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Dallas-Oakland: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The Good:

    1) Tony Romo led an offense that could aptly be described as Marxist on his second and last drive of the game. Marion Barber carried the ball three times for 14 yards; Felix Jones broke a 14 yard run; Patrick Crayton picked up 12 on an end around; Romo hit Roy Williams, Martellus Bennett and Felix Jones before capping the nine-play, 71-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten.

    2) Sam Hurd was big, leading Dallas in receiving with 79 yards on five catches, all from Jon Kitna. Hurd has been having a pretty impressive preseason as a whole, and this was another step in his campaign to make an impact on the offense in 2009.

    3) Dallas held Oakland to a field goal after a huge (and really questionable) pass interference call on Gerald Sensabaugh, winning the first quarter 7-3.

    4) The newcomers looked good in their blue and silver debuts, Keith Brooking and Gerald Sensabaugh in particular. Brooking, replacing Zack Thomas at inside linebacker, recorded a sack. Sensabaugh deflected two passes and crushed an Oakland receiver on a long third-down pass attempt, separating receiver from ball and forcing the punt.

    5) None of this counts... At all.

    The Bad:

    1) The opening minutes--take your pick. Protection on the initial kickoff was garbage-can, leading to a poor return by Isaiah Stanback. This was followed by a quick three and out, which included a deflected pass from our old friend Greg Ellis and two ineffective running plays.

    2) Dallas allowed 456 total yards and four touchdowns to Oakland, and are now one of a select few teams that can say, "Boy, that Bruce Gradkowski really did a number on us."

    3) Eleven penalties for 109 yards. This seems like a controllable issue, and granted, it was the first live action of the year for these guys, but Dallas beat Oakland's total by two yards. Beating Oakland in penalization is like beating Kobayashi in a hot dog eating competition, and not just because it makes you want to go somewhere and vomit afterwards.

    4) Anthony Spencer is supposed to break out in a big way in 2009 opposite DeMarcus Ware, one of the league's preeminent pass rushers; or at least, so it would seem. As lamented in Jean Jacque Taylor's post this morning on the DMN Cowboys Blog, Spencer, recorded only one tackle, participating in"about twenty plays," and looking generally unimpressive.

    5) Ken Hamlin dropped an interception that hit his hands early in the first quarter. Call this nitpicky if you will, and the ball seemed to have gotten on Hamlin pretty quickly, but this was a facet of the game to which Dallas has been very vocally committed this offseason.

    The Ugly:

    1) The pass interefrence call that led to a field goal in the first quarter. This was a ball Sensabaugh played about perfectly, blanketing the receiver completely. Unless I missed one of the new rule changes, that was a badly blown and costly call.

    2) Kitna and Corey Procter have had a hard time throughout this offseason with the exchange, and the high, hard snap that shot over Kitna's head could've cost Dallas a touchdown, turning second and goal into a third and long.

    3) Anthony Spencer whiffing on JaMarcus Russell. Bad tackling is just a part of preseason, so chalk it up to it being mid-August perhaps. But Spencer's shoulders were squared, he seemed to be in good position before falling to the ground and swiping at nothing in particular as Russell strode downfield.

    4) The third quarter lasted somewhere between 8-14 hours, with flags flying in from every direction, and the clock seemingly stopping, after every play. It was a reminder that the referees are trying to shake the rust off as well. It was also a reminder of why watching third quarter preseason football can be downright torturous.

    5) Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Come on, Oakland. Get on our level.