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Fantasy Football Preseason Report

Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders – Preseason Week 1

I decided it would make a nice blog post for those fantasy football owners to read my game report for the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders preseason game. This is for those readers not from Dallas or the Bay Area, since this isn’t likely to be very revealing for those readers who saw the game.

I won’t touch every play, but I’ll discuss over half of them in the 1st half – and definitely the ones worth mentioning.

Dallas Cowboys Opening Drive

The Dallas Cowboys started inside their own 10 yard line due to a lousy runback by Isaiah Stanback (at least he didn’t get hurt). They went 3-and-out on three bad looking plays. Knocked down at the line (Romo throwing to Roy Williams), then Barber left for nothing, then Romo deep out-of-bounds trying to hit Myles Austin.

Oakland Raiders Opening Drive

Ken Hamlin dropped a sure interception coming over on double coverage when the Raiders threw the ball deep to Darrius Heyward-Bey early – no doubt a play Al Davis called to see his 1st round pick in action. The next play, the Raiders drew a pass interference penalty down to the Dallas 7. The lack of opportunistic defense was a big problem for Dallas last year and looks like it could be in play this year.

Speaking of which, Chaz Schilens drew the interference penalty, then catch a ball down to the 1 yard line. Surprise, surprise, an Oakland Raiders penalty moves them back 10 yards. Field goal.

Oakland 3, Dallas 0

Dallas Cowboys Second Drive

Wade Phillips had said the Cowboys Offense would play one series, but they’re coming out for a second after only 3 plays. Throw to Martellus Bennett for seven yards (Bennett sheds a tackle); Marion Barber up the middle (with a huge hole) for a first down. Roy Williams with a 12-yard reception on the left sideline. Felix Jones rips it up the middle for 15 (run out of bounds). Tony Romo throws the ball to no one, but only because of defensive holding on Roy Williams (good acting on the penalty).

Patrick Crayton ran on a reverse going left (remember my post that Crayton is left-handed: this will be a pass sometime in the regular season). Screen to Felix Jones setting up a short third down at the Raiders 5 (Felix Jones looked nice on the reception). Marion Barber easily runs to the 1 and very nearly got in (would have in the regular season).

Marion Barber leaps 3 & 1/2 yards into the endzone, but Kyle Kosier with a holding penalty. Barber with a run for 2-3 from the 12 (what a lousy call). Tony Romo has all day to throw, then feels pressure, then throws to his security blanket for a touchdown to Jason Witten. (Good job! Hit the showers.)

Dallas 7, Oakland 3

Oakland Raiders Second Drive

Jamarcus Russell sacked by Keith Brooking on a linebacker blitz. I’ll mention sometime how much I like the pickup of Brooking, who replaces Zach Thomas, who just didn’t seem built for the Cowboys 3-4. Darren McFadden with a nice rush to the right for about 10-15. Russell throws a 16-yard pass to Chaz Schilens to the left. Jamarcus Russell runs the ball and made two Cowboys tacklers look silly (Anthony Spencer, Igol Olshansky).

Darrius Heyward-Bey once again double-covered on a deep ball. (Yes, Heyward-Bey was blanketed by both defenders, but I guess he’s drawing double-coverage.) The Oakland Raiders have a second drive stopped by a stupid penalty. Russell has a pass knocked down, the McFadden comes up 3-4 yards short on a nice screen. Good punt puts the ball down on the Dallas 5.

Dallas Cowboys Third Drive

Jon Kitna in as quarterback. Tashard Choice in as halfback. Couple of short runs by Choice, then a third down pass to Martellus Bennett. Punt to midfield. Pretty uninspired playcalling, but I guess it’s only the first preseason game.

Oakland Raiders Third Drive

Bruce Gradkowski in as quarterback. McFadden still the runner, which is important, because he broke a 35 yard run on the first play from scrimmage against the Dallas second-string. He was pushed out of bounds around the Dallas 15. (I have to say that Darren McFadden has looked pretty darn good tonight. His speed is definitely on show.) End of 1st Quarter.

Darren McFadden stuffed on first down. Chaz Schilens caught another ball short to the right, gets a ten yard gain to the 5 and a first-and-goal. Darren McFadden up the middle to the 3. (Note: All the Cowboys’ second-stringers are in the game now. Everyone was out at the end of the 1st Quarter.) Touchdown from Bruce Gradkowski to TE Tony Stewart in the back of the endzone.

Oakland Raiders 10, Dallas Cowboys 7

Dallas Cowboys Fourth Possession

The Dallas Cowboys led by Jon Kitna stall quickly again, punting it back to the Raiders.

Oakland Raiders Fourth Possession

Michael Bush in for Darren McFadden, while Gradkowski remains the quarterback. Gradkowski hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for his first catch in three attempts tonight. Gerald Sensabaugh knocks the hell out of rookie WR Louis Murphy, separating him from the ball on third down. In Murphy’s defense, if Gradkowski had put the ball on the spot, I think the kid would have come down with the reception.

Dallas Cowboys Fifth Possession

Miles Austen dropped a ball from Kitna where he would have been running for a while. Austen seemed to hear footsteps from his fellow receiver. Both were running slants about 15 yards downfield and met in the middle of the field.

Sorry, but that’s a poorly designed play, if both were supposed to end up in the same spot. Maybe one ran their route too shallow or too deep.

Sam Hurd with a catch for a 1st down to the Oakland 48 yard line. Nice catch. Kitna to Sam Hurd deep for an interception, as the safety comes over. Kitna threw the ball inside, allowing the safety to catch the ball.

Oakland Raiders Fifth Possession

Michael Bush looking like a load to bring down as he rumbles for about 12, but the play is called back for holding (of course). Gradkowski almost intercepted on third down.

Dallas Cowboys Sixth Possession

Tashard Choice with a big run, but it’s coming back on a hold. (These two teams look like mirror images with the penalties, but I guess it’s preseason. It should be noted both teams were among the top penaltized teams last year – that goes without saying with the Raiders, of course.) Jon Kitna for a short pass to Sam Hurd.

Kitna isn’t looking so great, but he looks like a vast improvement over Brad Johnson. Brad Johnson’s arm was shot, while Kitna looks like a viable NFL quarterback having a rough start. Oh, just as I write that, Jon Kitna hits Sam Hurd on a crossing pattern for his best throw of the night, giving the Cowboys a 20 yard gain. Sam Hurd with another reception on a cross, down to the Raiders 15.

Tashard Choice looking nice as the Dallas Cowboys broadcasters argue whether Tashard Choice should get “a series per game” or “more touches” in the Cowboys regular offense. (“If I’m the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, I don’t want to see Marion Barber on my right and Felix Jones on my left.” Good point. Other announcer: “I’m saying one series.” Babe Laufenburg makes the same point again about Jones & Barber.)

Meanwhile, Miles Austen draws an interference penalty on a slant in the endzone, putting the Cowboys on the 1 yard line. Strangely, Jason Garrett calls a shotgun play from the 1, which turns into a botched snap and the ball rolling to the Raiders 20. (Bad bad bad.) Isaiah Stanback double-covered in the endzone, being pulled out of bounds by a Kitna ball. Nick Folk pulls the ball to the left on a 37 yard field goal, so the Raiders look like they’ll have the lead at halftime.

Oakland Raiders Sixth Possession – One Play Before Halftime

Michael Bush with a 12-13 yard run on the last play of the half.


That’s it for this game log.

There’s no reason to discuss the 2nd half, since we’re talking mainly 3rd stringers who won’t be on NFL rosters when the fantasy football season gets here. Hope this has been even a little enlightening for fantasy football owners interested in Cowboys and Raiders players.

Oh, hell, Jerry Jones giving an interview. I’m out.

Player Reports – Week 1 – 2009 NFL Preseason

  • Tony Romo – Looked good on his second drive.
  • Jamarcus Russell – Looked okay. Had a nice run.Little chance to hit the deep passes.
  • Darren McFadden – Very good.
  • Felix Jones – Really quick in limited time.
  • Marion Barber – Not much work, but he looked about like he always has.
  • Roy Williams – It looked like the Cowboys were intent on getting 11 the ball and Roy Williams looked more effective than camp reports suggested. Note that Nnamdi Asomugha started the game, but appeared to be out after the first series and never lined up on Roy Williams. Williams’ plays were mainly on 2nd stringer Stanford Routt.
  • Patrick Crayton – Little attention, though he looked good on a reverse.
  • Miles Austen – Dropped a big play, but I think that was a badly designed play. Still, Miles Austen has to look better if he’s going to beat out Patrick Crayton as the #2 WR. Drew an interference penalty in the endzone.
  • Sam Hurd – Looked better than Crayton and Austen, though few people give Hurd a chance to win the starting job. He’s considered a hard worker and he’s actually been making acrobatic catches for the play of the day at least twice, but he’s a backup and probably not going to be drafted in fantasy drafts.
  • Jason Witten – Good as always. Touchdown.
  • Martellus Bennett – He’s looking awesome. Don’t leave Bennett off your draft list. He’s going to be a big part of the offense this year and is a definite late round sleeper tight end. Remember that the Cowboys run an h-back instead of a fullback on most players, so Martellus Bennett is actually a starter on the Cowboys and NOT Jason Witten’s backup. That’s important for fantasy football owners.
  • Dallas Team Defense – Still looks like it lack big play ability. I’m hoping they’ll blitz more in the regular season, but this is preseason. The Raiders ran at will on the 2nd team, but not sure how much that means.
  • Darrius Heyward-Bey – The Raiders look like they’re going to try to get the ball to Heyward-Bey a lot to start the year, but he looks to me like he’s having trouble getting open – despite the speed.
  • Chaz Schilens – Put this rookie WR on your draft list. He got 4-5 balls in a quarter and a half. Schilens looks like he can get open and he can catch the ball underneath. This isn’t just preseason talk, either. Fantasy football sites are starting to tout Chaz Schilens as a sleeper, because he’s been wowing the Oakland Raiders training camp, too.
  • Michael Bush – Looked good in limited play, though McFadden definitely looks like the starter. Michael Bush could be a solid handcuff late in drafts, if you’ve run out of all other options.
  • Oakland Team Defense – Are you kidding me? Draft the Raiders Middle Linebacker Kirk Morrison in individual defensive player (IDP) leagues and he’ll serve you well, because the Raiders Defense will be on the field all year – like it usually is. Draft Thomas Howard late in IDP Drafts, for the very same reason.



This entry was posted on Thursday, August 13th, 2009 at 10:42 pmand is filed under Fantasy Football. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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