If you’re a football junkie, chances are you have probably stumbled across a fair amount of articles by Pro Football Focus. PFF does a great job at quantifying every player’s performance by giving them an exact number grade. Their formula for grading is far to in depth to explain here, however these grades are not absolute. There are occasions where a player may grade out fairly well, but actually have a poor game in the eyes of coaches, fans, scouts etc.. So take these numbers with a grain of salt, but let’s examine the top Cowboys performers from last night.
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Kellen Moore finished the game as the top rated player for the Cowboys with a score of 83.8. Moore played the entire first half and finished 12/17 for 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception, resulting in a 100.7 QB rating. Here is what PFF had to say.
Another player who turned heads Thursday night in Canton, Ohio was second year tight end Rico Gathers. By now everyone knows Gathers back story and his progression from the hardwood to the gridiron has been nothing short of impressive, and PFF agrees.
Rounding out the top performers for Dallas on offense included Brice Butler who continued his strong camp showing by hauling in two passes for 78 yards. The 39.0 yard per catch average was good enough to earn him a PFF grade of 83.7, falling just short of Moore for the best grade on the team. Rod Smith and Alfred Morris appear to be in a highly contested battle for that third running back spot. The two combined to carry the ball 25 times for 106 yards, resulting in grades of 83.5 and 81.9 respectively.
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The Dallas defense began the game by getting torched through the air and on the ground during their first two drives, but settled down nicely after that. Going back to a previous point about these grades not being absolute, many fans and coaches felt that Taco Charlton’s performance left much to be desired. PFF disagrees. They gave Taco a grade of 75.3 and had this to say about the rookie.
Also worth noting that while Damontre Moore is suspended for the first two games of the regular season, his performance last night was promising in that he may have finally realized his true potential in Coach Marinelli’s system.
While the Dallas secondary as a whole had a lack luster night, one individual graded out quite nicely, and that was second year safety Kavon Frazier. After an early miscue on special teams, Frazier redeemed himself with a tackle for loss that forced an Arizona punt. Overall Frazier finished the game with a grade of 80.0, tops in the defensive backfield.
Finally PFF awarded the game ball to Kellen Moore. With as much flack as he seems to get from CowboysNation, the guy is quite efficient at what he does. Maybe the backup quarterback position isn’t in as bad of shape as everyone thinks.