ARLINGTON, Texas -- After five preseason games, the Cowboys were able to answer some questions and here we talk about what we learned from the on-field work from Aug. 4-29.
Tony Romo's health: Surgery to remove a cyst from his back in April kept Romo out of all of the offseason work. He did not miss a day of training camp practice, even working when he was supposed to get a day off. In three preseason games he completed 26 of 36 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns. He took some hits in the preseason, which is not necessarily an awful thing, and was able to bounce back.
DeMarcus Ware’s position switch: Coming off major shoulder surgery and moving from outside linebacker to defensive end in the new 4-3 scheme, Ware showed he will be among the most dangerous pass-rushers in the NFL once again. He believes he will have an advantage now because he no longer has to worry about pass coverage and will have a better feel for how to set up offensive tackles. Put him down for 15 sacks.
Dez Bryant, Miles Austin in form: For all of the two-tight end talk, it’s Bryant and Austin who will be the difference-makers. Bryant looked as good as he did in the final eight games of last season. He is a nightmare matchup athletically and has started to learn the game. Austin’s biggest benefit is health. He made it through the summer without a hamstring strain and has the burst and confidence back that led him to two Pro Bowl appearances.
Taking it away: The defense forced only 16 turnovers last year. Out went Rob Ryan. In came Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, who brought an attack-the-ball mindset from the first rookie practice in May. It has paid off in the preseason and needs to continue into the regular season. The Cowboys have to steal more possessions for the offense and give them short fields to work with.
The rookie is ready: The Cowboys were criticized when they took center Travis Frederick in the first round, but he has made quite the first impression with his smarts and strength. He has some limitations, but he knows what he isn’t, which is important for a young player. Frederick has a feel for how to cover up weak spots in protections and most importantly he and Romo did not have any botched snaps.