Preseason Week Two
For the second straight week, running back Keon Lattimore continued to impress. Though his numbers (9 carries, 33 yards) were modest, Lattimore ran decisively with quickness and power, making the most of his carries behind a second and third string offensive line.
Backup offensive tackle, Doug Free, had yet another solid game at left tackle. He was beaten once by a spin move, but Free again showed quick feet in mirroring defensive ends in pass protection, and good effort in staying active during running plays. Free looks to have developed into an adequate backup tackle should one of the starters go down.
Rookie wide receiver, Kevin Ogletree, may have gotten a leg-up on Isaiah Stanback for the fifth receiver spot. Ogletree caught everything thrown his way (3 rec., 37 yards, 1 TD) and looked silky smooth doing it, showing great quickness off the line to free himself up in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
No need to worry about the punting situation this year; Mat McBriar looks completely healed from his leg injury suffered last year. He launched six booming kicks and landed three inside the 20-yard line.
On the defensive side of the ball, Anthony Spencer continues to play rock solid run defense. If you’re worried about Spencer’s pass rushing efforts, you should be equally critical of DeMarcus Ware. Ware hasn’t sniffed the QB too much this preseason either.
However, head coach Wade Phillips doesn’t seem to think it’s much of an issue, as he noted the Cowboys haven’t run much exotic pass rush schemes thus far in the preseason.
Backup outside linebacker Steve Octavien made his presence felt in his first game of the preseason. Octavian registered two tackles, a pass deflection which led to an INT, and some bone crushing hits. Octavian’s chances of making the team improved with rookie linebacker, Brandon Williams, season-ending knee injury.
Though he’s probably not in danger of losing his place kicking duties, Nick Folk missed his second kick (49-yard attempt) in two preseason attempts. Probably not the kind of showing Folk or the Cowboys were hoping for after his off season hip surgery.
Starting cornerback Mike Jenkins struggled in coverage during his first preseason game of the year. Although neither ball was ultimately caught, Jenkins was beaten badly on two deep throws on the same drive. Jenkins also blew an apparent coverage assignment which led to an easy touchdown for Titan receiver Justin Gage.
It should be noted that Ken Hamlin appeared late in coming over the top after Jenkins passed off Gage to the safety.
Speaking of Ken Hamlin, the safety had a really rough game to say the least. Hamlin picked up where he left off last season by displaying very poor tackling technique throughout his time in the game, which led to extra yards for the ball carriers.
He also had an avoidable facemask penalty while trying to tackle Javon Ringer. The “quarterback” of the secondary should both do and know better.
Special team coverage units struggled a bit again this week. This continues to be an Achilles heel for the Cowboys. A combination of poor tackling and available lanes for returners to run through is always a bad combination.
Things you may have missed…
2:56 - First Qtr: Backup tight end, John Phillips, made a nice goal line block on MBIII’s TD run. On the play, he got leverage, turned his man out and sealed the edge. It’s these types of small things that make coaches take notice and want to find a place for you on the roster.
2:52 - First Qtr: During the ensuing kickoff (after the MBIII TD) to Javon Ringer, Bobby Carpenter inexplicably gets blocked off his feet while trying to fill his lane. It was this same lane that Ringer used to cut up through the traffic and onto his 51-yard return.
I’ve watched the play more than three times in normal and slow-motion and still can’t figure out what Carpenter was doing to allow himself to get knocked on his back.
5:31 - Second Qtr: Marc Colombo opened up a lane for Felix Jones with a great cut block after pulling to the right side of the line during a pitch which went for 11-yards.
10:34 - Third Qtr: Bobby Carpenter made a nice tackle (along w/K. Brooking) on Javon Ringer for no gain. On the play, Carpenter engaged the blocker and shed him at the right moment, strafing towards the line of scrimmage and eventually tackling Ringer.
9:43 - Third Qtr: Unbelievable. The second I think Carpenter is improving in terms of run defense, he goes back to his old bag of tricks. It’s almost unexplainable. On this run, Carpenter strafes through the line waiting on Ringer, Ringer shifts slightly to the right and Carpenter sits there and watches him go by, reacting only after Ringer runs past him instead of meeting him in the lane.
He either has some of the worst reactionary quickness I’ve ever seen, or he doesn’t want contact. I think the truth is found somewhere in between.
6:08 - Fourth Qtr: Backup tight end, Scott Chandler, helped facilitate a tip-ball drill in which 4th and Long star, Jesse Holley, came down with a pass that went off his helmet, into the arms of a Titans player, and back into his (Holley’s) hands.
After the ball went off Holley’s helmet, two Titans went up for the ball, Chandler put his hands on both players’ chests and floored them both onto their backs. The ball subsequently popped out and into Holley’s hands.