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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Things That Stood Out In The 49ers Game

Latest Cowboys headlines: With the game against the 49ers completed, experts offer up their assessment of the 23-6 shootout.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys were the only team to score an offensive touchdown in the game, so technically, they are the winners.

Cowboys @ 49ers Preseason: Cowboys Win Again, Now Two For Two - Blogging The Boys
Despite what you are hearing on the television, the Cowboys are actually undefeated in the preseason.

What about the running game? Well, it was atrocious. But before you let anybody send you into a DeMarco Murray induced downward spiral, remember a few things. With barely any Tony Romo, no Dez Bryant, no Jason Witten, no Tyron Smith, no Zack Martin, no Ron Leary and just a little Doug Free, what did you expect? There was no real passing threat to balance the run, and there wasn't the line out there that you'll see in the regular season. In essence, this was a second-string offense. So expecting Joseph Randle or Darren McFadden to put on a show would have been delusional.

True, but seriously though - are any of those guys really that important?

Bob Sturm’s morning after: Some observations on otherwise meaningless Cowboys-49ers game | Dallas Morning News
It may be disappointing to watch the team play one depth level behind their opponents, but as Sturm points out - the Cowboys are being overly cautious for a reason.

Last year, Sean Lee was lost in OTAs, the year before Tyrone Crawford was gone the first practice in Oxnard. The year before that, Jay Ratliff went down. The Cowboys know all about losing a key part or two before they get to Week 1.

And the Cowboys lackluster performance of the backup offensive linemen points to just how valuable it is to bring in quality players at this position.

What was clear is that if you are going to put reserves against reserves in any competitive NFL setting, you will quickly notice that the pass rushers are way ahead of the pass protectors. This goes on all around the league, but it becomes pretty obvious why offensive tackles who have rare traits (Tyron Smith) go quickly in Round 1.

Former Cowboys defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff suspended for violating NFL's substance-abuse policy | Dallas Morning News
Speaking of Ratliff, his propensity of not being able to play in football games seems to be carrying over to his new team.

Ratliff will miss games against the Packers, Cardinals and Seahawks before he is eligible to return to the active roster on Monday, Sept. 28.

Babe Laufenberg: At least one thing was clarified during Cowboys’ preseason game vs. 49ers | Dallas Morning News
Is it time for the Cowboys to give their UDFA ace offensive lineman a new assignment?

On if the Cowboys should be worried about their offensive line:

Laufenberg: "We all know when the starters return, that line will look a lot different. San Francisco threw a ton of blitzes at the backup guys, and the combination of o-line, QBs and running backs did not execute well. Not unexpected. That was as much blitzing as I have seen from a team in preseason. But this is clear to me: the Cowboys do not have a third tackle with NFL ability. So as much as they want to let La’el Collins develop at guard, he needs to move out and get extensive work at tackle. Like maybe tomorrow."

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Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers: Analysis From Up High At Levi - Blogging The Boys
Michael gives his birds eye view analysis of the 49ers game, including more praise for the pass rushers.

Randy Gregory was one of our players to watch after the game in San Diego, and he surely did not disappoint. Gregory showed some true power at the defensive end position and was able to get to the quarterback for a second straight week and he forced two holding calls on the 49ers. Gregory has really been a wonderful surprise when most suggested he needed more weight to perform. He's had a great camp and it shows with every snap he takes. Obviously, working with Tyron Smith has been a tremendous learning tool for the rookie. He's going to be very good folks; very good. Ryan Russell saw his hard work pay off with a sack and has shown to be a solid addition to the rotation. Ben Gardner got his sack that sent Cowboys Nation into a frenzy. Another standout performer had to be Davon Coleman and for a while there it seemed he was the only one making the tackles. Solid performance for the "rushmen."

Texas vs. Oklahoma: Cowboys TE Geoff Swaim impresses again in push for roster spot over TE James Hanna | Dallas Morning News
When the Cowboys traded a 2016 draft pick to select this blocking specialist TE, the big question around the water cooler was, "but can he catch the ball?" Well, early reviews suggest that he can.

While he continues to make catches, he still finds himself in a tough position battle with James Hanna. "The minute you step back and say, ‘Oh, wow, how cool is this?’ sometimes you take your foot off the gas," Swaim said. "I don’t think that I can afford to do that right now. It doesn’t matter if you are drafted or wherever, you are always on the chopping block."

Cowboys Stock Watch: Swaim, Gibson on rise as Bailey, Randle fall | Dallas Morning News
Could there be a new name in the mix for the swing tackle role?

Stock rising:

Laurence Gibson; OT; Laurence Gibson became a forgotten man after La’el Collins joined the team with much fanfare after the draft. But the seventh-round pick turned fared well Sunday. In fact, ProFootballFocus.com rated him as the top performer on offense. And while that is not saying that much after the Cowboys managed six points against the 49ers, it is notable considering Dallas could be looking for a swing tackle now that Darrion Weems is losing his grasp on that spot.

Stock Falling:

Darrion Weems; OT; It’s not necessarily a bad thing when fans are kvetching about the deficiencies at swing tackle – a reserve role. That means the team is pretty solid in all of the major spots and people have been forced to scour the depth chart to find something worthy of concern. But this position is now a source of worry. Weems has underperformed in the two preseason games. He’s been called for three penalties and allowed two sacks. No lineman has been given a worse rating by ProFootballFocus.com than Weems.

Sabin: If Cole Beasley and Lance Dunbar are legitimate return options, here's when you'll see them | Dallas Morning News
Rainer Sabin takes on some chat questions:

If Cole Beasley or Lance Dunbar are return options, shouldn't we see them on special teams the final two games? Or can they go into the season without any game action? If they are indeed return options, you should see them in the third preseason game. This is the dress rehearsal game.

I guess we'll learn the answer to that one on Saturday.

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Dallas Cowboys Have The No. 1 Defense In The NFL - Blogging The Boys
If you think the Cool One is just up to some sort of "gotcher nose" trick, think again. He is 100% statistically spot on accurate in this declaration. But it's just preseason, so what does it really mean?

It means that if you're going to complain about the offensive performance, you had better be bragging about the Cowboys' league-leading defense.

Seems reasonable.

Barry Church: Difference between this Cowboys defense and last year's will be 'night and day' | Dallas Morning News
With a name like Church, he's got to be telling the truth, right?

On how different the defense will be this year:

"This year, just the level of the competition and the level of talent has just risen to the top. You’ve got Gregory in there, you’ve got Hardy coming off the edge, Mincey is still in there, Crawford is coming along nicely, that difference is going to be night and day. And what you’re going to see out there is the quarterback is not going to have as much time back there to throw the ball so he’s not going to be able to go through his progressions to find the open receiver. … That’s a means we don’t have to cover as long and that’s a great opportunity for tips and overthrows and that’s where I thrive."

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee more than ready to make preseason debut Saturday vs. Minnesota | | Dallas Morning News
It's going to be so refreshing to have players on the field that know how to tackle people.

"You want to be out there with the guys and playing football," Lee said after the loss to the 49ers. "But they have a plan for me and I’m just going to follow it. Next week should be a good week to start playing."

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Mailbag: Eligibility Rules For Practice Squad? Showers' Shot At The 53? | Dallas Cowboys
With the performance of Dustin Vaughan and Jameill Showers, Cowboys Nation is buzzing with their own thoughts on who should make the team. David Helman and Bryan Broaddus takes on the question:

What are the chances of Jameill Showers making this roster as a special teams player -- such as a gunner on kickoff? He seems to be making or around the tackle every time he's on the field. Plausible or just not happening?

David: As we stand right now, I’m not convinced this team has any business carrying three quarterbacks. So I’m not ready to bump Showers to the 53 just yet. But I will say, if he continues to make it a competition with Dustin Vaughan, and he continues to excel in multiple special team spots, I’d certainly say it’s plausible.

Bryan: If you keep him as the third quarterback that's his best way to make this team. You could keep him on the roster if you think that he is better than say, Danny McCray, as that second core special team player -- so there are a couple of different options that way.

I like Broaddus' way of thinking. Showers is one of the few bright spots on special teams and why waste a roster spot for one-trick-pony, McCray? Keeping Jameill could offer up two roles with one roster spot.

Backup Quarterback Picture Just Gets Murkier For Cowboys - Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys made it hard for fans to pick out a quarterback they liked because all the non-Weeden's kept throwing interceptions. Tom takes a look at the teams backup QB situation, but promises no comforting words to make you feel better.

It seems a long time since we were wondering if this was the year that Vaughan was going to push Weeden for his job. Based on the issues he had early in camp and the two interception, 20.8 passer rating performance in San Francisco, he is not only no threat to Weeden, he may need to be looking over his shoulder. Showers not only just looked more like an NFL quarterback who did not panic or stare down his first option at receiver, he also logged three tackles, two on special teams and one to stop the Niners from taking his errant two-point conversion attempt down the field for their own score. If one developmental QB is not, well, developing, why not move on?

And finally, Jerry has to say something to someone.

Cowboys owner Jones apologizes to 49ers for grass comment | CSN Bay Area
Jerry apologizes for poor performance...I mean, his comments about poor field conditions.

"By the way, let me say this, anything I said about that grass, I'm wrong, I take back. It's a great playing surface," Jones said, unprompted. "They've done a lot of work. I feel terrible that in any way without coming up here and doing my own grass inspection that I had any criticism of their grass. "

His own grass inspection? What does that consist of exactly? I don't know, but I bet he makes his son-in-law check it.

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