_ad]
Nick Hayden- When the first defense came onto the field, it was Hayden that lined up as the nose tackle replacing Sean Lissemore last week. Hayden showed some power at the point of attack and was active inside against the run. He was used on a twist stunt one rep and was able to generate some decent pressure. Will be interesting to see if the coaches keep him with the first defense or will they go back to Lissemore but Hayden was productive in this reps.