Dallas Cowboys Game Review: PG2 Standouts and Observations

Aug 19, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (98) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 19, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (98) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys took on the Miami Dolphins in their second preseason game of 2016. Here are the notes, observations and standouts.

The Dallas Cowboys laid a 41-14 whooping down on the Miami Dolphins this weekend. Though we all know the score matters little, it is indicative to how the players performed. And how individual players perform is exactly what preseason football is all about.

There were some clear standouts, both good and bad, from Friday night’s action. Let’s take a look at them now…

Dak Prescott. It seems almost sacrilege to not mention him first and foremost. Once again, Dak Prescott lit up the field with his reads and execution. He was following progressions and not afraid to deliver the ball deep. He added two rushing TDs to his two passing TDs becoming a nearly unstoppable force in this offense. More on Dak Prescott tomorrow.

Terrell McClain looked great from the start. He had an explosive first step and was often the first man off the ball. For as troubled as the Dallas Cowboys look at end, they are pretty well situated in the interior defensive line.

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  • It was relieving to see Tyrone Crawford collect a sack. He is the only somewhat proven non-suspended pass-rusher on this team and he will be relied on to be a force in the middle throughout the season. His feet and hands are quick and he can toggle between “power” and “finesse” at will. Sustained energy will be key for him so a priority must be placed on getting in better shape these next last two weeks.
  • Rod Marinelli had the Dallas Cowboys defensive line stunting right out of the gate. Marinelli has long been a fan of this tactic because it can expose lesser experienced O-lines. The Cowboys ran a variety of stunts on Friday and without a proven pass-rusher leading the way, expect to see more stunting this season than ever before.

    Byron Jones had a good game but he’s going to have to handle physical TEs better at the line. On the goal line, Miami TE Jordan Cameron simply pushed Jones aside to get open and potentially catch an easy and uncontested TD. Cameron ended up dropping an otherwise easy ball but that doesn’t absolve Jones from his mistake.

    Speaking of drops, Miami had two easy TD balls dropped in the endzone on Friday. The Dallas Cowboys secondary looked solid on the day, but not as solid as the stats may indicate.

    Gavin Escobar played well as a pass-protector. Obviously, he was drafted for his receiving ability but it’s worth mentioning that he’s developing (slowly) at the other parts of his game. With James Hanna lost for an undetermined amount of time, the Cowboys will certainly be leaning on Escobar and Geoff Swaim to hold down the fort.

    Jack Crawford is a good option at DE because of his pass-rushing ability, but he’s a liability at DT because of his struggles against the run. He’s improved over last season but he’s still not strong enough to play inside. #KeepJackOutside

    Ryan Russell is showing great explosion around the edge. Good things are in store for him this season.

    Related Story: Ryan Russell's Development

    • J.J. Wilcox is not going to make this team.
    • Lucky Whitehead is a personal favorite because of his versatility and playmaking ability but he’s a sloppy route runner who nearly gave the Dolphins an interception. If Lucky can improve in this area he could be a huge part of the Dallas Cowboys offense.
    • 10 penalties for 100 yards in the first half. That can’t happen in the regular season.
    • Kyle Wilber is one of the most underappreciated players on the defense. He’s a good SAM as well as a  serviceable DE. On Friday, Wilber collected 1 (almost 2) sacks, a batted pass, and a stop for a five yard loss, all from lining up on the line of scrimmage.
    • Shaneil Jenkins may have just made the team. He has power and excellent change of direction. I really want to see him play with the starters to see how he holds up because things look easy for him against the second unit.

    Next: How Good is Barry Church?

    That’s all for now, stay tuned for our Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster projection as well as a deeper look into Dak Prescott and the defensive line rotation.