4 Downs: Cowboys Raiders takeaways

I know it’s late but here are some things I noticed in the Cowboys second preseason game against the Raiders.

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1. Romo to Dez in midseason form
The Romo to Bryant connection looked like a well oiled machine. Timing and chemistry between the two was strong. If the Cowboys can keep Romo clean, these two should have strong years.

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2. 1st team defense strong showing
Dallas is transitioning from a 3-4 to a Tampa-2 based 4-3. Initially the switch gave me pause. I was mildly (it is the preseason, of course) impressed with how the defense swarmed Matt Flynn and created havoc. Rod Marinelli may be an underrated but key cog to Monte Kiffin’s Tampa-2 scheme.

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3. Zone read issues?

In the same breath, Terrell Pryor gashed the Cowboys D with read option plays. Oddly enough, rumors floated around that Jerry Jones hired Kiffin because of how his scheme slowed a young Michael Vick. While the read-option was a new wrinkle for the Raiders and Monte did little to no game planning, I would watch how Dallas defends these plays and see if there is any improvement.

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4. Return on small investments

Jerry Jones’ motto this offseason probably was “Keep it simple, Stupid”. They want to protect Romo (and invested their top pick to do it) and they want to simplify things on both sides of the ball. So far, everything seems to be running smoothly. There have been reports that the Cowboys want Tony Romo to have the play with time to spare so he can make checks at the line. Rob Ryan’s defense was thought to make defenders think rather than play (thinking meaning play slow), so in comes Monte Kiffin. Garrett no longer calls plays to focus on the team as a whole, manage time, and make situational calls. So far, Jerry Jones plan seems to be coming together.

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