The trouble with preseason football is – fans still want their team to win.
On the field, though, is a collection of athletes that may or may not even be on the roster in a few weeks. The quarterback certainly won’t be on the field, barring injuries to the franchise QB and his backup. Sunday night, Tony Romo played through the first quarter and watched the rest of the game as the Cowboys hosted San Diego.
The Chargers left JerryWorld with the preseason win, 20-7.
As is the case with most preseason broadcasts, the folks in the network booth spent more time talking about their personal thoughts and expectations, their beliefs about the future season, personal concerns about players and coaches, and interviewing each other. During the Cowboys-Chargers game, that in-depth prognosticating went along with plenty of camera-time for the shaggy-gray-mane wearing Rob Ryan, pacing the Dallas sideline and examining his clipboard.
Apparently, Ryan is the story.
He is the defensive guru that is supposed to plug the holes that allowed the most points in franchise history last year. His students are still tackling the books more often than opposing players. The first-string defense gave up scoring drives of 50 yards, 61 yards, and 81 yards.
The first quarter played out quickly, with few penalties, and few surprises. As the game wore on, Ryan’s blitzes exposed the weak man-to-man coverage in the secondary, and the Chargers managed some downfield completions.
Then there was the timeout burned by Dallas, called to get an eleventh man on the field before drawing a penalty. Good defenses aren’t produced overnight.
Still, for all the attention given defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, it might be expected that the basics of the game could have been pulled off without a hitch.
There were few excuses offered, and Ryan took blame for the coverage on Philip Rivers’ seven yard completion for the first San Diego score. Something about single-coverage versus double.
Actually, Ryan could have blamed the lockout and the lack of time in preparation for a new defensive scheme. He also could have tossed blame at the roster, and the fact that even the first-string defense was missing some first-string players.
Then, in came the second-string.
Preseason may be a time for coaches and managers to look over the talent pool to decide who will stay and who will go, but fans still want to walk away feeling good.
For Dallas Cowboys fans, there are some things to feel good about after watching the latest preseason offering, but there are plenty of other things to be nervous about, heading into a new football season.