The first exhibition for the Dallas Cowboys ultimately ended in a 16-7 victory, but the win did not come without sloppy play by both sides. One the Cowboys first drive, running back Felix Jones carelessly fumbled into the end zone. Luckily for the Cowboys, the play was called back due to an offsides call on Cincinnati, who was penalized a total of 12 times. Overall, the game ended with five turnovers, four by Cincinnati and one by Dallas.
The Cowboys starters played one series and showed signs of a dangerous passing threat. Tony Romo was 5-of-10 for 59 yards, including strikes to Roy Williams for 21 yards and Miles Austin for 16 yards. The Cowboys frontline on defense kept the pressure up on the Bengals' quarterbacks all night totaling 4 sacks; and as a unit, Dallas held their opponents to 179 yards. Once the starters returned to the sidelines, lackluster offense ensued. Dallas went 0-for-3 in the red zone and gave up five sacks. Third down was no friend of the Cowboys as they went 5-for-17 with a 29% efficiency rating.
Now Dallas prepares for its Thursday, August, 12th match up with the Oakland Raiders at 8 p.m. The Raiders finished last season with a dismal 5-11 record. They were near the bottom of the league in many statistical categories, despite having the 7th ranked pass defense. The Raiders, however, did improve this off season with the addition of former Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell. Oakland also reinforced its defense with draft picks Rolando McClain, linebacker from Alabama, and former Texas Longhorn Lamarr Houston on the defensive line.
For Dallas, the starters will likely see a little more playing time. However they will still be limited to just a few series. The Cowboys will still be without first-round pick Dez Bryant, but as long as Austin and Williams can continue to be threats downfield, Bryant will be able to return to the lineup under the radar which could be deadly for the Cowboys come September.
Cowboys Groom Bennett / John Phillips Update
The Cowboys continue to groom tight end Martellus Bennett to act as another threat aside from Jason Witten at the position. Many critics say Bennett is an underachiever and will likely continue to under achieve. Bennett was held to just 159 yards on 15 receptions last season. John Phillips was looking like a contender for Bennett's position. In the preseason opener Phillips snagged four receptions for 60 yards against the Bengals after amassing just 62 yards all last season. MRI reports confirmed that Phillips tore his ACL and he is out for the season.
Key Matchups: Left Tackle Doug Free V. Defensive End Matt Shaughnessy
For the brief period that the Cowboys starters are end, keep an eye on the man responsible for protecting Tony Romo's blind side, Doug Free. Free came onto the scene last year and has proven to be a guy who hustles on every play. He had a few excellent blocks on the Bengals defensive line, exploding out of his stance and being the guy who wins the battle in the trenches. Shaughnessy is a young talent in his second year out of Wisconsin. He's coming off a four-sack season and is looking to improve on his two-tackle total against Dallas last season.
Check out the Cowboys Practice Before Walking to the Rangers Game
The Cowboys will hold an open-to-the-public practice Tuesday, August 12th. Entrance is free, however there will be a $10 dollar parking fee. This comes on the same night that the Texas Rangers host the New York Yankees at the Ballpark in Arlington, just a short walk from Cowboys Stadium. Fans attending the game can check out the Cowboys practice which is scheduled to end before the first pitch and fans can leave their cars, and walk to the Rangers game. Practice starts at 5:30 p.m. and promises to be the beginning of an entertaining sports night.
The carousal at kicker has continued for a few seasons now, but the Cowboys feel they have a keeper in David Buehler, who is in his second season out of USC. Buehler converted on his only extra point attempt and was 3-for-4 on field goals -- converting from 20, 23 and 34 yards. Buehler's only miss came from 49 yards.
Dallas vs. Oakland
Thursday, August 12 at 8 p.m.