This response to the Cowboy's vs. Raider's game is a little late because my son was sick the Friday following the game up until Monday of this week. Better late than never…
Call it ESP(N),but I had a premonition about Thursday night, as noted a few articles down in” Expect the worse when the Cowboy's meet the Raider's tonight.” I prepared myself for the worse in view of one concept that I think tend's to be overlooked by the average fan: An offensive or defensive unit is only as strong as it's weakest member. If you consider the “youth movement” that has absorbed the majority of the attention concerning the Cowboy's, there are quite a few player's out there still learning their positions, which mean's regardless of how fast they can run the 40, their mental speed is still going to be relatively slow.
Here are just a few quick observation's from the glass half-full perspective:
1: In an effort to keep this team healthy, Wade has prohibited tackling throughout training camp. Therefore, missed tackles are going to happen at this stage in the process.
2: Newman, Jenkins and Hawkins were all hurt, which represent the 1st, 2nd/3rd, and 4th Corner's on the depth chart. Hawkins was recently cut, so the Cowboy's are placing quite a bit of faith in Mickens and Brown to turn the corner, so-to-speak.
3: Should a 2nd teamer be forced into action in the regular season, he'll be surrounded by 1st teamer's, not more 2nd teamer's. That's a huge difference to consider.
4: If anything, the Raider's are fast. Al Davis covet's speed over all attributes a player can have. Judging angles on a team filled with speedster is not typically an ability younger defensive player's playing in a new position are going to do well at this point.
5: I'd prefer my rookies to be overly-aggressive in the preseason than invisible. Victor Butler, despite his many instances of over-pursuit, still looked decent for a player in a stand up role vs. his three-down technique in college.
6: Play calling is generally extremely vanilla during the pre-season. I'm sure many of you may have noticed the running game being relied on quite a bit, especially in the closing minutes of the game. If anything, that should have served as a reminder that the coaching staff was not trying to win the game.
7: How about that starting unit? Granted, the first series wasn't pretty for either unit, defense or offense. But the offense made up for it with their second chance, moving down the field, Romo getting the ball into the hand's of a variety of different weapons to score and take the lead. Despite a few debilitating penalties, the starting defensive unit was able to limit the Raider's to a field goal, and that being very short-handed in the secondary. As previously stated, it's too early to judge the second and third unit's considering the youth; but if they are still a turnstile come the fourth game of preseason, concerns will be warranted.