The Cowboys are sputtering along the preseason again. The return of Ro McClain won't help until Week 5. The special teams are a huge question mark and no on is 100% who the starting running back will be. Here's the latest from Dallas.
Well, it looks like Ro McClain is finally ready to practice. McClain has missed the entire Cowboys offseason after having mid-summer knee surgery to clean up some inflammation. Scheduled to miss the first four games of the season due to a fourth failed drug test, there was some talk that McClain would remain on PUP and miss the first six weeks of the season (five games). Now, he should be on schedule to mak his 2015 debut in Week Five alongside Greg Hardy, against the defending champion New England Patriots. The Cowboys have yet to name who will start at MLB for McClain, but FA Andrew Gachkar and second-year man Anthony Hitchens are the leading candidates.
Mark Lane shuts down any talk of the Cowboys being interested in Fred Jackson, who was released by the Buffalo Bills today. Of not here, is Fish catching on to the Cowboys saying they probably aren’t shopping the cuts for a RB or CB, but they will be searching for wideout and offensive line help, as we hinted in our 53 man roster projections last week.
The Cowboys said goodbye to five players, a day before they have to be down to 75 players. Two of the players were around just to give rest to the starters, long snsapper Casey Kreiter and punter Tom Hornsey. Also released were CB Robert Steeples, DT Carlif Taylor and WR Phil Bates. This brings Dallas’ count down to 84, meaning they will have 9 more cuts to go before 4pm eastern time on Tuesday.
After giving Dallas credit for fortifying their biggest weakness last year, Greg Rosenthal makes a very strange comparison in justifying his belief the Cowboys will miss the playoffs.Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar combine to form one of the worst backfields this side of New England. McFadden has overcome some early training camp injuries, but this is not a reliable group. DeMarco Murray helped make the Cowboys a historically efficient offense last year, and a decline in the running game now looks inevitable. Tony Romo is going to have to throw more.
So, Dallas has the best offensive line in football, yet the comparison you make is to the running back committee… that just won the Super Bowl? Sign me up for that kind of bad rotation.
After letting Corey White set the pace in the first two preseason games, the Cowboys projected starters showed their worth. After giving up a big play on a 39 yard pass to Mike Wallance, Brandon Carr bounced back and corralled Dallas’ first interception of the preseason. Mo Claiborne, appearing in just his third career preseason game, forced an offensive PI to keep him from picking off a play. Pass rush and secondary play go hand in hand…
Before turning your attention to the coming cuts, let Jordan Ross remind you of what transpired in the game against the Vikings. From the pass defense to the stout run defense, to the Lucky Whitehead’s weird night and fight, to the always talked about running back competition… Jordan got the goods..
Bob Sturm checks in with a healthy dose of “not so fast my friend”. He warns that the Cowboys multi-year history of having no run game might be a better position to operate from than “nobody could stop the run in 2014” standing. More importantly, to me, Sturm takes on the Cowboys special teams. I’ve told fans to remain calm, but when the exact kick coverage team the club plans to send out there opening night gives up a return touchdown, it’s time for concern.Is this the year that Cowboys’ fans put Special Teams Coach Rich Bisaccia in the crosshairs? Well, 2 weeks in a row of special teams disasters is not helping things. You can imagine after those issues in San Francisco that special teams was emphasized all week long on the practice field. The guys were scolded, they returned to basics, they used time and reps to sort things out and the point was made that we better see better on Saturday Night against the Vikings. So, when Cordarrelle Patterson motored 107 yards for a rather easy-looking touchdown on Saturday against what sure appeared to be the #1 kickoff cover team, I can only guess that Jason Garrett and Bisaccia had a moment to compare notes again. This is absolutely the type of thing to turn a great season into a good one, or lose a division title or home field advantage
O.C.C. take a look at the Cowboys defensive snaps from the dress rehearsal, and a key to how deep the team has become. The most interesting tidbit, by my account, is this one: The Cowboys lined up with four nominal defensive ends (Lawrence, Hardy, Mincey, Gregory) two times, one of which resulted in a delay of game penalty against the Vikings, the other in Brandon Carr's interception. They lined up four times with three nominal defensive ends (three times with Lawrence, T. Crawford, Hardy, Gregory; once with Hardy, T. Crawford, Mincey, Gregory).
Head on over and check out the myriad of things the man we call “The Goog” dissected from the performance.
A new Cowboys-centric site has arrived, and Cowboys Crunchtime Podcast co-host Patrik Walker checks in with his series looking forward to the 2015 regular season. In this edition, he predicts a shootout with the New Orleans Saints, something Cowboys fans have had more than their share of the past decade or so.