2. The Ground Game Seems Vastly Improved
Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle each averaged more than five yards per carry, and all ran with grit and fearlessness, breaking tackles and fighting for extra yardage as if it were January, not August. Tanner was especially physical with his up-the-middle runs, yet also patient in waiting for holes to open on end-around rushes. Dunbar looked fast and fresh coming out of the backfield, executing one-cut runs that appeared easy and practiced. True, Randle’s production came in the second half, but he already looks like he can contribute.
NBC showed Frederick making reads and calls at the line of scrimmage as the starting center. Color commentator Cris Collinswoth reported him assisting in making coverage calls as well. Judging by Sunday’s performance, Frederick’s football smarts look like an advantage that the Cowboys have not overlooked and are quickly capitalizing on. Later, Frederick took some reps at guard and was just as proficient with his run blocking.
Additionally, training camp standout Ronald Leary had a nice game at left guard and will surely challenge Nate Livings for the starting job. Bill Callahan’s impact on the play-calling appeared to manifest itself early and often through a variety of running plays. The Cowboys still need better blocking from their tight ends, but all in all, the ground game looked great.