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cowboys preseason grades | The DC Times

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

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

Next.

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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“Grading the ‘Boys”: Preseason Week Two, Cowboys vs. Raiders

Jonathan Bales

My film study of the Oakland game is complete.  Thus far, I have posted my initial game reactions, things we learned from the contest, and final film study observations.

In my first “Grading the ‘Boys” from the Bengals game, 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

Made a highlight catch and even got action on an end-around

NT Josh Brent: A-

Motor is second to none; I personally guarantee he makes this team

OT Robert Brewster: D-

Yielded another sack and looks over-matched at both left and right tackle

OG Travis Bright: D

Play must make Dallas extremely nervous about backup guard situation

LB Keith Brooking: A-

Lined up on tight end Zach Miller out wide and blanketed him

K David Buehler: A+

Looked sensational on field goals and kickoffs; struck the ball really well on all kicks

OLB Victor Butler: B

A small dip in production from Cincy game, but still solid outing

RT Marc Colombo: F

Gave up two sacks and didn’t dominate in run game

RB Herb Donaldson: C

Didn’t do much “wrong,” but lacks explosiveness

TE DajLeon Farr: B

Signed two days prior to game and no noticeable mental errors

LT Doug Free: C

Let Jon Kitna get sacked (although Kitna could have stepped up); must be more consistent

DE Jason Hatcher: B+

Really nice game after Stephen Bowen stood out against the Bengals

WR Jesse Holley: B

Stood out on special teams; always near the ball-carrier

LB Bradie James: A

All over the field, particularly against the pass

WR Manuel Johnson: D

Dropped pass led to pick-six in crucial situation

QB Jon Kitna: B

Getting flack, but did a fine job; made great audible to hit Sam Hurd on 32-yard pass

P Mat McBriar: A

So under-appreciated

CB Bryan McCann: B

Still shows poor technique at times, but looks natural in coverage; solid job on returns

QB Stephen McGee: C-

Leaves pocket too early; fails to hit check down in time; looks to be “thinking” too much

WR Kevin Ogletree: D

Two drops and poor field awareness once again

QB Tony Romo: C

Poor outing for Romo; held onto ball too long and missed a few open receivers

CB Orlando Scandrick: A

Has been Cowboys’ best cornerback through two games

NT Junior Siavii: B+

Showed toughness and plays the run nicely

CB Jamar Wall: C-

Can only play certain routes well; no way he makes 53-man roster in my opinion

LB Jason Williams: B+

Ironically flourishing in run support, but played pass better than Week One

LB Leon Williams: B+

Outplaying Steve Octavien and Curtis Johnson right now for roster spot

WR Roy Williams: C

Blanketed all night, but did face Nnamdi Asomugha