clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cowboys @ Chargers: Report Card For The First Preseason Game

The first preseason game is over and there were a handful of standout performances. And there were a few not-so-great ones, too.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Watching the Cowboys preseason game against the Chargers a second time provides a better look at how players performed. There were some that jumped off the screen and others that were a little more subtle. Here are the players that stood out the most in the team's first preseason game, good or bad.

Grade: A

La'el Collins

Whether he was flattening a hapless linebacker named Chi Chi or blocking two different guys on the Gus Johnson touchdown, Collins made a big impression in his first NFL live action game. There has been a lot of talk over the last week about how he has fallen out of contention to jump Ron Leary for the starting left guard position, but after watching him against San Diego - let's not pencil anyone in just yet. Collins was outstanding.

Corey White

A glass-is-half-empty type of person would be disappointed that the team's new free agent cornerback came up empty not once, but twice when stepping in front of the receiver as he was trying to pick off a pass. A glass-is-half-full type of person would be happy that the corner had such great coverage in the first place and was able to contest it. Whatever category you fall into, you have to be pleased with White's performance Thursday night. White was in perfect position to break up two passes, including one of them on fourth down, resulting in a turnover on downs. The game film was friendly to White as he also closed in quickly on a short pass to the tight end for a small gain.

Our own Dawn Macelli recently wrote about how White is making a push for a roster spot. It's a small sample size, but the Cowboys new and improved depth at the cornerback position appears legit.

Davon Coleman

On a third and short play, rookie Damien Wilson shot the A-gap and made a great tackle on Brandon Oliver for a loss, forcing the Chargers to punt. But on this play, Davon Coleman did a great job at the 1-tech taking on two offensive linemen. This opened up the hole for Wilson to make the play. And that wasn't the only play he helped make a rookie teammate look good. Coleman took out the left tackle allowing Randy Gregory to push inside and get his first ever NFL sack.

"We ran it perfectly. He set it up perfectly for me. I give him a lot of credit." - Randy Gregory

You got to love that the rookie gives credit to his teammate. Good job, coach Garrett.

He also had a tackle of his own behind the line of scrimmage as he was able to shed his blocker and tackle rookie RB, Dreamius Smith for a loss.

Jack Crawford

On a third down play, Crawford knocked the ball away from Chargers QB, Kellen Clemens as he was stepping up in the pocket. Fortunately for San Diego, the ball bounced right up into the hands of one of their offensive linemen. No turnover, but he did a great job going after the ball.

Lavar Edwards

Wait, who?

The second-year player from LSU is fighting for a roster spot at a position where the depth is abundant this year. Edwards played in only 19 snaps, but he made them count. He was relentless in his pursuit. He got one of the team's three sacks, but he should have had a second one as he chased down Chargers backup QB, Brad Sorenson for a one-yard gain. The sack he did get was a fast one as the offensive lineman tried to cut block him and came up empty. And like Coleman, he also tackled Dreamius Smith for a loss (Ben Gardner shared this tackle with him). Granted, his playing time came in the second half when the players out there were further down on the depth chart, but Edwards was still making plays.

The Cowboys will not be able to carry all these edge rushers. Between Ryan Russell, Ben Gardner, and Lavar Edwards - at least one of them is not making the team. Both Russell and Gardner had solid games as well, especially considering it was their first ever NFL game action. It wouldn't surprise me if the Cowboys pulled off a deal similar to what they did with Sean Lissemore a couple years ago to get some value out of a defensive lineman they won't be able to use.

Gavin Escobar

So much is made about the disappearance of Escobar. For his second-round draft price, the production just hasn't been there so far. The Cowboys seem pleased with his role in the offense even if it doesn't produce a high volume of catches. With the great Jason Witten ahead of him on the depth chart, it's hard to get opportunities, however that wasn't a problem on Thursday. Escobar was given chances and he looked good. He had five catches on seven targets for 47 yards while a couple of them were contested pretty well.

Don't give up on this kid.

Keith Smith

The rookie linebacker only played 13 snaps and they were against scrubs, but his effort was impressive. He barreled through a block from the running back to get a nice hit on the quarterback. He did a good job pursing the ball carrier against the run. There aren't a lot of names at linebacker outside of the usual suspect that grab people's attention, but he's one guy that fans might want to keep an eye on moving forward.

Grade: F

Darrion Weems and John Wetzel

Both these guys struggled on Thursday. While playing left tackle, they both got beat on an outside-in move by the pass rusher. Wetzel's miscue led to a sack. Weems' miscue should have also led to a sack, but Dustin Vaughan was able to escape and scramble for a small gain.

The Cowboys are stacked on the offensive line and with a third-round investment of Chaz Green still in their back pocket, it's going to be hard for the deeper guys to land a roster spot. Weems' job is a little safer right now with Green injured, but Wetzel's days are numbered.

You could throw R.J. Dill's name on this list too, but I don't think people have much expectations for him.

Deontay Greenberry

It must be tough when your chances of making the team are slim to none. When you drop an easy slant pass that would have resulted in a first down, that pushes your chances closer to the "none" side. Greenberry had only two targets and zero catches. While the fifth wide receiver spot is far from decided, Greenberry's chances just got a whole lot slimmer.

Everyone on Special Teams

With as many good special team caliber players on this roster, it was surprising to see the team struggle in this department. While the team is still experimenting with different assortments, it's not that unexpected to see the chemistry all out of whack. Once roles are more defined, the team should see good improvement in this area. But so far - it was dreadful.

Those are my grades for the Chargers game. Are there any players you saw that warrant some extra marks in the grade book?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys