Wow, didn't take long for the exuses to pop up....
After one preseason game, it seems most of you think Felix Jones is going to the Hall of Fame and Martellus Bennett should be cut.
My response: Chill out.
Nothing is concrete after one preseason game. We won't even know what either guy is capable of at the end of this season. It takes time, whether you choose to believe that or not.
Different players learn at a different pace. Some rookies are learning to handle real failure for the first time.
Bennett is an athletic freak. Do you think he's been manhandled much in his athletic career? Nope. It takes time to learn how to handle getting your butt kicked, while not letting it affect the next play.
Jones looked terrific in the first game, but he still must learn how to handle the rigors of an NFL season. He must deal with teams game-planning for him once he starts getting special attention.
I expect him to be a good player, but there are no guarantees. Let's stop labeling guys so quickly.
Time will tell. We don't have to guess.
Q: Our bad kick-coverage teams are going to kill us this season if they don't improve.
TAYLOR: I think you're right, but I assume they will improve. The first game is usually the worst for the coverage units because you have a bunch of young guys, who are excited, and don't stay in their lanes because they're trying so hard to make a play and earn a roster spot. Let's wait another couple of weeks before all the gloom and doom starts.
Q: Is Tashard Choice better than Felix Jones? I am reading that he is. You should know.
TAYLOR: Where, my friend, have you been reading that? Choice has been solid during training camp, but Jones has been everything the Cowboys thought he would be when they drafted him. Choice will have a role on this team, but Jones is going to be a significant contributor.
• • •
Q: Could you give us your opinion on Brad Johnson's performance against the San Diego Chargers. I know that it's the first game of preseason, but he didn't seem to be real sharp with his decision-making, especially after his first and second read. We seem to get more pep in the offense when Richard Bartel took over.
Sharp, Los Angeles
TAYLOR: You had me going until you said Bartel looked better than Johnson. Give me a break. Bartel is not even just a guy, though he has improved from last season. Johnson will get some work with the first team in practice or during the game this weekend, so the Cowboys can figure out whether they need him to be the No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback.
The second-team line struggled and that played a role in Johnson looking bad. The Cowboys are trying to figure out how much of that is Johnson and how much of it is the second team.
• • •
Q: The Anthony Fasano trade still bothers me. They gave up a young guy who seemed to be a reliable blocker with good hands, and they drafted Martellus Bennett in his place, who is clearly a project.
Matt Packard, Southlake
TAYLOR: This isn't just directed at you, Matt; it's directed at a lot of people. You guys overreact way too much to one preseason game. It takes some guys longer to develop than others. Fasano didn't do anything in two seasons for you to think he's going to develop into one of the game's best tight ends.
He was OK, but let's not act like he was anything but that. Bennett has struggled, but guys adjust at different rates. Let's wait a season or two before we claim without equivocation that he can't play.
• • •
Q: First-team defense looks ready. However, this stuff about not tackling in camp creates bad form and habits. I would put the second and third teams through the Oklahoma Drill next week.
Chuck Cypert, Plano
TAYLOR: Chuck, that sounds great in theory. But do that, and you might not have enough backups to get through practice. Phillips is trying to figure out how to get his team through training camp without sustaining any injuries. For now, that's the big goal. Thus far, he's been successful with that approach. At the same time, there's no doubt that they were a little bit rusty because they haven't hit much in practice. That shouldn't be as much of an issue in Denver.
• • •
Q: Talking to the incoming coaches here (A&M), they were ecstatic when coach Dennis Franchione decided to leave. They could not figure out how a guy as talented as Martellus Bennett failed to put up any kind of numbers at the NCAA level. Even though Fran was hideously offensive as an offensive coach, that should never have stopped Bennett from getting several throws. He is a nice kid but a horrible player in regards to the bottom line aspects of football.
TAYLOR: I have one word in response: whatever. Coach Fran had one of the worst passing offenses in the country, which might be why Bennett is having such a hard time adjusting to the NFL. Maybe, he hasn't had any real coaching about technique since he left high school. You said yourself Coach Fran was hideous. Bennett must not have been too bad since he was drafted in the second round. This is what I call piling on.
• • •
Q: How is Hudson Houck coaching the line in comparison to Tony Sparano? What improvements can we expect with him as the line coach?
TAYLOR: Not much has changed. The Cowboys still use a combination of man-to-man and zone blocking. If there is one difference, it's that the Cowboys use more plays designed to run downhill to take advantage of their size on the offensive line.
• • •
Q: How do you see the competition between offensive tackles Pat McQuistan and Doug Free working out? Is it possible they keep both? Are you of the mind-set that they'll let Marc Colombo go in free agency instead of pay him?
Tommy Hamilton, Arlington
TAYLOR: McQuistan is more versatile because he can play guard, but Free is coming along better at tackle. They both make the team because one of them needs to take over for Colombo next season.
• • •
Q: What is the reason injured players do not travel with the team? I would think the guys should all be together, no matter what.
Erick Jaeger, Cable Wis.
TAYLOR: Sometimes, it makes more sense for a guy to stay in Dallas or training camp and get around-the-clock treatment for his injury. The idea is to get back on the field as quickly as possible. You can't always do that being on the road with the team.
• • •
Q: I haven't heard much about Marcus Dixon. How is he doing?
TAYLOR: Dixon has a back injury that has kept him out of practice for a few days. As an undrafted free agent, he needs to get back into the mix as soon as possible.