The 2013 NFL season is (sort of) underway, with Sunday night's Hall of Fame Game marking the first bout of televised NFL football since February's Super Bowl. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Miami Dolphins, 24-20, in a game of rusty football that was football nonetheless. For the Cowboys, there were several positives to take away, though none bigger perhaps than the solid performance of Monte Kiffin's defense, according to KD Drummond of Cowboys blog Blogging The Boys:
On first impression, we saw what we wanted to see out of Monte Kiffin's defense. There was regular pressure in the backfield, as the team collected three sacks with several pressures. Whether you want to connect it to the fact that there were backups manning all of the positions, we also saw the downside of everyone being "rushmen". There were several times at the start of the game when running lanes were huge and unencumbered.
The Cowboys held the Dolphins to just 13 points until giving up a touchdown in the final minute of the game. In addition to providing strong pressure against the quarterback, the Cowboys defense also came up with two fourth down stops and forced a field goal when the Dolphins had 1st and goal from the five-yard line.
The running game shined against a poor-tackling Dolphins defense. The passing game was less impressive, however. Tony Romo was scratched for the game, leaving Kyle Orton, Alex Tanney and Nick Stephens to combine for just 96 yards passing on the night.
Reviews were better for first-round draft pick Travis Frederick, who started at center for the Cowboys. Here's Drummond again:
There were a couple plays where Frederick was on the ground, but there were others where he cleared a path, and others where he got to the second level and engaged linebackers. Frederick spent the majority of the third quarter playing right guard, keeping the possibility of a Leary-Costa-Frederick starting interior in play.
We heard tales throughout the game about the intelligence that Frederick displayed in practice in making all the calls for the Cowboys offense.
First preseason games are usually rough, and with that in mind, Cowboys fans should be pleased with their team's performance. The Cowboys have four more preseason games remaining, with the next against the Oakland Raiders on Friday, Aug. 9.