There were many things that we learned from the 60 minutes of the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night.
First of all, we learned that the Cowboys’ are noticeably deep at running back. The current starter is DeMarco Murray, who did not see any action in the preseason opener versus Miami. However, the backs that did get fed the ball, were quite productive with it.
Tailbacks Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner, Joseph Randle, and Kendial Lawrence all saw action Sunday, totaling 32 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Phillip Tanner, the fourth-year back out of Middle Tennessee State, is the favorite to start second string behind Murray, while Dunbar, Randle, and Lawrence fight for third.
If there is one rising star on the ‘Boys o-line, it’s rookie center Travis Frederick. Ever since camp began, Dallas coaches has been working to improve Frederick’s blocking skills, and by his performance last night he proved he was well worth the franchise’s first-round draft pick. The rest of the line is highlighted by tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free, and recently acquired guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings, players with very good NFL reputations.
But you see, all this means absolutely nothing.
Why? Well, because for almost the past decade the franchise has consistently relied on the right arm of one man for their success: Tony Romo.
The good? In 2012, Romo threw a career-best 4,903 yards, combined with a solid 28 TD’s. According to the quarterback, the team has worked harder this offseason than he has ever seen them work, and Romo has even agreed to step up into play-calling roles to further improve his team.
The bad? The 36 year-old leader of the Cowboys’ offense threw 19 interceptions and was sacked 36 times as well in 2012, tying his career worst in both categories. In all honestly, the seven-year starter slightly regressed last season, as the squad missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record for the third straight year.
It is obvious that Dallas has a quarterback with all the tools necessary to become an elite signal-caller in the NFL, but until he breaks out of his shell he will be looked at as just an above average player.
Tony Romo will likely make his debut Friday night against the Raiders in Oakland, so look for him to shine with the rest of the starters. Starting receivers Dez Bryant and Austin Miles and tight end Jason Witten will also receive their first playing time of the new year, and the expectations should be set high on the starting offense for production throughout the 2013 season.
If the Dallas Cowboys can works out the kinks on offense, as well as maintaining to force turnovers on D, then the squad will have a breakout year and most certainly make the playoffs.