After the Cowboys had their first preseason game, there were many who took a sigh of relief. Cowboys Nation was anxious and awaited the arrival of their team to start the 2018-19 campaign. There were plenty of positives for the first-team offense, the first team defense as well as some negatives for the secondary. After the game was over, many concerns of Cowboys Nation took a back seat…at least for now. Let’s look at five points from this past game against the San Fransisco 49ers that gave Cowboys Nation a chance to take a deep breath.
1. Concern spread throughout camp as the offense has been struggling to produce. Former Cowboys receiver Keyshawn Johnson of ESPN said he wouldn’t be surprised if Dak Prescott was eventually benched this season. The Cowboys first-team offense ran 10 snaps, one series, and capped it off with a beautiful 30-yard touchdown reception to rookie receiver Michael Gallup. The Cowboys first-team offense did its job in going 75 yards to take the lead. Prescott further cemented his reputation of being a lousy practice quarterback who turns into top QB when the lights come. Oh, and by the way, they did this without their superstar running back, Ezekiel Elliott. Here is Gallup on his first NFL touchdown catch. “I had a go route,” not sure what the coverage was, (but the) safety was in the middle of the field and I assume the ball was going to go to my side and I made a play on the ball.”
2. Demarcus Lawrence showed why he deserves the next big contract as well. even though the Cowboys had zero sacks, but still had three quarterback hits and numerous pressures on the Jimmy Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard. Lawrence, who led the Cowboys in sacks last year with 14.5, wasn’t impressed. “We can’t count pressures over here, That quarterback need to be on the ground. I felt like we had zero sacks and that’s not the ‘Hot Boys’ way. We got to be hot and we got to be blowing they ass up. Blowing them off the ball. They should want to get this game over and we didn’t do that today.” Get used to a mean Dallas defense, they are hungry.
3. We had a Bo sighting. Not Bo Jackson of course, but Bo Scarbrough, the Cowboys seventh-round pick. Scarbrough finished with 33 rushing yards on nine carries. Scarbrough’s one-yard touchdown run gave the Cowboys a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. The good news for the Cowboys is it wasn’t an easy score. After gaining zero yards the Cowboys were faced with a third down. Not typically, the Cowboys will be using Elliott to get into the end zone, but it’s nice to have other backs who can smash it in when needed. “I’m very comfortable (near the goal line), it’s something that we did back at Alabama,” he said. “And I’m sure you know any goal line situation I was in, you got bigger and stronger guys in front of you and you got to push the pile.” Bo is going to make this team and contribute. He’s going to surprise a lot of people and help the red zone offense become a force to deal with.
4. Backup QB Cooper Rush ran six possessions and had ten first downs and two touchdown drives. The NFL is notorious for needing more quality back-up QBs. It’s a welcome sight to have Cooper Rush do well. He finished with 15 of 23 passes for 145 yards with one touchdown. “A lot of clean up, protection-wise…I wasn’t as clean as I wanted to be, watch the film and there were some throws I left out there — but overall I felt pretty good.”
5. Finally, preseason is the ultimate risk. Many star players don’t play and if they do, it’s not for very long. Perhaps the most positive takeaway is that the Cowboys looked strong on both sides of the ball without many of the starting players. Wide receivers Cole Beasley (slight groin), Deonte Thompson (Achilles), Noah Brown (hamstring), linebacker Chris Covington (illness) and defensive tackle Malik Collins (foot rehab) stayed in Oxnard. Defensive end Randy Gregory and linebacker Sean Lee traveled with the team, dressed and did pregame warmups but did not play. Lee probably won’t play this preseason. Ezekiel Elliott traveled but didn’t play either and like Lee, will sit out due to high risk of injury. Randy Gregory is being cautious and is slowly getting back into the swing of the NFL grind. The Cowboys will take their time with him. Kicker Dan Bailey and No. 4 quarterback Dalton Sturm also were scratched of a preseason debut.
All in all, it wasn’t perfect, but it was a good start. Cowboys Nation has a lot to look forward to and can take a deep breath. The Cowboys are finding their way just like the 31 other teams in the NFL and are working away at being a playoff caliber team. The first preseason game gave Cowboys Nation more hope. Hope that springs positive momentum leads to wins.
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