The Cowboys’ first preseason game is in the books after defeating the Miami Dolphins in the annual Hall of Fame Game by a score of 24-20. Obviously, the first preseason game is always going to look pretty rough, but there were definitely some positives as well, and I would rather focus on the positives.
Two of the biggest concerns voiced about this Cowboys team are how the offensive and defensive lines will be this season. Depth along the defensive line is a cause for concern. On the offensive line, Dallas added only first round draft pick Travis Frederick to a group that had a subpar season last year, leaving fans wondering how much improvement there would be in that area.
Sunday’s game did a lot in removing those worries. Two defensive linemen really stood out to me in the game against the Dolphins. Defensive end George Selvie is a no brainer with the dominant performance he put on against the Dolphins’ offensive line. The other player that stood out to me was defensive end Kyle Wilber.
Selvie, the most recent addition to the defensive line, impressed everyone with his performance Sunday night, recording two sacks and keeping constant pressure on the opposing quarterback. He probably had the most outstanding performance, and without a doubt will be able to step in as a good part of the defensive line rotation.
Wilber’s stats may not say much but time and time again he put pressure on the QB. He utilized a fast outside move to speed past the Dolphins’ tackles multiple times.
Monte Kiffin’s defensive scheme relies on the ability of four linemen to pressure the quarterback without the aid of blitzing linebackers. It is essential that Dallas has guys like Selvie and Wilber to fit in to the defensive rotation without giving up a good pass rush while Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer get some air.
Offensively, Frederick seemed in complete control at the center position, making all the line calls, very impressive stuff for a young center in his first NFL game. Frederick also got some work at the guard position where he played well. However, don’t expect Frederick to start at guard while Phil Costa starts at center. I just don’t see things playing out that way.
Perhaps the offensive line was motivated by Larry Allen’s induction to the pro football hall of fame the night before because they pushed Miami’s defensive line around all night. Running backs Joseph Randle, Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar combined for 151 rushing yards for the game.
Coach Bill Callahan went to the ground game consistently, and it was a relief to all Cowboys fans to watch. Demarco Murray did not even play, yet the Cowboys’ run game was one of the most positive points taken away from the first preseason game.