Dallas Cowboys vs Oakland Raiders: Evaluating Bruce Carter and Mackenzy Bernadeau


As all of the Dallas Cowboys players know, the preseason is a time for learning and developing as a player. It is a time when jobs are on the line. Huge amounts of money are at stake for the players in danger of being cut. Players highly touted coming out of college get to test their skills against NFL talent and try to live up to the hype. Veterans try to prove they are worth the roster spot their salary demands. For the Cowboys, there a lot of players I was interested in watching in live action. This article takes a careful look at a few of those players.

Bruce Carter

The 2011 second round pick had his first year in the league derailed by injuries, so no one has seen very much of him. For this game he played some SOLB (Strong Outside LineBacker) filling in for the injured Anthony Spencer. Here is how he fared [P = play, 11 = offensive personnel (the first number being the number of running backs on the field, the second being tight ends), 34 = defensive personnel (first number = defensive linemen, second is linebackers), no personnel indicated means same as last snap] :

P1: 21 vs 34. On a run to the strong side right ,Carter (lined up at SOLB) was initially engaged by the TE, who he almost drove back, until the FB completely knocked him out of the run’s way, which also left the FB free to block another defender.

P2: 11 vs 33. NIIP (Not Involved In Play). In a nickel package he was lined up at RILB.

P3: 21 vs 34. Run up the gut, Carter at SOLB, blocked out of play by the TE.

P4: Dropped into coverage, NIIP. Int.

P5: 21 vs 34 (essentially a 43 front with Ware standing up at the LDE position). Carter was at RILB, the run went left of center, the LT easily blocked him out of play.

P6: Same formations, but everything switched sides, so Carter was at LILB. Raiders run draw to the left. Carter was somewhat blocked by RT, but he was not in position to affect play at all.

P7: LILB. Play action pass to TE on hitch route, it appeared the TE was in Carter’s zone, not good awareness here.

P8: 20 vs 42. Carter at LILB, dropped into coverage, NIIP.

P9: 00 vs 42. Subbed for Connor.

P10: 21 vs 34 at SOLB. Dropped into coverage, NIIP.

P11: 11 vs 42 at LILB. Dropped, NIIP. Punt.

Subbed for Kyle Wilber as the second stringers come in.

Although it is a very small sample size, this was not an encouraging performance from Bruce Carter. In run defense he was manhandled, and the one target in to his coverage was completed easily. Hopefully he can improve on this next week.

Mackenzy Bernadeau

The FA guard out of Carolina comes as a relative unknown to most Cowboys fans. He was a 7th round pick in 2008, but he was inactive all of that year. Over the next three years he was active in all but one game and started a total of 20 games, with just one of those coming in 2011. His contract was for 11 million over 4 years and he will start at RG this year. He started this game at RG, here’s how he went:

P1: Run straight at Bernadeau, the C allowed penetration forcing the RB wide giving the LB that Bernadeau tried to block an easy angle around him.

P2: On a pass play he initially picked up the DLT but the DRT stunts behind the DLT which he then picked up.

P3: On a run left of center, Bernadeau helped with a double team on the DLT, then moved up to block a LB at which time the play is basically over.

P4: Shotgun pass, Bernadeau punched a blitzing LB wide as the ball was released.

P5: Shotgun pass, he carried the DLT outside then picked up the stunting DLE, Parnell called for false start.

P6: Engaged the DLT, then headed out to block for a screen left which Felix Jones dropped. Punt.

P7: Play action left, engaged DLT then let him go to stay in his zone.

P8: Pushed DLT right, then headed left for screen that never came.

P9: Bernadeau and Arkin double teamed the DLT on a draw to the right and shoved their man out of the plays way. Punt.

P10: Run off LG, initially helped RT double the DLT, then moved up to block SLB but didn’t get there in time. He had a minimal effect on play, but he never had much chance of blocking the LB.

P11: Pass play, he carried the DLT up the field and away from Romo.

P12: Shotgun pass, he got pushed back a decent amount by DLT but does recover well. Punt.

Subbed for second team RG Ronald Leary.

Overall, Bernadeau did very well against a talented Oakland front four. If he can continue to play this well, the Dallas Cowboys may have found a free agent bargain.

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