The 2013 Hall of Fame Game is officially in the books and the NFL preseason is underway, as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins by a score of 24-20. While the game may not impact the regular-season standings, it's the first sign of football since the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, 2013.
So what did we learn from this year's contest?
Just over six months removed from our last sign of NFL action—182 days, to be exact—the Cowboys and Dolphins took center stage. Led by a well-balanced running attack, the Cowboys managed to pick up the early win and gain some form of bragging rights.
It may have been the preseason, but the first sight of football has us giddy.
The question is, what did we learn?
Dallas Has Promise at Running Back
For five seasons, the Cowboys committed to the irrational belief that Felix Jones would become their franchise running back. Despite the clear signs that he's a complementary player, Dallas consistently gave into the notion that he could carry its backfield.
With Jones out of the mix, the Cowboys now appear to value depth behind star DeMarco Murray.
Joseph Randle, Phillip Tanner, Lance Dunbar and Kendial Lawrence all contributed to a rushing attack that tallied 170 total yards. Randle went for 70 yards on 13 carries, Tanner picked up 59 and a touchdown on 10 rushes and Dunbar scampered for 22 yards on four touches.
Lawrence only ran for 14 yards on five attempts, but he also managed a touchdown.
Assuming Murray can stay healthy, which is a major question mark, some combination of those players could help the Cowboys offer Tony Romo the support he needs. Randle appears to be a lock, with Dunbar, Lawrence and Tanner likely competing for roster spots.
Regardless of how this group comes together, the Cowboys' running game appears to have some form of promise.
Dion Jordan Displays His Upside
With the third overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft, the Dolphins shocked everyone by drafting defensive end Dion Jordan. It's no secret that he has upside, standing at 6'6" and 260 pounds with elite athleticism, but it was unclear how his game would translate to the next level.
It may have been an exhibition game, but Jordan certainly displayed his ability in this one.
Jordan saw limited snaps, but when he was on the field, he displayed that explosive burst off of the edge. He made a pair of solo tackles, also getting a hit on the quarterback and proving that he is a step above the underwhelming.
That's an encouraging enough sign to suggest he deserves to play with the best.
Jordan must hone his skills before we can even attempt to say that he was worth the No. 3 overall selection. More importantly, he must put on impressive performances against the NFL's best offensive linemen and not the backups involved in a preseason affair.
With that being said, this was a step in the right direction and an encouraging sign for a player's first NFL experience.
George Selvie is a Monster
George Selvie was once the star of the USF Bulls defensive line, dominating the opposition before Jason Pierre-Paul became the superstar he is today. He was a two-time first-team All-American, registering 29 career sacks over four years, including 14.5 in 2007.
Now, the 2007 Big East Defensive Player of the Year is looking to prove that he belongs in the NFL.
Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas wrote an excellent piece about Selvie's instant impact at the Cowboys' training camp. After weighing two other contract offers, Selvie finally made a decision to commit to the Cowboys.
During his first game with the team, Selvie reminded us of why he was once viewed as the Big East's premier defensive lineman.
Selvie finished with three tackles and 2.0 sacks, becoming Twitter's favorite choice for player of the game. He had one of the most ferocious sacks we'll see all preseason, as you can see above.
Plain and simple, this man is a monster. That has some believing he'll make the Cowboys' final roster.
Two knee-jerk reactions but things I'd bet on: Ronald Leary will start at LG, and DE George Selvie will be on the Cowboys' 53-man roster.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 5, 2013
After watching his performance Sunday night, we're inclined to agree.