We did it, fam. We did it. The preseason is over!
Football is officially back in our lives what with tons of college games in the books already (including a nice win from my Texas A&M Aggies... whoop!). Football is also back for the Dallas Cowboys as the exhibition part of things is in the past and the next time they hit the field it will be 100% for real.
Next Sunday, the Cowboys will host the New York Giants but before that happens they’ll have to finalize their 53-man roster. What happened on the field Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers plays a part in roster construction, so who did their part to earn a spot?
In fact, who did well in general? I’m so happy that you asked. Sit back, grab a snack, and let’s talk some winners and losers. Onward!
Winner: Donovan Olumba
It’s going to be interesting to see what the Cowboys do at cornerback but it feels like whatever they do it can’t be done without Donovan Olumba.
Olumba did everything he could to make the team by putting an exclamation point on a great preseason with an interception on the team’s first defensive possession that he took all the way to the house. He feels safely on the team... right?
Winner: Donovan Wilson
The other Donovan had seemingly already punched his ticket to 53-man roster land, but another interception certainly didn’t hurt his cause. Unfortunately Wilson exited the game with an ankle injury, but he did return to the sidelines with it heavily taped.
Wilson is someone who the Cowboys have really liked from the very beginning. Just look at what Chris Hall said about him right after the draft.
We’ve got ourselves a safety.
Winner: Jon’vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton
It’s not like JVJ set any records or did anything supremely special, but he did have a few catches and that was not exactly something that we saw from him early in the preseason. Jalen Guyton had a touchdown!
Plenty of people planted their flag in both the Johnson and Guyton camps when training camp began but those dreams were never truly realized. They may have earned themselves some spots on the practice squad if the shoulder injury Johnson is dealing with isn’t too big of a deal, but who knows. It was still nice to see them have some success.
Winner: Justin Phillips
We’ll see what happens at the linebacker group but it’s really hard to see how Justin Phillips isn’t a part of it. The Cowboys have Luke Gifford who they need to get onto injured reserve if that is the plan and Phillips seems like the perfect guy to do whatever they need.
Players like Phillips aren’t super splashy but they’re difficult to find. He popped all over the place on Thursday night and needs to be kept around.
Winner: Taryn Christion
Interestingly the Cowboys got some surprising play out of a quarterback who wasn’t Dak Prescott or Cooper Rush... it was from Taryn Christion.
This is in all likelihood the end of the road for Jameill Showers with the Cowboys which means they’ll need someone else to fill that role (however you define it). Christion has shown enough athleticism all around that it makes sense for him to be that guy. The fact that he did it against the Buccaneers might be the stamp of approval he needed.
Loser: Trysten Hill
It was not a good night for the team’s second-round draft pick, Trysten Hill got pushed around a lot by Tampa Bay.
Hill is a raw rookie and while the hope is to see something special from him right away, it hasn’t happened yet. If you play poorly people are going to be disappointed.
Loser: Kasey Redfern... the field goal kicker
The Cowboys might feel so comfortable with Brett Maher because they’ve seen Kasey Redfern attempt field goals. It wasn’t a pretty night for number one.
The truth is Redfern is more of a punter anyway but he didn’t exactly show off much versatility on Thursday night. There are still some that believe he can spell Chris Jones from the squad, but it feels unlikely.
Loser: Reggie Davis
It wasn’t like Davis stood much of a chance to make the team’s roster, but he had a game worth forgetting. It’s not just the Cowboys that are evaluating these players after all, it’s the entire NFL.
Davis had two targets and no receptions and his second was a drop that hit him right in the hands. No bueno.
Loser: Mike White
While White didn’t have the worst performance we’ve seen from him he still failed to do anything special. That couldn’t happen in this game given how much he played and what was on the line for him.
Entering Thursday night there were people who thought White might be a practice squad candidate for the Cowboys but it feels like that spot would be better served by the aforementioned Taryn Christion. Mike White’s time in Dallas might be running out.
Loser: Mike Jackson
Given the great cornerback play we’ve seen throughout the preseason in general and from Olumba on Thursday night... Mike Jackson might be the odd man out.
Sometimes when roster decisions are being made it simply is a matter of math. The Cowboys are going to reach a maximum number at cornerback and their fifth-round draft pick might be on the outside looking in.
And there you have it, our final winners and losers from the preseason. It’s exciting to know that the next time we get together for this song and dance that it’ll be the real thing with real consequences on the line.
Roster trim downs will be happening this weekend so things will be busy at BTB. There will be a whole lot of winners and losers in that regard, just as there will be next Sunday.
Hopefully the Cowboys are winners and the Giants are losers. That sounds good.