The Dallas Cowboys second preseason game is done and they gave us plenty to sift through in their 21-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. So, how did they players perform? With roster spots still up for grabs, there is plenty to play for and every play matters. Here is a rundown of the offensive players that stood out in the game, good or bad.
Stock up: Dak Prescott
Stock down: Mike White
The starters scored in two of their three drives on the day. Prescott took really good care of the ball by mostly throwing short passes and only averaging 5.7 yards per attempt. It wasn’t explosive, but it was efficient. Dak moved well out of the pocket and made some nice throws on the run. There were a couple instances where Prescott would have opted to take off and run had it been a regular season game, but he airmailed the passes instead. It was a solid game for the Cowboys young quarterback.
Dak Prescott has averaged 1 TD for every 10 passes attempted in the preseason.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 19, 2018
Career preseason stats: 90 attempts, 798 yards, 9 TDs, 0 INTs
Rookie quarterback Mike White had another uninspiring performance. He was 8/16 for 76 yards. White didn’t have a lot of time in the pocket as the second-string offensive line was terrible, but he wasn’t able to capitalize on the throws he did have. There were a few drops from his receivers as they couldn’t handle some of the bullets he was firing. His best play came when Rico Gathers bailed him out by going up and stealing the ball from the defender.
White’s place on the team is in question. Nothing about his performance warrants keeping around, but is the team still interested in putting this guy in their back pocket?
Stock up: Darius Jackson
Stock down: Bo Scarbrough
To be fair, there were not very many running lanes for the Cowboys third- and fourth-string running backs Bo Scarbrough and Darius Jackson. While Bo couldn’t do anything with his opportunities (four carries for -2 yards), Jackson showed the ability to make cuts and create things for himself. He was impressive and I think it’s fair to say we have a legit competition for that last running back spot.
Stock up: All of the starters who are healthy
Stock down: All of the reserves who are not
Both Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup came through with multiple third-down conversions for the offense. They are both breaking out of their cuts well, creating enough space for Dak Prescott to have a window, and showing good hands to haul in the pass. These were the same type of plays last year where Dez Bryant wasn’t able to bring down the catch, whether it was his hands or the fact that the defender was all over him still to contest the catch. This is an area the Cowboys were adamant about improving and all signs point to them accomplishing that. People down on the this team’s receiving group better reevaluate things. While they don’t have a superstar no. 1 wide receiver, they have a slew of players that are pretty darn good.
Lance Lenoir caught the only pass that was thrown to him for 19 yards. It was the longest reception of any Cowboys wide receiver.
Stock up: Rico Gathers
Stock down: Blake Jarwin
Really, there is not much that has changed here. I was surprised to see Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz all on the field at the same time with the first team, and it wasn’t in running situations. They let these guys loose and at different times, Prescott would give these guys looks. All three did fine with underneath stuff, but nobody displayed the ability to get open down field. Swaim and Schultz made the most out of their targets, while Dak had trouble connecting with Jarwin. There is no standout receiving tight end on this roster. The main three look very similar and I don’t know which one they are until I see their number.
And then there’s Rico Gathers who will flash every now and then. While his opportunities continue to be limited, he has the ability to make big plays and that’s what he did on Saturday. Gathers 25-yard reception was the team’s longest play from scrimmage.
Stock up: The backup guards
Stock down: The backup tackles
Connor Williams is still playing like a rookie as some plays are good and some aren’t. His inconsistency is masked with the first-team unit, but there is no one to bail him out on the second team. Bengals defensive tackle Andrew Billings had his way with Williams on a couple occasions. The rookie did have a nice heads-up play recovering the Cooper Rush fumble, which leads us to the unfortunate news of...
Chaz Green has gots-to-go. It is growing tiresome watching defenders fly around him like his feet are stuck in concrete. In run-blocking, he doesn’t appear to know where he supposed to go. On one play, he actually blocked Kadeem Edwards in the back, pushing him off the man he was blocking.
It’s one thing if you’re not going to block someone, but don’t make it worse by blocking your own teammate. I’m at a loss for what the coaching staff sees that makes them think he could come in and block in a pinch. But enough about him, how did the other guys do?
Joe Looney was better than average. There were some moments where he got pushed around, but mostly he was doing the pushing. Because he was filling in for the injured Travis Frederick, he got a heavy workload of snaps.
Cameron Fleming was below average. Carl Lawson led all rookies with 8.5 sacks last year and he just plowed through Fleming like he wasn’t even there. There were a handful of times where the edge rusher got around him with ease, and some of these guys were third-stringers. It’s a little concerning that the Cowboys new free agent swing tackle is not playing better than he is as it makes us wonder if he can hold up against some of the best starting edge rushers in the league should his number be called.
Kadeem Edwards did a really good job pulling and getting into the second level. He had a hand in helping create holes for Jackson to get loose. He’s a bubble guy, but considering the shape of the offensive line depth, his job on the roster appears safe. Because of the dysfunction at the backup tackle position, I wonder if the coaching staff would give him a go on the outside? Looney is the teams best interior blocker and is the go-to guy should one of the starters get hurt, meaning Edwards services wouldn’t be called upon until multiple players got hurt. The team needs to do something to shore up their depth at tackle and maybe Edwards is a guy who can help?