The Cowboys’ 12-7 preseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals was basically the “anti” Hall of Fame Game in which Dallas protected and ran the ball. Here are some of my observations…
- I like watching Barry Church play in the box. He doesn’t have elite measurables outside of the 4.17 short shuttle he ran, but that’s really quick at his size. You can see that quickness when he’s playing in short areas, where I think he belongs as a safety.
- I can’t tell you how bullish I am on DeMarco Murray this year. I’ve talked about why I usually don’t buy into the ‘injury prone’ label, and I’ve raised his projection twice already in the offseason.
- Orlando Scandrick has been the best player on defense this year, including both practices and games. I actually gave him my highest grade in 2012 because he had an extremely underrated season, allowing just a 51.3 percent completion rate, 5.72 YPA, and no touchdowns.
- I hope Lance Dunbar’s fumble doesn’t hurt him in becoming the No. 2 running back. He’s so much better than Joseph Randle it isn’t even funny.
- After George Selvie’s breakout against the Dolphins, I wrote an article explaining why I think he’s the real deal. One of the reasons is that he has massive 34.5-inch arms, which is really important for pass-rushers. He looked excellent again against Arizona, recording a sack and numerous pressures.
- The Cowboys aren’t going to be one of the league’s better defenses against the run, but I think that’s okay given the play-makers they have. The DeVonte Holloman interception is an example of what you get when you go small at linebacker. The price—slightly worse run defense—is worth it.
- I’m not really sure if Kyle Orton can be counted on as the backup quarterback. His arm is really weak and he’s making poor decisions. It would be nice to have a backup who can win a handful of games in the event of a Tony Romo injury, but I no longer think Orton is one of the league’s better No. 2 passers.
- We see the Cowboys returners bring the ball out of the end zone quite a bit, even deep. I used to cringe when I saw that, but I think they’re justified in doing it. I did a study on kickoff returns last year that showed return men should basically bring the ball out on almost every kickoff.
Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.