While it’s always nice to win, what you really want to see out of a preseason game (besides no injuries) is improvement. Since starters either sit or play very little, it’s up to either fringe players, or young guys, to make their move and raise their stock. In the Cowboys loss to the Cardinals on Friday night, the Cowboys had a few players who stood out.
The Cowboys running back only had eight carries for 32 yards, but it was the way he got those yards that was impressive. On a night when Rico Dowdle put the ball on the ground, Hardy served notice that he deserves a little more of a look.
Hardy runs hard, and he doesn’t give up on a play. His run on a 2nd-and-1 in the third quarter was a master class of not giving up on a play. He had no business escaping the backfield on the play, but somehow managed to pick up five yards after bouncing outside. He also had an eight yard run later in the game that saw him break three tackles.
If nothing else, Hardy deserves a shot to battle Dowdle for the third running back spot.
Armstrong is one of those fringe players that manages to hang around but never really makes an impact. On Friday night, he was dominant. Five total tackles, two sacks, a batted pass that was almost an interception, and numerous pressures.
Armstrong faces an uphill battle for playing time with DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory starting, and Tarell Basham brought in to be the main third guy. There are also a host of guys like Ron’Dell Carter, Chauncey Golston and Bradlee Anae trying to grab playing time. On this night Armstrong helped his own cause.
The Cowboys linebacker group has definitely improved. The obvious part of that is first-round pick Micah Parsons. He’s been as advertised. Quietly, though, fourth-round pick Jabril Cox is starting to make his mark.
Last week versus Pittsburgh he put in a good second half. This week, he improved upon his stat line, leading the defense with eight total tackles, two of them for loss. Cox had a quiet training camp and didn’t flash like some other players, but in the two preseason games he’s shown his worth. His speed makes him an asset.