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"Grading the 'Boys": Preseason Week Three, Cowboys vs. Chargers | The DC Times

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“Grading the ‘Boys”: Preseason Week Three, Cowboys vs. Chargers

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Jonathan Bales

I’ve done a lot of analysis of the Cowboys/Chargers game (what to watch, DOs and DON’Ts, initial post-game notes, what we learned, final film study observations, and so on).  The Cowboys really played quite awfully, although there were some good signs (the offense scored a red zone touchdown and Sean Lee showed flashes of play-making ability, for example).

Today, I will grade the players.  In my first two “Grading the ‘Boys” segments, I explained that it would be impossible for me to study every player as closely as I deem necessary for grading.  Instead, I watch a select group of players in great detail and report back to you on their performance.

WR Miles Austin: A

He and Romo have the potential to be unstoppable on those back-shoulder fades.

FS Alan Ball: A-

Not sure if I mentioned this, but Ball looks much better tackling this season; brought down Darren Sproles in open field and looked solid elsewhere

RB Marion Barber: C

Barber’s first preseason grade; don’t see the added explosion and burst others are raving over

TE Martellus Bennett: B+

Showed why the Cowboys drafted him with freaky athleticism; always a great blocker; committed one false start; may have gotten “A-” if not for horrid post-touchdown dance

OT Robert Brewster: B+

Shocking performance; did receive some help from tight ends/running backs, but technique was much improved; one false start

LG Travis Bright: C

Just not seeing the same level of dominance from Bright as from Costa

S Barry Church: B+

He’s an “in-the-box” guy, but his tackling ability really stood out; if he can show adequate range, he’s got a shot

G/C Phil Costa: A-

Very impressive film; versatility will grab him a roster spot

RB Herb Donaldson: D-

Hesitant on runs and dances in hole; poor receiver

CB Cletis Gordon: A

Underestimated this guy; tremendous technique and coverage ability; displayed athleticism and ball skills on one-handed interception; also an emergency return man; will likely be Dallas’ fourth cornerback

FB Chris Gronkowski: D

Just can’t see how Cowboys will keep him on 53-man roster; loses balance and lunges at defenders; light years behind Deon Anderson

DE Jason Hatcher: B

Nothing extraordinary, but playing well this preseason against both pass and run; could unseat Spears for starting gig

LG Montrae Holland: A-

Really nice job in both run game and pass protection; showed good balance and is a “scrapper” inside

WR Sam Hurd: B

Stepped up with roster spot in question; probably more potential as a receiver than Jesse Holley

CB Mike Jenkins: C

Nothing to worry about, but got beat a few times inside; showed poor technique by losing leverage, missing on press

QB Jon Kitna: B

Others hate, but I am comfortable with Kitna as backup; has checked out of four plays this preseason, all with good results

LB Sean Lee: B-

Up-and-down night; lost track of ball a few times early (two run plays and a screen that I noticed), but responded well and made some tremendous plays to close out game

S Danny McCray: C-

Still not as impressed with this guy as others; blew assignment in third quarter to yield huge play; special teams ability could save him, but I prefer Church

RG Pat McQuistan: F


FS Akwasi Owusu-Ansah: C+

Hesitant on kickoff returns but showed burst and decisiveness on punt return; no obvious mental errors

QB Tony Romo: C-

By my count, was off-target on four of 11 passes; analysis of 2009 off-target passes shows he’s missed about twice as many this preseason; also made poor decision on interception

NT Junior Siavii:  B

Arrival of Josh Brent has lit fire under Siavii; would be nice to see him improve in pass rush

RT Sam Young:  D-

Really poor game after solid outings earlier; yielded only sack of game and got beat other times due to poor technique and lack of quickness; lined up off of line of scrimmage twice in period of a few plays

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4 Responses to “Grading the ‘Boys”: Preseason Week Three, Cowboys vs. Chargers

  1. john coleman says:

    Barber looks the same. I see no new burst. Hurd looked good and needs more chances with the 1st team. Marty showed up BIG. Good for him! Brewster was the biggest surprise of the year so far. I was expecting Young to outplay him. Check the move to OG for now. If tackle doesn’t work out he could be a beast inside. Young looked like a McQuistan and I was looking for a young Columbo. Bright has lead feet. Costa continues to impress me. I thought he might because of his college versatility and athleticism/strength. Church looks good. His coverage skills/speed is the only thing. I personally like McCray better longterm. He made a bad rookie mistake. Give Gordon props for not throwing him under the bus. Our GM and staff look pretty good to me right now. A lot of people are screaming Superbowl and it could happen. I’m far more excited about the fact that we look to be a good team for a while. What did you think of Lissemore? I think that was his 1st game action. I thought he held his ground. He may have even deserved some credit for the play Lee made at the end of the game. I don’t think he has a chance, but if we can keep him he might be a force next year. That’s what I mean about this team. If we can get a couple of these guys to the practice squad, coupled with the new additions to the roster, I see good times. It could be like a mini draft from the practice squad. Some of the newbies might make veteran trades possible before the draft next year. More picks. I know I’m way ahead here but as a longtime fan it’s like 92 again.

  2. moses says:

    The thing I did not like about Akwasi is that he lost the ball twice during punt returns. Lots of talent and potential but he has to take care of the rock!

    Looks like they need to get rid of McQuistan sooner than later and see if there are any other G that could be groomed

  3. John–I don’t think Lissemore has any shot at the 53, but I do think they’ll be able to get him on the practice squad. There are surely going to be a lot of players signed by other teams, but our PS should still be loaded. Guys like Lissemore, Teddy Williams, and McCray, perhaps.

  4. Moses…they were kick returns, but agreed. He needs to get used to the hits he will take in the NFL as compared to IUP.

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