Dallas Cowboys: Turnovers loom large against Cardinals

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 26: Deone Bucannon #20 of the Arizona Cardinals gabs Cooper Rush #7 of the Dallas Cowboys for a sack in the first quarter of a football game at AT&T Stadium on August 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 26: Deone Bucannon #20 of the Arizona Cardinals gabs Cooper Rush #7 of the Dallas Cowboys for a sack in the first quarter of a football game at AT&T Stadium on August 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys had a pretty rough night against the Arizona Cardinals during their third preseason contest, however, there were some bright spots.

The Dallas Cowboys just finished their third preseason game which is usually a dress rehearsal for the regular season, this game was anything but usual. The Cowboys special teams would immediately behind the eight ball with two miffed punts and things only got worse from there.

The Dallas Cowboys held out two of their biggest stars, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott were relegated to watching the game after injuries to their offensive line forced their starters out of the lineup.

This game turned into the battle of the backup quarterbacks and Cooper Rush dropped the ball. Rush and rookie Mike White have failed to really make a case that either of them should be the direct backup to Dak Prescott and this preseason game just hammered home that fact.  

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Rush threw two pretty terrible interceptions and looked wildly inaccurate all night. White performed much better but also made some poor decisions. Realistically the question has to be asked, how much can the Cowboys get Teddy Bridgewater for? The offense needs a player with some upside and security to be the primary backup for this offense and so far neither of these quarterbacks seem to have those traits.

Now it was not entirely on Rush that the team imploded but he did not help matters. Speaking of not helping, the Dallas Cowboys special teams unit whiffed on two punts, one that was recovered in the end zone. While this was a bit alarming to watch, Lance Lenoir was handling return duties and one of the muffed punts came on a pretty fluky play where Byron Jones came across the field on the return and accidentally collided with Lenoir.

While the full collection of wide receivers was not on display Cole Beasley showed up today as he finally made an impact this preseason. He dusted several Arizona cornerbacks on outside routes that showed off his speed and agility moving down the field. Unfortunately Rush could not connect with Beasley as he routinely overthrew his the ball.

The offensive line looked surprisingly good at the beginning of the contest as Joe Looney showed that he could be a capable replacement for Travis Frederick. Add Tyron Smith and Zack Martin to the equation and this line could still be one of the best in the NFL. Still, for all of the bad that occurred on the field, there were a few bright spots, particularly on defense.

Randy Gregory looked every bit as special as he seemed when the Dallas Cowboys drafted him, if not more so. Gregory routinely got pressure on the opposing quarterback and had a nice sack where he battled through a double team. This feat was extra impressive as it came early in the contest against the Cardinals first team offense.

This makes you wonder if he can get this much pressure on first team starters, will he be in line for a bigger role moving forward. Chidobe Awuzie also played terrifically showing a knack for stopping the run and pass coverage. He tackles somewhat like a safety which is rare for cornerbacks in the NFL.

The Dallas Cowboys linebacking corps looks pretty dangerous and we have not played any regular season football. All throughout preseason this unit has flashed and made plays. The addition of former Green Bay Packer, Joe Thomas, and former Kansas City Chief, Justin March-Lillard have made this group of linebackers one of the strongest aspects of this football team.

Damien Wilson has also come on as an excellent blitzer as he has shown a real understanding of rushing the passer and finding gaps along opposing offensive lines. Another notable area of play came from the secondary. Besides Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis has a solid night playing as he created multiple pass breakups. The same could be said for Byron Jones who was flying around the field all night long.

One has to think with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and the rest of the offensive starters that this unit should be able to get down the field with ease. Rod Smith looked great behind this patchwork offensive line and if not for an untimely fumble would have had a very solid night.

Elliott should have no problem finding space behind this line and breaking big plays when needed. Prescott should also have enough time to make plays down the field as it is unlikely that he will be under enough pressure to have a repeat of the dreaded Atlanta game. This team could be led by the defensive unit especially if Gregory and these young players continue to flash the way that they have so far this preseason.

Next. Dallas Cowboys: Defense becoming elite?. dark

Despite a rough performance by the backup quarterbacks and special teams, there were a lot of positives that the Dallas Cowboys can take away from this game.

  • Published on 08/27/2018 at 20:00 PM
  • Last updated at 08/27/2018 at 07:46 AM