At long last the preseason is over for the Dallas Cowboys. Next time we see this team play a game, it will matter, and it will be against the world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If you have been watching football long enough you know that the final preseason game is, well, it will make you question just how much you love football. In all seriousness, while this wasn’t the most incredible four quarters of football that we have ever seen, it was an important contest for people down the roster and for the coaching staff to make a number of decisions.
We have only established three winners, losers, and honorable mentions since it was a diet version of a normal game. Let’s begin.
Winner: Garrett Gilbert
This game began with the Dallas Cowboys still having a bit of an open competition at QB2. Cooper Rush started the contest and was rather unimpressive which opened the door for Garrett Gilbert.
To be clear the bar is low, but it does seem as if Gilbert surpassed it. He threw the game’s first touchdown and in a situation where any sort of positive step could be the separating factor it might have been the conviction that this staff needed to cement Gilbert (who was QB2 all offseason, training camp, and preseason long prior to last week) as Dak’s primary backup.
Winner: Ron’Dell Carter
Turnovers. Team Defense. These are both great things and happened because of something that Ron’Dell Carter did up front.
What a wonderful moment for Ron'Dell Carter and Israel Mukuamu.— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) August 29, 2021
(via @NFLEspanol) pic.twitter.com/iMg3hY8HkQ
Ron’Dell Carter is someone who has had to fight for the spot that he currently has with the Cowboys and he is definitely still fighting to make the final 53-man roster. Impacting the game in a positive way is a huge sign of momentum for his cause.
Winner: Israel Mukuamu
It was Mukuamu who came away with the interception off of the bad pass that Carter caused which was a very welcome thing to see from this young secondary (more on that in a bit).
We have seen the younger defensive backs pop and shine during camp and practice, but seeing it in a game (even this game) is slightly different. Good for Mukuamu who is fighting for his spot on the roster.
Loser: Cooper Rush
We discussed how Garrett Gilbert took a positive step forward, well Cooper Rush did the exact opposite.
Everyone: Hey Cooper, QB2 is up for grabs and you're the favorite, go give us a reason to believe in you— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) August 29, 2021
Cooper Rush: pic.twitter.com/dcB178PXUN
This game was a huge opportunity for Rush to announce that he is the right person to back up Dak Prescott, but the offense looked dull and inhibited when he was manning it.
Loser: Nahshon Wright
Wright has had some nice moments throughout the preseason, but this game was a bit of struggle for him.
It should be noted that the Cowboys approached this like a classic final preseason game where they had a ton of reserve players out there while the Jacksonville Jaguars had Trevor Lawrence and some other starters at the game’s beginning.
But Wright got worked and dragged at different times. It happens.
Loser: Kelvin Joseph
It’s hard to put Joseph on here given that he suffered a groin injury that took him out of the game (we’ll see how that situation progresses), but before that it wasn’t very good anyway.
Prior to the preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals there was chatter that Joseph could be in the mix to be a starter at cornerback. We have not seen anything at all to justify that idea.
It is unfortunate for Joseph that many will unfairly compare him to or expect performances similar to the likes of Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn given that Dallas missed out on those top cornerbacks in the draft. But he has a lot of work to do.
Honorable Mention: Isaac Alarcón
A fan favorite, Alarcón stood out a bit in a positive way. That’s always good to see.
¡Tweet de apreciación a @IsaacAlarcon! #NFLEspañol pic.twitter.com/nUiCA3uAER— NFL en Español (@NFLEspanol) August 29, 2021
He should be safe on the practice squad, but we will see.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Parker
If you catch a touchdown you at the very least get an honorable mention.
We did it. We scored a touchdown.— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) August 29, 2021
(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/q57XpNK7c7
Perhaps another practice squad candidate.
Honorable Mention: Greg Zuerlein
Honorable mentions don’t always have to be positive, but it’s not like it was a negative day for Greg Zuerlein.
This was the first bit of action that Zuerlein has seen this season and he made 100% of his extra point attempts!
Unfortunately Zuerlein’s first field goal of any kind this year was a miss, but it was an attempt from way downtown beyond 50 yards. That is hardly a warm welcome back, but he did solidly have the leg to get there. That’s good to see at the very least.
We discussed all of the winners, losers, honorable mentions, and much more during our official Dallas Cowboys Postgame Show on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel (subscribe to our channel right here!).
We have a lot of videos that come out throughout the week that you won’t want to miss.