The Cowboys finished up their preseason with a 21-14 victory over the Texans Thursday night. As the starters rested to get ready for the season, the players farther down the depth charter were fighting for jobs. Whether it is a spot on the Dallas Cowboys or for some other team, the final preseason game is their last chance to show people what they've got.
Here are ten things that caught my eye.
1. Dustin Vaughan is not making the 53.
The Cowboys third-string quarterback had a better showing against the Texans than in prior preseason games, but he was still unimpressive. There were several passes that sailed over the receivers head. Things were not looking promising for Vaughan entering the game, and he did nothing to change that.
2. Ken Bishop will be playing on some other team.
The battle between Davon Coleman and Ken Bishop looked to have been settled already as Coleman has been playing great throughout training camp. Even still, Bishop is no slouch. He's good enough to make an NFL team, but the Cowboys just don't have room. The question becomes, will the Cowboys be able get some value for him in a trade or do they roll the dice and put him on the practice squad? Either one of these scenarios would mean he stands a good chance suiting up for another team in 2015.
3. Keith Smith should make this team.
If you bought stock in number 56 earlier in training camp, then you would be pleased with watching it rise from week to week. Smith cashed in another strong game including a should-have-been defensive score after picking up a fumble (that was ruled incomplete by a gun-jumping referee) and running it back for the touchdown. Jason Garrett challenged the play and the call was overturned to give the Cowboys the ball, but Smith was robbed of having his teammates jumping up and down, patting his helmet as they celebrate in the end zone. Like his other preseason games, he could always be found making tackles and had a nice strip of the Texan's running back.
4. Jameill Showers must be a secret weapon.
Fans waiting to get a good look at Showers behind center were disappointed as Vaughan took all the snaps. Why not give the rookie a chance? The only explanation that seems reasonable is that the Cowboys are trying to sneak him onto the practice squad and don't want to give other teams a good look at him.
5. Byron Jones had a few mistakes.
The Cowboys first-round pick played a lot of the game and definitely didn't escape with a clean sheet. He allowed some catches to bottom of the roster guys and wasn't always in the best position. Sometimes he was slow to react, maybe thinking too much as a rookie. Nothing too much to worry about, we'll see if he can turn it on when the real games begin.
6. Laurence Gibson looks like a practice squad candidate.
The Cowboys seventh-round draft pick looked like he had a chance to make the 53-man roster after putting together a nice performance against San Francisco. However, since then he has struggled. He looked off balance a lot and got called for a holding penalty. He had started to look like a risky play to put on the practice squad, but he might be safe now.
7. There is just no competition for Lucky Whitehead.
With Whitehead not doing anything to run away with the fifth wide receiver spot, the door has been left open. The problem is, nobody is coming through it. A.J. Jenkins had been coming on strong and was looking like the best option to give Lucky a run for his money, but with a nice performance against Minnesota last week, Whitehead might have separated himself. Jenkins didn't flash anything great in this game. Whitehead looked good as a receiver and got the crowd excited a couple times when he found some holes while returning punts. Lucky seems to have this spot locked down.
8. Tim Scott is a dark horse candidate for a roster spot.
The Orlando Scandrick injury means the Cowboys are now sitting at five cornerbacks, which could make it hard to cut the fourth safety. That's good news for Danny McCray who is on the bubble. Well, McCray isn't sitting alone for this fourth safety spot anymore. The play of undrafted rookie safety Tim Scott make things interesting. Scott has been making plays on defense and made a McCray-like play on special teams.
9. Lavar Edwards is still edging out Ben Gardner.
One of the toughest roster battles has been between Edwards and Gardner. This one might come down to "best fit" as the talent of these guys are pretty close. With Edwards notching another preseason sack, he is the front runner to secure the last edge rusher spot. Should Gardner not be in the mix for the 53, he could be a trade candidate or another player fans would hold their breath until he clears waivers for the practice squad.
10. The Funky Ben Malena wants Gus Johnson's spot on the practice squad.
Gus "Bus" is still my pick for the running back that lands a spot on the practice squad. He had a nice touchdown run where he sliced through defenders. Ben Malena had some nice runs of his own, including his own touchdown where he pushed his way into the end zone. This one should be close, but I know who Anthony Dorsett Jr. will be rooting for.
Those are the things that stood out to me. What about you?