I just finished watching the game on the NFL.com Preseason pass and here's my thoughts on the team's performance...
Orton- Looked very much like the QB we have came to know over the last couple seasons. Not too dazzling, and made the plays that were available to him. When play wasn't there, it resulted in the normal throw away. The run game definitely helped Orton move the team down field on his only drive. Orton did make a nice throw to Eric Decker which moved the chains avoiding what could have been a 3 and out.
Tebow- Had a very good half of football. Despite being put in a few bad spots as a result of Offensive penalties and having an absent running attack because of a very talent-deprived 2nd string O-line, the guy was able to make plays and move the chains. His first drive began his own 14 yard line and it was crucial to move the chains to not put the D in a bad spot field position-wise and he was able to do that. The big throw to Willis was pretty well placed for being a long throw down field and to say otherwise is getting pretty nit-picky I would say. Tebow also did a masterful job holding onto the ball long enough to develop a well executed screen play. The one incompletion he had was definitely an ugly looking ball, but I grew up idolizing John Elway and I can definitely say Elway also threw the occasional "WTF was that???" type of pass into the ground. The Cowboys D struggled to stop the Broncos Offense when Tebow was in the game, and if not for a handful of boneheaded penalties there would have been more points on the board at the half for Denver.
Quinn- Mr. Quinn started off with a 3 and out which is something the Broncos cannot consistently afford to do(see last year). And the Cowboys started their first drive near midfield as a result, and were able to drive down a shortened field for the game's first TD. Quinn did get into a nice groove by his 3rd possession and started to look pretty confident in where he was going with the ball. The O-line did look a lot better with Quinn in there and gave him plenty of time to see the play develop, not sure if the Broncos line was doing that much of a good job, or the Cowboys 3rd stringers are that bad. Overall, Quinn had a pretty nice game.
Overall QB assessment- I think it was a good night for both Tebow and Quinn, and 1 drive isn't really a whole lot to grade Orton on.
Moreno- looks a lot quicker and finished his runs. I liked what I saw from him tonight, had a really nice tough run up the middle and carried a couple defenders two extra yards.
McGahee- showed excellent vision and patience letting the blocks develop before bursting through the hole created.
Johnson- also showed very good burst through the holes was deliberate and decisive.
Ball- Tough to grade Ball as he was in while the O-line was getting owned by the Cowboys front so he didn't get much to work with.
White- Pretty much same case as Ball.
Lloyd, Royal- One drive where the backs accounted for big chunks of yards doesn't give me much to say about our first string wideouts...but we know what we have in these two and that's good.
Willis- picked up where he left off last preseason...making plays! Guy was all over the field, got open consistently and plus was more than willing to throw blocks...and delivered a nice bonecrusher during Tebow's 3rd down and goal play that was sandlot entertainment with 3 flags going against the Offense on the play.
Dell, Riley- I was impressed with both of these guys. They consistently got separation and gave the QB a window to get them the ball.
Thomas- Looked a bit lost out there. Missed two blocks badly, resulting in Tebow getting nailed pretty hard for a sack on one, and forced a play to the outside on the other.
Green- Caught a 6 yard pass for a 3rd down conversion that was called back for PI by him. Looked pretty close to being within 5 yards but he definitely pushed off. Caught an 18 yard pass with 2 seconds left in game for what I believe was the only reception by a Broncos TE, might be wrong on that one.
Starters- The starting line dominated the opening drive and would have most likely celebrated a TD if the play-calling didn't go away from the run in the goal-to-go situation.
Backups- Looked like bad backups during the first half and were constantly getting pushed backwards, however in the 2nd half they got it together and held the fort down in the passing game.
Starters- Against the pass they seemed to be moderately successful at collapsing the pocket quickly. Against the run there seemed to be some confusion on gap containment. Also, the Cowboys were able to get a large chunk of yardage on a Felix Jones screen...play was drawn up nicely but the Broncos could have done a better job defending against this one.
Backups- Our depth looks a bit stronger than last year, but not by much...not a whole lot of plays were being made by this bunch.
Mays- Has a bit of Al Wilson in him...gets to the ball fast and always looks to deliver a KO...and like Wilson would miss a tackle at times going high at a RB, Mays missed an opportunity to end the Cowboys first FG drive early if he makes a tackle in the backfield...but he goes high and whiffs.
Miller- Guy was flying out there...seemed to be near the action on just about every play.
Cox- had a pick and nearly took it to the house, had a good night overall in coverage but took an ill-timed penalty on what would have been the end of a Cowboys' possession.
Vaughn- Did a pretty good job in coverage as well, also took a dumb penalty which added 15 yards to the end of a McGhee scramble.
Jones- Jones is who we thought Jones was...and we NEED to let him off the squad. Jones reminds me of when we all played football in the park when we were young and there's that one guy who's just much faster than everyone...that guy will play half-speed when covering his guy in order to bait the QB into throwing his way....then he turns on the jets, closes in and picks ball off...Jones plays like that guy, except when he baits the QB into throwing his way, he still goes half-speed until the receiver has the ball...then he goes full speed to make a tackle. Please cut Nate Jones.
Dawkins- Looks healthy and quick...blew up a 3rd down play by driving Witten into Romo's face, think it's gonna be a big year for Dawk.
Moore- From what I saw he seemed to be taking care of his assignments and that's always good.
McBath- Another guy that should not see the field on Defense. Solid Special Teamer but he is so flat footed and bad in the open field...On the Cowboy's biggest gain of the evening, a 60+ yard TD by Harris, McBath can be seen sliding onto his but tby himself, effectively taking himself out of the play and leaving nothing but 50 yards of clear sailing for the RB.
Overall, the coverage seemed pretty good, Colquitt got plenty of hang time on his kicks...the Cowboys have a speedster returning kickoffs and he was pretty close to breaking one...not sure if Fox wanted to get his boys some reps in kickoff coverage, because kickoffs were not getting touchbacks as much as i thought.
The Cowboys Announcers and their Network
These guys were absolutely pathetic and hard to listen to. I still have a headache from this and wish I would have muted them within the first 3 minutes of the broadcast. They ripped Tebow the entire time he and the Broncos Offense were driving the ball down their D's throat. They talked up Dez Bryant as if he has the ability to start at QB in the NFL. The sideline reports were horrible and badly timed, resulting in a few plays to be missed, including Johnson's TD run.
Like a lot of the frontpage posters here at MHR say, this team has a load of promising talent on D and we as Bronco fans have a lot to look forward to this year. One other thing I noticed, when a player was seen limping off the field or slow to get up, 90% of the time it was a Dallas Cowboy, which I think speaks volumes on the team's offseason conditioning. The team looks far more physical than the last couple years and I do not see us getting pushed around by the more physical teams in this league. As far as our QB situation goes, I do think the more drives and plays Tebow puts together this preseason will make it hard for the coaches to have him sitting on the bench Week 1. The bottom line is the kid is moving the chains well, and that helps out Time of Possession, Field Position, and most importantly, puts points on the board. The more this staff and players witness this happening, the clearer the decision will be. I can't wait for week 2! Go Broncos!!!