Forget the score, what I wanted to see is how the first teamers would do in their time on the field. If tonight’s game is a dress rehearsal and a sneak peek of things to come, then I’m nearly satisfied, not completely, but almost.

First things first….do we need to redo Marion Barber’s contract already? I mean, this guy is the real deal, and is playing in Pro Bowl form already, give him a raise, lol. Just kidding, but c’mon, Barber is the man. Wow. Let’s take a look at what stuck out in this game.

Special Teams is Done

Alright, let’s get the negative portion of this game out of the way. There’s just no way to sugar coat this, and there’s no one that is going to convince me otherwise, but we need a change on special teams. Bruce Read is not getting these guys ready, they are not taking his coaching or something. There is something wrong here. Too many inconsistencies, and this will be a liability. The opening play of the game was a huge return into Cowboys territory. Kickoffs are so inconsistent it would almost be better to try onside kicking it. Wade, make a change please. I could see your frustrations from here.

Isaiah Stanback had some good returns, and looks to be the guy to win out the kick return spot. He needs to work on holding the ball, I knew he would put the ball on the ground with that one arm cradle – bit him in the butt tonight. Unfortunately, Stanback injured his left shoulder tonight, the severity of the injury is not known at this time, he is scheduled to have an MRI tomorrow. One of Stanback’s knocks has been his durability in college and in the pros its the same. I was just now beginning to see some value in this pick, but if he’s injured again that’s not good.

First Team Offense

These guys were firing on all cylinders. The Cowboys established dominance on the line of scrimmage and manhandled the Texans’ defensive lineman. Barber, Romo, Crayton, Owens, Hurd, Witten, O-line, everyone looked pretty good and this is exactly what we needed to see. If Crayton can play like this every game, then we’re going to do well at WR. Good job all around, any concerns or worries about the first teamers this preseason should be silenced now. With the exception of Romo’s poor decision for an INT, Romo looked really good out there. This will be it for the starters, some may not get much playing time at all in the final preseason game.

First Team Defense

DeMarcus Ware was bringing the pressure all half and it effected Matt Schaub. Schaub made some bad throws, as a result of the pressure frome Ware and the rest of the starting defense. Adam Jones did a good job out there, he pretty much shutdown Andre Johnson. The pressure upfront made a real difference in the secondary coverages, this is what we’re going to need going into the season as well. We were able to slow down the Texans without Newman, so when the season comes around, we’re going to be stacked in the secondary with Newman, Henry, Jones, Jenkins, and Scandrick. The rookies are going to be good players for us, they play with confidence and are ready to contribute. The only strike I would give the defense are the “let downs” after we take a lead in the game or after a mistake by our offense. If you haven’t noticed you’ll see the defense become complacent after we take a somewhat comfortable lead, and then they let the opposing offense back in game. The Cowboys were set to go up 17-3, until Romo threw the INT in the endzone, the defense then gave up 80 yards for a TD without much resistance.

Martellus Bennett

I have to hand it to the rookie, he’s made some plays when he’s caught the ball, he’s been hard to take down after the catch on several instances, not too bad. He get’s some love from the fans tonight for the second straight preseason game. Keep making plays.

Brad Johnson took over in the 2nd half and had another solid outing in the passing game 9/13 for 107 yards. You can pretty much forget about us dumping Johnson for another QB. I don’t think there’s an urgency like we had once believed there to be. Of course, I’d like an upgrade here, but its not looking like it will happen this year at least.
Felix Jones had a strange night, he never got going, and had a fumble. I thought we would see Jones out with the first teamers tonight, but I think we’ll see that next game, I dont see Barber playing much at all next game, so this could give us a better look at Jones with the first team offensive line. I’m not concerned about this at all, I just want to see how much damage Jones and Barber are going to do together with the first team o-line.

Orland Scandrick could be a steal in the 5th round, he’s looking pretty good out there in the nickel and dime packages, he can play. Scandrick has been an instant upgrade in the package formations.

Bobby Carpenter looks average to me out there, he just doesn’t seem to attack much at all, I think he’s still stuck in the Parcells’ read and react approach, or maybe he’s succumbed to the backup role and peaked, he’s a good backup. Yes he had several tackles, but he played most of the game, so the stats don’t sell me; moreover, he definitely hasn’t done anything to make us remember his play.

Fundamentals

Two dumb turnovers by Stanback and Jones resulted in scoring drives by the Texans, they need to cover up the ball. One thing I have noticed is that Bennett is actually doing well in this arena. I think Garrett has coached him well in covering up the ball once defenders come at him, he’s been covering the ball with both hands. Stanback has a bad habit like Patrick Crayton, they run around all crazy with their arms out in the open cradling the ball with one arm out in the open, easy to knock that ball out. These are fundamentals, that need to be fixed. Same for Jones, he shouldn’t have fumbled that ball, but it was the same deal with him.

Concerns

Special teams, special teams, special teams. Wade, Jerry, I think enough is enough, make a change here please. If anything, we can only get better with a coaching change, I don’t see how we could play any worse on special teams at this point. Phillips is a smart guy, I can’t see how we could go into the season with this liability in place.