The Dallas Cowboys are just one day away from their final preseason game of the year, a Sunday contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and it is safe to say that things will look a bit different from normal during the exhibition.
For starters, well, the starters won’t be playing. This is the final preseason game so it will be mostly reserves throughout the game on both sides. There may or may not be a few notable things that we see in the game and Mike McCarthy gave a preview of some when he spoke to the media on Saturday.
Doug Nussmeier will call the offense against Jacksonville
Last week saw defensive coordinator Dan Quinn unable to stay for the Cowboys game against the Houston Texans when he left AT&T Stadium out of an abundance of caution with regards to COVID-19 protocols.
Joe Whitt Jr. wound up calling the defense for the Cowboys and did a fine job doing it. With Quinn still in the protocol, Whitt Jr. will once again call the defense, but interestingly enough quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier will call plays for the offense against Jacksonville.
Cowboys DC Dan Quinn still in COVID-19 protocol. For second straight exhibition, Joe Whitt Jr. to call plays. What’s new: QBs coach Doug Nussmeier to call offense Sunday vs. Jaguars. Helps develop Nussmeier. (Also prepares for any scenario in which team without OC Kellen Moore.)— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 28, 2021
This is pretty smart (not necessarily ingenious) of the Cowboys. It allows Kellen Moore to focus on the task at hand and also allows for Doug Nussmeier to see what calling an offense in an NFL game is like. If for any reason Kellen Moore can’t call a game in the regular season, like for COVID protocols, Nussmeier will have experience to step in.
La’el Collins is dealing with a stinger for the second time
Friday tore at some scars for Cowboys fans as right tackle La’el Collins left practice with what was reported to be a stinger. Mike McCarthy confirmed that this is what Collins is dealing with at the moment.
La'el Collins is dealing with a stinger issue for the second time and not practicing Saturday. "I think it’s part of some of the things he’s dealt with in the past, so based on the information I have currently, it doesn’t seem to be a long-term concern," Mike McCarthy said.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 28, 2021
Cowboys LT Tyron Smith (illness) and RT La’el Collins (stinger) are spectating practice. Mike McCarthy on Collins: “It doesn’t seem of a serious nature, but it’s something we’re watching. ...Based on the information I have currently, it doesn’t seem to be a long-term concern.”— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 28, 2021
There isn’t exactly reason to panic here, but as we discussed on Friday the lack of depth for the Cowboys, really the lack of a promising swing tackle, makes this feel a tad bit concerning.
Collins missed the entire season last year which really inhibited what the Cowboys were able to do offensively. His return is one that we have all been looking forward to, hopefully this is something that doesn’t linger throughout the year.
It looks like Cooper Rush will start at quarterback
Early this week Mike McCarthy announced that Cooper Rush would take first-team reps for the Cowboys during practice. He was vague about whether or not that meant that Rush would start for the team against Jacksonville, but it looks like he will be the first one to get an opportunity.
It appears Cooper Rush will start Sunday vs. Jags then Garrett Gilbert will check in with Ben DiNucci fitting in where he can.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) August 28, 2021
Rush seemingly has the inside track towards the QB2 job, but he took the lead in that race just one week ago. This is an extremely important position for the Cowboys - last year certainly highlighted that - and the fact that there isn’t an established answer is certainly frustrating.
The Cowboys are reportedly going to sit about 30 players in total for the game.