For the first time in 2011, the Dallas Cowboys staff and their fans got an extended look at most of the first team offense and defense in Week 2 of the NFL's preseason on Sunday night. As expected, Dallas showed some good, some bad and some ugly throughout the game.
Tony Romo was 8/12 for 58 yards with a touchdown and interception both mixed in. The numbers aren't outstanding, but Romo looked alright. He easily could and should have been 10/12 thanks to two pretty painful drops - one by Dez Bryant and the other by Martellus Bennett.
Romo's interception, though, was brutal. Not only was Romo throwing into double coverage to try to get the ball to Kevin Olgetree, the pass was severely underthrown, making for a pretty easy interception for Eric Weddle. Aside from that, though, Romo looked alright - and his touchdown pass to Jason Witten coming on a broken play was excellent.
The aforementioned drops simply can't happen when the regular season starts up on September 11th in New York against the Jets. The Cowboys simply aren't good enough to drop third down and touchdown passes and get away with it. Dez Bryant's drop on 3rd and 6 on Dallas' opening possession is inexcusable. Romo's pass was right where it should be, Bryant was right where he should be - he just didn't execute the easiest part of the play. Bennett's drop would have led to an easy touchdown, but Dallas scored on the next play to bail Bennett out.
Felix Jones looked great. He carried the ball seven times for 56 yards, with 22 yard rush serving as his longest of the night. Watching Jones last night compared to Barber last year is like night and day. Jerry Jones may very well be correct that Felix is poised to have a big season and that he'll become a top-notch back this season. Jones showed both quickness and power and certainly has the ability to turn a good Cowboys offense into a great one - if he can remain healthy.
Defensively, it's important to remember that both Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins were inactive for the Cowboys last night. Still, the secondary is clearly going to be the weak point of this team. All three of San Diego's quarterbacks combined to go 20/28 last night with one touchdown pass to their credit.
Dallas did force an impressive three and out on the very first possession of the game, but that was almost immediately negated in my book after allowing an easy 30 yard completion to Vincent Jackson on San Diego's next possession. Rob Ryan is going to have to find ways to consistently pressure the opposing quarterback to aid the secondary if the Cowboys are going to be a playoff team this season.
As for Stephen McGee, who Cris Collinsworth was seemingly in love with last night, he looked adequate. McGee wasn't fantastic, going 16/29 for 157 yards, but he wasn't awful either. There's not a ton to get excited about with McGee, but he's certainly showing that he can be a capable backup in the NFL - and that's plenty valuable in itself.
The Cowboys head to Minnesota to take on familiar foe Donovan McNabb and the Vikings on Saturday in Week 3 of the preseason - so this game should be the final look at all the starters before September 11 in New Jersey.