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Cowboys defeat Titans

ARLINGTON, TX - The lasting - and certainly the most visible - image from Friday's inaugural game at Cowboys Stadium was indeed the world-record, center-hung video board that brought players to life like never before.

The Cowboys' offensive starters got plenty of face time on the giant high-definition screen before 75,720 fans.

Quarterback Tony Romo directed another efficient first half for the first-team group in a 30-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans - a much improved overall performance following last week's sloppy preseason-opening loss at Oakland.

Head coach Wade Phillips played both starting units the entire half and entered intermission with a four-point lead. The defense was mostly solid. The special teams made some mistakes, which wasn't surprising with so many young players cycling through the coverage and return units.

The offense, again, was "Romo-friendly."

Romo was a democratic 18-of-24 for 192 yards. He hit nine different receivers in the first half, including two key completions on the offense's two scoring drives: A back-shoulder, 19-yard throw to Jason Witten on third down that led to Marion Barber's one-yard touchdown run; and a dump-off Felix Jones turned into a 42-yard scamper before he capped off the last-minute march with a one-yard score of his own.

"He's another weapon," Romo said of the second-year back. "You get the ball in his hands in space, he's dangerous."

Jones might be the offense's most explosive player with Terrell Owens no longer on the roster, but through two preseason games Romo is proving he plans to share the wealth. And the offense is proving it can score quickly or painfully slowly, depending on the situation.

Drive 1: Backed up at his own 10-yard line early in the first quarter, Romo handed off four straight times to Barber for 23 yards, then entered Tennessee territory by completing six straight passes to Roy Williams, Barber, Witten and first-year fullback Julius Crosslin.

By the time Barber barged into the end zone, the Cowboys had completed a 15-play, 90-yard series and chewed up nine minutes, 11 seconds. The offense played with a methodical, crisp tempo and kept its defense fresh in the process.

"We want teams to be on their heels," said Williams, who had a team-high five catches for 36 yards. "We want to dictate the pace. We want to take it to them. We want them to make calls and directions and all that stuff, checks at the line, and we're going."

Drive 2: Starting at his own 21-yard line with 54 seconds left in the half, Romo hit tight end Martellus Bennett for 17 yards, then unleashed Jones for the 42-yard gain down the left side of the field. Five plays later, Jones found a hole on the right side and scored to give the Cowboys a 14-10 halftime lead.

"We've been good in the two-minute (drill) for a few years now and we feel comfortable in that situation," Romo said. "I feel comfortable calling the plays and it's just something your team either struggles with or they're good at. I think our team knows what to expect.

"And hey, if I can throw it five yards (to Jones) and he goes for 60, we'll do that every game."

The starters then called it a night, having conquered two polar-opposite situations.

The Cowboys don't expect many 90-yard drives this season. If faced with that challenge, however, they'll try to lean on a diverse running game featuring Barber, Jones and possibly Tashard Choice. Barber and Jones combined for only 49 yards on 15 carries in the first half but did a good job chipping away at the stingy Titans' defense.

That said, Romo also feels he can find receivers on intermediate-to-deep routes when necessary.

"We just expect to move the ball at our pace, execute and put points on the board," Crayton said. "Regardless if it's a quick-hitter or if it's a methodical drive, chew up some clock or run a fastball. It doesn't matter as long as the end result is some points."

The Cowboys' reserves also scored two touchdowns in the second half. Jon Kitna hit rookie free agent Kevin Ogletree - a strong fifth receiver candidate - for a two-yard score, and fourth-round quarterback Stephen McGee hit tight end Rodney Hannah from 22 yards out.

The Cowboys traditionally play their starters into the third quarter in the "dress rehearsal" third preseason game. They'll find out more about their offensive progress here next Saturday against San Francisco.

So far, it's been versatile and resourceful.

"You want to attack the defense. Tempo is a very important part of that," offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. "We have a lot of things that we've got to clean up, a lot of detail things. You've got to do the big things well and you've got to do the little things well.

"We can be more consistent with our tempo, but it's been pretty consistent with the first group."

As evidenced by the variety of highlights on the big board Friday night.

ARLINGTON, Texas - The lasting - and certainly the most visible - image from Friday's inaugural game at Cowboys Stadium was indeed the world-record, center-hung video board that brought players to life like never before.

The Cowboys' offensive starters got plenty of face time on the giant high-definition screen before 75,720 fans.

Quarterback Tony Romo directed another efficient first half for the first-team group in a 30-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans - a much improved overall performance following last week's sloppy preseason-opening loss at Oakland.

Head coach Wade Phillips played both starting units the entire half and entered intermission with a four-point lead. The defense was mostly solid. The special teams made some mistakes, which wasn't surprising with so many young players cycling through the coverage and return units.

The offense, again, was "Romo-friendly."

Romo was a democratic 18-of-24 for 192 yards. He hit nine different receivers in the first half, including two key completions on the offense's two scoring drives: A back-shoulder, 19-yard throw to Jason Witten on third down that led to Marion Barber's one-yard touchdown run; and a dump-off Felix Jones turned into a 42-yard scamper before he capped off the last-minute march with a one-yard score of his own.

"He's another weapon," Romo said of the second-year back. "You get the ball in his hands in space, he's dangerous."

Jones might be the offense's most explosive player with Terrell Owens no longer on the roster, but through two preseason games Romo is proving he plans to share the wealth. And the offense is proving it can score quickly or painfully slowly, depending on the situation.

Drive 1: Backed up at his own 10-yard line early in the first quarter, Romo handed off four straight times to Barber for 23 yards, then entered Tennessee territory by completing six straight passes to Roy Williams, Barber, Witten and first-year fullback Julius Crosslin.

By the time Barber barged into the end zone, the Cowboys had completed a 15-play, 90-yard series and chewed up nine minutes, 11 seconds. The offense played with a methodical, crisp tempo and kept its defense fresh in the process.

"We want teams to be on their heels," said Williams, who had a team-high five catches for 36 yards. "We want to dictate the pace. We want to take it to them. We want them to make calls and directions and all that stuff, checks at the line, and we're going."

Drive 2: Starting at his own 21-yard line with 54 seconds left in the half, Romo hit tight end Martellus Bennett for 17 yards, then unleashed Jones for the 42-yard gain down the left side of the field. Five plays later, Jones found a hole on the right side and scored to give the Cowboys a 14-10 halftime lead.

"We've been good in the two-minute (drill) for a few years now and we feel comfortable in that situation," Romo said. "I feel comfortable calling the plays and it's just something your team either struggles with or they're good at. I think our team knows what to expect.

"And hey, if I can throw it five yards (to Jones) and he goes for 60, we'll do that every game."

The starters then called it a night, having conquered two polar-opposite situations.

The Cowboys don't expect many 90-yard drives this season. If faced with that challenge, however, they'll try to lean on a diverse running game featuring Barber, Jones and possibly Tashard Choice. Barber and Jones combined for only 49 yards on 15 carries in the first half but did a good job chipping away at the stingy Titans' defense.

That said, Romo also feels he can find receivers on intermediate-to-deep routes when necessary.

"We just expect to move the ball at our pace, execute and put points on the board," Crayton said. "Regardless if it's a quick-hitter or if it's a methodical drive, chew up some clock or run a fastball. It doesn't matter as long as the end result is some points."

The Cowboys' reserves also scored two touchdowns in the second half. Jon Kitna hit rookie free agent Kevin Ogletree - a strong fifth receiver candidate - for a two-yard score, and fourth-round quarterback Stephen McGee hit tight end Rodney Hannah from 22 yards out.

The Cowboys traditionally play their starters into the third quarter in the "dress rehearsal" third preseason game. They'll find out more about their offensive progress here next Saturday against San Francisco.

So far, it's been versatile and resourceful.

"You want to attack the defense. Tempo is a very important part of that," offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. "We have a lot of things that we've got to clean up, a lot of detail things. You've got to do the big things well and you've got to do the little things well.

"We can be more consistent with our tempo, but it's been pretty consistent with the first group."

As evidenced by the variety of highlights on the big board Friday night.

Source: dallascowboys.com

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