Dallas Cowboys Preseason Game One Analysis: Offense

In front of a record setting crowd the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys 28-24. The Cowboys allowed the hometown team to come back in the second half and win their first game in Los Angeles. Despite the defeat, the Cowboys did get the opportunity to evaluate their own players and begin to make decision as to what the final 53 man roster will look like.

Dallas Cowboys Preseason Game One Analysis: Offense

Quarterbacks

The Cowboys stormed out to an early lead thanks to the sterling play of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott displayed  poise and excited teammates and fans alike. He had solid pocket awareness and was calm on the field.  Prescott showed off his athleticism and accuracy against the Rams. For at least one week, Prescott quelled concerns over the Cowboys backup quarterback position.

Relieving Prescott was second year quarterback Jameil Showers. Showers began the game showcasing a very strong arm and legitimate speed as a scrambling quarterback, His evaded-sack-turned-big-throw to Vincent Mayle in the third quarter dazzled.   That one play summed up in a nutshell what is great about preseason football.  Unknown players pulling out all the tops to make their dreams a reality. Showers faces an uphill battle to make the team, but if he keeps playing like he did Saturday he will find his way onto the roster.

Skill Positions

Saturday’s game featured a surprise appearance from Dez Bryant at wide receiver. He proved to be too much for Rams corner Coty Sensabaugh, and reminded everyone that he is one of the best red zone targets in the league with his touchdown catch in the first quarter.

Terrance Williams scored a touchdown, Cole Beasley did serious damage coming out of the slot, and Lucky Whitehead showed some flash on a jet sweep. The Cowboys have their top four receiver spots locked up with Bryant, Williams, Beasley, and Whitehead.

The fifth receiver spot remains wide open with Vincent Mayle, Andy Jones, Brice Butler, and Chris Brown all jockeying for the position. While Jones had a couple of drops no one separated themselves enough in the game to declare the competition over.

Running backs Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, and Lance Dunbar did not play.  Former Washington Redskins back Alfred Morris got the start versus the Rams. Morris displayed the same power and tough inside running that he’s become known for in his career.

Spelling Morris was rookie running back Darius Jackson. Jackson‘s performance was also a reiteration of his college tape.  He is an explosive athlete who is still improving his vision and pass protection skills. He faces an uphill battle to make the roster as Elliott, McFadden, Morris, and Dunbar are all above him on the depth chart.

The tight ends were fairly quiet against the Rams. Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar did not play. Geoff Swaim had two drops and one reception. Austin Traylor was not targeted. Both Swaim and Traylor blocked well.

Offensive Line

The Cowboys were without star left tackle Tyron Smith for the game, and Chaz Green started in his place. The other starters were left guard La’el Collins, center Travis Frederick, right guard Zack Martin and right tackle Doug Free. Frederick, Martin and Free were all solid in their limited playing time.

Collins and Green both struggled. They were both overwhelmed by a very talented Rams defensive line. Collins’ starting spot is assured though, as back up Ronald Leary had an off night himself.

Green committed several penalties and was beaten off in pass protection. Rams rookie Ian Seau pulled off a strong pro debut against Green. Green’s struggles last night opens up the battle for the third tackle spot. Though South Dakota State alum Bryan Witzman will need a strong preseason to win the job.

Joe Looney was strong at the point of attack and executed various snap counts successfully as the backup center. Rookie Jake Brendel showed good strength and movement skills, seeing playing time at left guard and center. If the two of them continue their strong play the interior of the line will be very deep. The coaching staff will also have some tough decisions to make.

Returner

Whitehead took his lone kick return 101 yards for a touchdown on the opening play. He also returned one punt. Whitehead has the explosive speed and change-of-direction skills to be a dangerous returner, and he will be given every opportunity to win both kick and punt return jobs. Returner was a revolving door for the Cowboys in 2015. Any consistency they can get from their return game this season would be greatly appreciated.

 

Check out our analysis of the Dallas defence.