The Dallas Cowboys lost on Friday night, but we all know that the score is hardly relevant in the preseason. Unfortunately they lost in a substantial way with the injury bug biting them rather hard, but more information will trickle out that will dictate just what direction they need to head in.
We saw some good things from this team on both sides of the ball and as a whole they managed to improve on last week by finally scoring a touchdown. Altogether, injuries aside, it was a somewhat promising overall performance.
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With half of the preseason in the rearview mirror things are starting to fall just a bit more into place and we are starting to be able to draw more legitimate conclusions about who this team has the potential to be in 2021. Thankfully they appear to have some legitimate potential.
Here are our winners, losers, and honorable mentions from the game. Let’s begin.
Winner: Keanu Neal
We stated last week that the path to making the winners was simple on defense… be part of a turnover.
It was Micah Parsons in Canton who happened to be the person who recovered a fumble, his fellow linebacker Keanu Neal decided to one-up him on Friday night. Keanu managed to pull off the rare force and recover move and it was beautiful to see.
It is so great to see Cowboys defenders attacking the ball and putting it on the ground. Ideally this is a sign of things to come in the regular season, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.
Welcome to the Cowboys, Keanu.
Winner: La’el Collins
This was our first look at La’el Collins in a Dallas Cowboys uniform in a LONG time and while he didn’t totally set the world on fire, he looked good!
The health of LC and Tyron Smith is of critical importance to this team so seeing the former move and dominate (albeit in the preseason) is going to be wind in anyone’s sails.
Winner: Dorance Armstrong
We joke about how much Jerry Jones hypes up Dorance Armstrong, but perhaps the owner saw this coming before anyone else did!
In all seriousness Dorance managed to get on the board with two sacks before the first half was over. He also had a great pass batted down near the end of the first half that he aaaaalmost picked off.
Perhaps 2021 really is his year.
Winner: Jabril Cox
We have all been waiting for Jabril Cox to start shining and the time finally arrived on Friday night in Arizona.
The rookie had moments where he was in the backfield, roaming side to side, and separating himself amid all of the defensive players. There are a lot of linebackers on the team that are commanding playing time which has led to a lack of opportunities for Cox to showcase his own skills.
It is great to see them finally starting to show up.
Winner: Hunter Niswander
It is worth being optimistic when we can and Friday night was a very solid showing for Hunter Niswander… the kicker!
We all know that Hunter can punt, but his skills as a kicker were cast into question last Thursday night in Ohio. That wasn’t the case against the Cardinals as Hunter was a perfect four for four on all kicks that he was asked to execute. He won’t be kicking field goals for the Dallas Cowboys, but it is very nice to see him having improved.
Honorable Mention: Bradlee Anae
The penalty was certainly not idea, but aside from that we saw the Bradlee Anae that we all begged the team to play last season.
Anae demonstrated a high motor and great amount of athleticism against Arizona. He certainly seems like somebody that can contribute to this team. It was very nice to see something many have believed in actually sort of come to fruition.
Honorable Mention: Ron’Dell Carter
Whether or not there is room on the roster for him remains to be seen, but like Anae, Ron’Dell flashed.
He had some off moments too that fully kept him from becoming a winner, but showing any positive sign with regards to getting after the quarterback is always going to garner attention.
Honorable Mention: Garrett Gilbert
It was a fine night for Double G, nothing special and nothing terrible. That is basically what you want from your backup quarterback since they aren’t going to be all-world, and Gilbert has firmly proved that he is the best non-Dak Prescott option at the position.
Gilbert finished a pedestrian 7/16 for 80 yards, but the offense looked fine with him operating it. That is all we can really ask for at this point from QB2.
Honorable Mention: Nahshon Wright
During our live show after the game there were many who believed that Nahshon was actually more deserving of being in the winners category. He played well, but it is still coming in tiny spurts.
This isn’t at all to take away from Nahshon by the way. It is clear that he is the best rookie cornerback on the team (more on that in a bit). He is growing and it will take time, but proof of concept is there.
Honorable Mention: Ben DiNucci
It is generally understood that he is not going to make this roster, but Ben DiNucci executed a touchdown drive and had a whole lot of fun doing it.
Unfortunately The Nooch also folded during a drive that could have won the game. It’s a give and take thing sometimes.
Loser: Connor Williams
Clearly there was a reason that the Cowboys wanted to experiment with Connor Williams at center, but we are at the point where we have seen enough. This is not good.
Is Tyler Biadasz really not that enticing as an option? Is this purely experimental? Is Connor no longer fit to play left guard?
These questions need answers and they need to come soon.
Loser: Rico Dowdle
Rico is still firmly cemented as RB3 for the Cowboys, but rules are rules. If you turn the ball over you are going to find yourself lumped in the group that didn’t exactly impress during the game.
Loser: Kelvin Joseph
It was not exactly a fun night for Kelvin Joseph as he got beat by Christian Kirk early on. Some argued that this was a push off, but it was not the only down moment for the rookie on the night.
Joseph is definitely coming along at a slower pace than Nahson Wright and guess what, that’s totally fine. He is a rookie after all.
But this week saw a lot of chatter that Kelvin could be competing for a starting spot come Week 1. Right now that does not seem realistic.
Simply put they can’t happen. Even Michael Gallup had a bad one (although he rebounded right after).
Loser: Staying healthy
The number one goal of the preseason is to escape it with all of your players healthy. Such was the case for the Cowboys last week in Canton, but before the first half was over they had seen two players ruled out for the game in Neville Gallimore (left arm) and Sean McKeon (ankle) among others. Unfortunately it seems like things don’t initially look promising for the former.
Mike McCarthy says he’d put Neville Gallimore’s injury in the “significant” category, but no real timetable beyond that until all the medical scans come back tomorrow.
Cowboys get back to DFW at ~5am and will have a lot of guys they need to look at.
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 14, 2021
Hopefully they will all be alright.
We discussed all of this and more during the Blogging The Boys Postgame show on our YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you can be part of our next livestream. You can watch it right here.