After last Saturday night’s win over the Rams, the Dallas Cowboys offense looks as if they have made sound improvements since the beginning of the preseason. Twice in the first quarter, Tony Romo connected to WR Dwayne Harris for TDs of 61 and 38 yards. In addition, RBs DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones combined for 60 yards on only 10 carries. In just one quarter, the Cowboys starting offense looked like the efficient scoring machine they are expected to be this season, despite playing with out Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten.
Early last week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the media that both Austin and Bryant would be ready for week 1 against the Giants. However, TE Jason Witten is has only a 50% of being healthy enough to play.
This Wednesday the Cowboys will face the Miami Dolphins in their last preseason game this season. They will suit up without Pro Bowl NT Jay Ratliff who suffered a sprained ankle Saturday against the Rams. According to ESPN Dallas’s McMahon the Cowboys will be looking for Sean Lissemore and Josh Brent to step in at NT while Ratliff recovers. When asked about filling in for Ratliff, Lissemore told ESPN Dallas’s:
“I’ve prepared myself at nose tackle, left end, right end, dime, nickel, everything,” …“Depending on the situation in the game, that’s where I’m going to be playing. That’s a role that I embraced. It’s necessary and I’m ready to step up in that role.”
On the other hand, Brent is more of a traditional NT. He is 6 ft. 2 in. and 320 lbs. When he was asked about filling in for Ratliff he told ESPN Dallas:
“Jay sets the standard very high,”… “The days of space eaters I think are over. Jay is that new trend. You’ve got to have big guys, but guys who are athletic and guys who can move and make plays. Yeah, you’ve got to take two gaps, but you’ve got to be able to get off that block and make a tackle.”
The Cowboys hope both players can step up and fill the void of Ratliff whose status is now doubtful for the start of the regular season. With the regular season a little over a week away, look for the Cowboys to continue to try and improve their offense and find the right replacement for Pro Bowl defensive NT Jay Ratliff. The Cowboys and Dolphins kick off at 8:30 pm eastern Wednesday night.