Dallas Cowboys football is officially back! While they may have ended up on the losing end in the Hall of Fame game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, that doesn’t mean it’s a sign of things to come for this year’s team. There were a lot of good things to happen Thursday night, but with the good often comes the bad as well.
Today, we take a look at a few of the positives and negatives from Thursday nights matchup with the Steelers.
- Garrett Gilbert separates from the pack - In the search to find Dak Prescott’s backup for the 2021 season, Garrett Gilbert may have solidified himself in the eyes of the coaching staff against the Steelers Thursday night in the Hall of Fame game. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 104 yards and finished the night with a 101.4 QBR rating. Unless the Cowboys look outside the organization for someone to challenge him as Prescott’s main backup, Gilbert should remain as the QB2 for this season.
- Youth movement looks encouraging - A good number of the Cowboys rookies and second-year players stood out in the first preseason game against the Steelers. Considering several these players are expected to play key roles this year and in the not-too-distant future, this is an encouraging sign the Cowboys are drafting well and finding players who can carve out roles for themselves early and often in their careers. Hopefully these youngsters will can continue to improve and impress from here on.
- Dan Quinn’s defense impresses - It’s just one preseason game, but Dan Quinn’s presence is already noticeable from Dallas’ defensive play against the Steelers Thursday night in the Hall of Fame game. A season ago there was a lot of miscommunication and missed assignments, but thankfully we didn’t see either of those issues rear their ugly head in this first preseason matchup. Communication and execution was much improved, and as such you could really see a much more confident defensive unit from top to bottom.
- Greg Zuerlein’s injury - It was painfully obvious Thursday night the Cowboys don’t have a backup field goal kicker currently on the roster. Hunter Niswander did a surprisingly good job as a punter last year as an injury replacement, but sadly didn’t look anything like an NFL caliber kicker against the Steelers. With Zuerlein still on the mend after offseason back surgery, the Cowboys may want to come up with a better Plan B just in case he has any lingering injury concerns.
- Offensive line depth a concern - After a year in which the Cowboys saw their offensive line decimated by injuries, you would think they would’ve put a higher priority on improving their depth along the o-line. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Ty Nsekhe and Brandon Knight both struggled at LT and it was much the same along the interior of the OL as well. If Dallas’ starting five can stay healthy for the entire 2021 season this isn’t a concern, however, it would be unwise of them to bank on such a thing happening.
- Where’s the pass rush? - With DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory sidelined against Pittsburgh, Tarell Basham and Dorance Armstrong started the Hall of Fame game in their place. It’s still really early to judge these two or the rest of the depth behind them based on one preseason game, but there wasn’t much pressure applied off the edge from anyone Thursday night against the Steelers. Because of that, this is a position the Cowboys may be monitoring closely when teams start to make their roster cuts down’s.
We put together all of the top highlights, plays, and moments that the Cowboys can improve on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of the videos that we release!