After a review of the Cowboys-Steelers game we have our weekly review in random thoughts.
1. Cornerback Mike Jenkins played a season-high 60 snaps in the game and made four tackles and allowed one touchdown from the slot position. Jenkins played outside and inside corner, not an easy task, but something the Cowboys expect from a former Pro Bowler and first round pick to do given the injury situation at his position. This is an interesting season for Jenkins who is entering the final weeks of his contract with the Cowboys. You can never have enough corners because of injuries, and the Cowboys have endured that the last few years. But should the Cowboys consider bringing Jenkins back for 2013? If the team signs Jenkins to a one-year contract, it could benefit both. The Cowboys will keep intact the four main corners for 2013, add Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick to the list, and Jenkins can build his resume to other teams that he's a good player. It's a similar situation wide receiver Kevin Ogletree found himself in last season. He was a free agent but elected to re-sign with Dallas for one season. Jenkins might do the same.
2. One of the toughest players on the Cowboys' team is safety Gerald Sensabaugh. You can question his deep coverage ability all you want, that 60-yard reception by Mike Wallace with Danny McCray trailing and Sensabaugh coming over for support, was poor coverage. But Sensabaugh has played with a sore hip and just doesn't come off the field. He played 60 defensive snaps on Sunday. Most weeks, Sensabaugh plays every snap or comes off the field maybe one or two plays. Sensabaugh lined up closer to the line of scrimmage and played deep at times in Rob Ryan's defense. He's a trusted member of the defense that doesn't get enough credit for hard hits. He made another one in Sunday's game on Emmanuel Sanders on a reception.
3. It's good the Cowboys want to rotate Doug Free and Jermey Parnell at right tackle. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan said whoever has the hot hand will remain in the game. Free played the last five offensive possessions at the position, four in the fourth quarter and one in overtime, while Parnell came in as a tackle eligible player late in the third quarter. Free was the right tackle for the last two possessions of the Cincinnati game last week as well. It seems the Cowboys will go with the experience in Free over Parnell with the game on the line.
4. The Cowboys defense saved outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware late in the game. He was flagged for a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty for hitting Ben Roethlisberger in the back of the head on a pass rush with 1:34 to play. You can't have these penalties late in games. But Sean Lissemore sacked Roethlisberger on the next play and then Anthony Spencer picked up another sack forcing a third and long. Roethlisberger would complete a pass well short of the first down marker and Pittsburgh would punt. Lissemore and Spencer ended the late drive with sacks making sure Ware's penalty wouldn't cost the Cowboys.
5. When you use inexperience players with talent sometimes you need them to make plays late in games. Wide receiver Dwayne Harris dazzled the coaches with a nifty reception where he dodged at least three defenders. But with 2:00 to play in the game, Harris ran his route short of the first down marker and while catching a four yard pass was good, it came on third-and-five from the 17. Harris has to see where the marker is and run to that spot because quarterback Tony Romo is looking to get him the ball there.