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Cowboys news: Dak Prescott and Michael Gallup’s chemistry is growing, which is huge for Dallas

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Plus, Taco Charlton and Joe Thomas performed well against the Texans.

NFL: Preseason-Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

10 things we learned from the Cowboys’ most important preseason game - Jon Machota, The Athletic

Machota wrote on ten things we learned from the Cowboys’ preseason win over the Texans, including that Dallas is confident in Dak Prescott entering the season.

The Cowboys feel like four preseason series are enough for Prescott. He completed 2 of 5 passes against Houston for 22 yards and a touchdown. Prescott’s preseason totals are 11 of 14 passing for 109 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a 122.9 passer rating.

The four series have resulted in two touchdowns, a field goal and one three-and-out.

“I feel great,” Prescott said of his preseason work. “I’m in the position I want to be in. I feel the best that I’ve ever felt, from every aspect of the quarterback position going into Week 1.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he “couldn’t be more pleased” about where Prescott is entering the regular season. The two sides would like to reach a long-term contract agreement before Week 1, but there has been no recent momentum in negotiations.

It is also awesome to see Prescott and second-year WR Michael Gallup developing a chemistry on the field.

As Prescott fought to get away from pressure, Gallup created some separation in the front of the endzone and presented his QB with a big target. The play resulted in a 12-yard touchdown reception as Prescott threw a precise pass on the run.

“He did a great job of getting open, showing me his numbers and giving me a place to throw the ball,” Prescott said of Gallup. “I just had to make the throw and he went and made a great contested catch. Something good to see from a young guy like Michael Gallup, who has grown so much over the last year or so and is always trying to figure out how he can get better.

“I missed him during that first drive and that was all on me. He comes back asking me why I wanted to know the reasons. That just shows you the maturity he has taken and the mature level he has gotten to of wanting to know why if it’s his fault, if it’s not his fault. A lot of good things are going to come from him.”

Scout’s Notebook: Gallup Continues To Ascend - Bryan Broaddus, The Mothership

Broaddus is back with the Scout’s Notebook, and he highlighted Gallup and some receivers in this week’s edition.

I continue to be encouraged by what I’ve seen from Michael Gallup in the opportunities he’s gotten with Amari Cooper (heel) currently out of the lineup. I had some questions about whether he could carry the load if something were to happen to Cooper, but he’s showing he very well could do that. His route running and finish have been impressive. He doesn’t get knocked around as much as he once did. He’s playing with better power and strength. He’s now making plays on those contested passes that once gave him problems. A great example was the touchdown he caught on the scramble from Dak Prescott where he fought for positioning and the ball.

Special teams could very well be the deciding factor for who makes the roster between Devin Smith and Cedrick Wilson.

I could go either way on Devin Smith and Cedrick Wilson in this receiver battle. Just when I think one’s ahead of the other, the guy that I think is behind finds a way to make a play. I thought both played very well against the Texans, not only on offensive snaps but on special teams as well. It might very well come down to which player they can take to the game and give them the most snaps each week.

Spagnola: Some Fixer-Upper At Wide Receiver - The Mothership

How much has the wide receivers room changed since this time last year?

Good gosh, not one season-opening starter from last season still here. Not one guy in the top three from last year still on the team. And one of those guys from last year’s initial top six, Austin, missed nine games last year.

So we’re looking at serious refurbishing of a position group. As you know, two of my current top three were not even here at the start of last year, Cooper playing the first seven games with the Raiders and Cobb spending his first eight seasons in the league with the Green Bay Packers.

Now Gallup did eventually move into the starting lineup for nine games his 2018 rookie season. But my other two who are making a serious run at this 53-man roster, Smith and Wilson, didn’t even play a single regular-season down of football last year, Wilson spending the entire season on injured reserve and Smith out of football, still rehabbing after tearing the same ACL for a second time in 2017.

Some reclamation project.

Film room: 3 things we learned from Cowboys’ dominant win over Texans, including critical 53-man roster auditions - John Owning, SportsDay

Owning went to the tape and came away with three takeaways from Saturday’s blowout win, including just how important Joe Thomas is to this team

Joe Thomas is the most valuable (non-QB) backup on the Cowboys’ roster

Because he backs-up three Pro Bowlers, Joe Thomas’ skill set is often underrated by the casual fan. However, because of an injury to Sean Lee, Thomas has been given the opportunity to show his value throughout training camp and the preseason.

Thomas has made the most of his opportunities, as the defense has seen no drop off without Lee in the lineup throughout the preseason.

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Not only is Thomas the primary backup to all three linebacker positions (when Jaylon Smith missed time during camp, it was Thomas who slide over the Mike LB position), but he’s also one of the best special-teams contributors on the roster, as evidenced by the punt block that he recovered for a touchdown.

And Kerry Hyder may have just locked up a roster spot.

Moreover, Hyder’s versatility to be an effective pass rusher from the three-technique position should allow him to carve out a real role in the Cowboys’ defensive line rotation this season.

If there were any concerns about Hyder’s roster chances before Houston, the Texas Tech product effectively silenced them Saturday night.

Welcome to the 53-man roster, Mr. Hyder.

Devin Smith, Joe Thomas among Cowboys with big performances vs. Texans - Calvin Watkins, SportsDay

Devin Smith’s standout preseason continues, and Watkins also wrote a little on Joe Thomas.

It’s easy to forget about Dallas Cowboys strong side linebacker Joe Thomas sometimes. He plays in the base defense, which isn’t on the field much and he’s got two young rising players in Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith alongside him. And Thomas is now Sean Lee’s backup. But Thomas had a productive night with a blocked punt and a near Pick 6 against the Texans.

”Whatever they need me to do I’m going to do it,” Thomas said. “Whether it’s Mike or (weakside) or Sam I play all three position. I try to be versatile, I play special teams and I’m always going to be there. It’s whatever they need me, I’m going to step in and do my job.”

Taco: I’ve Still Got A Lot Of Stuff To Prove - David Helman, The Mothership

Love him or hate him, Taco Charlton is certainly an intriguing player on the Cowboys roster. After an impressive performance versus Houston, the 2017 first round pick said he still has a lot to prove.

“I’m willing and ready to play whenever,” Charlton said. “Just happy to be out here with my boys, playing the game I love to play.”

The Cowboys’ third-year veteran had one of the best performances of his career against Houston on Saturday night. Getting the start at right defensive end, he kick started a 34-0 victory when he sacked Deshaun Watson and recovered the ensuing fumble to set up the Cowboys’ first touchdown of the day.

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To Charlton’s credit, his only response to that scrutiny is to play through it – further into the preseason, if that’s what it comes to.

“I’ve still got a lot of work to do, a lot of stuff to prove,” he said. “This ain’t nothing to me. Lace ‘em up, let’s play. If I play the fourth game, I play the fourth game.”

Here’s what Jerry Jones said about Zeke, Dak and Taco after Cowboys’ win over Texans - Stefan Stevenson, The Star-Telegram

Jerry talked about Dak and Zeke, but also made sure to point out Taco’s game.

“I thought we got a lot of plays. Even though a bunch of them were called back on penalties, we still get to see the plays and we still get to see the players for a duration. One issue that you have in the preseason is you have issue of continuity, penalties. We have an issue seeing that and that keeps you away from evaluation. That’s what it is, but we got to see a lot of really good plays. It really didn’t surprise me in the ones that made the plays. Like the work Taco [Charlton] did tonight, you got to be proud for him. He’s come a long way.”

He also discussed Tony Pollard.

“Very much. He looks like he’s been doing this two or three years. Just his confidence you can see he knows what he’s doing because he’s got confidence and he’s got a portfolio on him. I think he’s got skills for just offensive football. He shows it every time he goes out there. At practice, preseason games. I’m very pleased with him. I thought that Alfred did some good things out there, 40 did some good things. Again real pleased with what we’ve got done. Now that we are of course coming on down here, we’re playing the giants right. I thought there was some really big advance toward being ready for the giants tonight.”

No contract update but Jerry Jones compares relationship with Zeke to Michael Irvin - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram

Jerry compared his relationship with Ezekiel Elliott to the one that he has with Cowboys legend Michael Irvin.

He compared their relationship to the one he has with Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, saying they have been through too much together to need to clear the air over a joke. Irvin had a string of off-field issues during a career that included three Super Bowl titles with the Cowboys.

“No. Not at all,” Jones said during a walk-off conversation underneath AT&T Stadium following the Cowboys 34-0 victory against the Texans. “No. We know each other. We have been in the battles with each other kind of like Michael trying to roll back and clear something out with me.”

Jones is optimistic that a deal with the All-Pro back will get done prior to the season.

“I’m optimistic that we can get Zeke’s deal done,” Jones said. “I don’t know that. I don’t know that. But sure, I don’t mean to be trite, but the whole premise is based on getting everybody under contract playing, so that’s what we’re trying to do here. Zeke’s under contract.”

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