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Cowboys @ 49ers: The good, the bad, and the “what the...?”

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A look back reveals good and bad in the Cowboys performance against the 49ers.

NFL: AUG 10 Preseason - Cowboys at 49ers Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One preseason game complete for the Dallas Cowboys as they prepare for the 2019 regular season. The Cowboys lost 17-9 but it’s never really the final score that’s of concern in the preseason, it’s how did the different elements of the team perform. So let’s take a look at that broken down into three categories.

The Good

Michael Gallup: He only played on series but he did it without his partner Amari Cooper. That made Gallup the #1 receiver for the night and on his drive he looked the part, catching two of Dak Prescott’s four passes and drawing a pass interference call. Gallup really started to come on at the end of 2018, and for one series on Saturday night he carried on looking the part of dangerous receiver.

Blake Jarwin: The Cowboys leading receiver by receptions on the evening was Jarwin. Four catches for 51 yards in place of the resting Jason Witten showed that Jarwin is making his case for playing time with Witten. We’ve been hearing about his potential for a while, maybe he is starting to come into his own.

Backup DEs: This one took a while to get going, so if you only went by the first few drives for the 49ers you might have missed it. And don’t get fooled by the stats either. Taco Charlton, Dorance Armstrong, Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson each had moments worth appreciating. Charlton had one QB hit, a couple of pressures and drew a couple of holding calls, one that prevented him from getting a sack. Armstrong had a tackle for loss combined with a few disruptive penetrations including a QB hit. Jelks got the team’s only sack and was also disruptive while drawing a penalty. Jackson had four tackles, a QB hit, and drew a penalty on the 49ers for his efforts. The Cowboys only had one sack, but the plethora of holding penalties on the 49ers can be attributed to the work of this group.

Travis Frederick: It would take a film review to see just how Fredbeard did, but just the fact he was out there playing was a major victory.

Starting defensive backs: They only played briefly, but looked good while on the field. Jourdan Lewis shot through to stop a screen before it started. Chidobe Awuzie had a pass break up. Anthony Brown made a great tackle to keep the 49ers from a first down. Without Byron Jones, they still looked good. The one blemish was a Jeff Heath pass interference call that extended a drive.

The Bad

Trysten Hill: The Cowboys first pick in the 2019 draft got plenty of playing time, especially toward the end against the 49ers backups to the backups. You would expect some action from him. Instead... crickets. He didn’t even scratch on the stat sheet and never really had his name called for disruptive play. Rod Marinelli pounded the table to get him, let’s hope it was just first game jitters for the defensive tackle.

Mike White: Slow progression reads, poor pocket awareness, loose with the football? Yep, Mike White was back to his previous form. In his defense, his offensive line wasn’t doing him any favors, but White looked like the same player he was last preseason. The Cowboys need to play him with the 2s next week and see if he really has progressed at all.

Mitch Hyatt: This popular pet cat took an absolute beating in the game. You could count three plays where he basically did nothing to stop his man. For a two-time college All-American on a championship team, he certainly looked entirely overwhelmed in the game. Maybe it was first game jitters, but it was less than auspicious.

Vanilla play-calling: Okay, this really isn’t a bad. We knew it was coming because we were basically told it beforehand, but the Cowboys offense looked like the 2018 Scott Linehan version instead of the new-fangled 2019 Kellen Moore version. This was by design for the preseason, but it still frustrated the fanbase. Especially when the team couldn’t convert a third and short late in the game and avoided the end zone all night. Bad memories came rushing back.

The “What the...?”

Jon’Vea Johnson: Talk about being all over the map. Johnson is his own personal good and bad section. On the good side, he was targeted a team-high eight times, proving he was getting open. He caught three passes, including a nice sideline toe-tap play. He also drew a long pass interference call. On the other hand, he dropped a super-easy third-down conversion, had another pass knocked out of his hands, and went out of bounds before trying to catch a pass leading to a penalty.

Brett Maher: Yes, he was three of four so there was some good there. But why does he constantly miss what should be an easy field goal for an NFL kicker? It’s hard to trust any kick he takes.

Dak Prescott throws pass completion to himself: Prescott went four for four. Two passes to Gallup, one to Tavon Austin and one to... Dak Prescott? Yes, he completed a pass to himself. You won’t see that too often.