The Dallas Cowboys are officially one quarter of the way through their 2019 preseason games. Nobody will truly lose sleep over who won the game, but a lot of observations can and should be taken from Saturday night in San Francisco.
This was the first football game that we saw the Cowboys play in about seven months and coincidentally they picked up right where they left off as far as geographical location in the state of California. The team will stay in Oxnard for a few more days before finishing up training camp at The Star in Frisco, but it feels great to have preseason football to discuss finally.
Remember, things are never as good or as bad as they seem. The intentions behind coaching staffs in these games are significantly different than in the regular season, but with all that being said we can still draw some important conclusions.
What did you think after seeing four quarters from America’s Team for the first time in half of a year? We’ve got winners, losers, and a whole lot to talk about.
Winner: Tony Pollard
He only got four carries, but Tony Pollard produced 16 really impressive yards.
We’ve heard so much about Pollard and how exciting of a runner he is. We saw that. We saw his shiftiness at play and why the Cowboys believed enough to spend a fourth-round pick on him. That’s very good news.
It was impractical to believe that Pollard was going to set some sort of record on Saturday night, but truthfully his stat line is irrelevant. He looks like a great runner. That’s very good news.
Winner: Blake Jarwin
Obviously Jason Witten has returned to the Cowboys this season, but man, Blake Jarwin is looking good.
Jarwin was targeted five times in the game and hauled in four of them for 51 yards. If you’re averaging over 12 yards per reception you’re likely going to be making a difference for your offense and that’s the type of thing that Jarwin can do.
The Cowboys will be doing themselves a disservice if they don’t utilize him a ton this season. His talent cannot be ignored or swept under the Witten rug.
Winner: Luke Gifford and Cedrick Wilson’s play on the field
You could make a great argument that the best nights on the field were had by Luke Gifford and Cedrick Wilson. Unfortunately, both left the field with injuries (more on that in a bit).
Gifford had an interception. This is a very good thing, especially for a linebacker that’s already turning some heads. Wilson managed to reel in three catches for 36 yards, but more than how much he produced it was the fact that he was so wide open in the middle of the field that said a lot.
These are two players that really made a dent in their quest to make the Cowboys, unfortunately it wasn’t a totally clean night for them.
Winner: Donovan Wilson
George Iloka also left the game with an injury issue (shoulder), but right after that his position group saw someone step up. Say hello to safety Donovan Wilson, ladies and gentlemen!
The Cowboys already have a sixth-round safety on their roster that they love in Xavier Woods, but Donovan Wilson is doing what he can to put himself in that club. Big plays like this in the preseason are how guys make teams and Wilson certainly has a great shot after the first exhibition game.
Winner: Joe Jackson
Joe Jackson has been someone who’s garnered the attention of plenty important people within the Cowboys early on during this overall preseason time of year, and he justified that on Saturday night.
When you’re watching preseason games you have to watch for effort, skill, and tons of hustle. Jackson had all three in serious degrees as he was out there giving his all throughout the entire contest. With spots open at defensive end in the time being his chances are improving for multiple reasons. Good for him.
Loser: The hope of escaping with no injuries
The first interception of the preseason was, as mentioned, had by linebacker Luke Gifford. It was awesome.
Unfortunately, not long after that Gifford went down with what looked to be an apparent leg injury. You never want to see this ever, but it has an extra layer of “ugh” in the preseason as so many of these guys are trying to make their team’s roster. Gifford has a shot and this looked like it could potentially impede that, but thankfully it was reported to be “only” an ankle sprain.
Cedrick Wilson also got clipped by the injury bug, one named Adrian Colbert. Colbert laid one of the worst hits you can on a defenseless receiver, so much so that he got ejected for it. Get well soon, Ced.
Loser: Jon’vea Johnson
It was a rough beginning to the night for JVJ as he had some pretty not-so-good drops. To his credit he rebounded a bit at the end of the first half, but any kind of drops for a receiver that’s in a battle with a lot of guys for one spot (in all likelihood) is not good.
No receiver can afford to have bad preseason games, especially when others are performing well in the same contest like Cedrick Wilson did.
Loser: Mike White
Cooper Rush didn’t exactly light the world on fire during his time in the game on Saturday, but Mike White managed to make it feel like Cooper did.
White held on to the ball far too long, took some bad sacks, and generally was a bad quarterback in the action that he saw. What’s more is in the fourth quarter he even fumbled the ball. You can’t do that.
White even had four chances near the goal line at the end of the game to just do something with. He managed not to anything and put forth a pretty miserable effort in the process of trying.
There are many who think that the Cowboys will only carry two quarterbacks on the final 53-man roster, White isn’t doing himself any favors to make sure that he’s one of them.
Loser: Mike Jackson and Mitch Hyatt
While Jerry Jones has been raving about Joe Jackson for about a week now, the other Jackson drafted in the fifth round out of Miami likely won’t get too many kudos after Saturday’s game.
Mike Jackson struggled with Deebo Samuel. Badly.
Jackson was hardly the only rookie to struggle in San Francisco, heck he was hardly the only one who’s name starts with an M. UDFA Mitch Hyatt, who many are very high on, did not have a good evening.
Hopefully this was an outlier?
Loser: Brett Maher
It feels strange to say that a kicker who made three field goals on the night was a loser, but Brett Maher had to be perfect to be a winner on Saturday night.
Maher has been shaky before for the Cowboys and has been throughout training camp. A 75% success rate (he was 3 of 4 on the night) isn’t going to calm anyone’s fears, he simply has to be better.
It’s time for the Cowboys to bring in competition for him. It’s been time.