The preseason is over for the Dallas Cowboys and now we just wait a couple of weeks before the 2022 regular season begins. Of course, before that happens, the Cowboys have to trim their roster down to 53 players, which needs to occur by Tuesday afternoon. There are still many difficult decisions that lie ahead, but with another exhibition game in the books, there is one final glimpse of tape to look through. Here are five takeaways from the Cowboys preseason win over the Seahawks.
Heavy 12 personnel is coming
The big storyline in Big D this week has been the injury to All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. The team was already treading water at the swing tackle position before he got hurt, and now it looks like they’re slowly sinking.
The Cowboys have their own idea of how to handle the work along the offensive line, and one of those ideas could be a lot of help from the tight ends. Dalton Schultz is a good blocking tight end and now it appears he’ll have a valuable partner to join him as fourth-round rookie Jake Ferguson continues to play well. He only finished with two catches for 18 yards, but his effectiveness as a blocker was on display as he helped secure the edge. He looked like a seasoned vet showing great positioning and technique, and staying engaged with his blocks. He also does a great job chipping and releasing, allowing the quarterback a little more time to throw. With each new game, Ferguson is proving more and more that he was a fantastic value pick in April’s draft. Look for him to contribute right away.
Jake Ferguson is a good blocker. This is comforting news for a team who will be relying on help in the trenches from their tight ends. pic.twitter.com/JEum80oJhn— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 27, 2022
We have a Nahshon sighting
It wouldn’t be a Cowboys preseason game if second-year corner Nahshon Wright wasn’t giving up a big play, and this game was no different. Wright was again flagged for a pass interference penalty in the first quarter only to follow it up with a second PI in the second quarter. It was the typical dreadful performance we have grown accustomed to seeing from Wright.
But to his credit, Wright came away with an interception when he made a good read in zone coverage and jumped in front of a quick pass. Granted, it was a poor decision by the Seahawks quarterback, but Wright still diagnosed the play correctly and came up with the pick. Good job. Will that play be enough to earn a spot on the 53-man roster? It’s going to be close.
Another game, another stupid penalty
Second-round rookie Sam Williams has been making plays within the preseason and overall it’s been a good start for him, as he continues to show hustle and play through the whistle. He was all over the place on Friday as his relentless pursuit was something to admire. Unfortunately, he needs to stop his aggression a little sooner because he continues to get called for some type of personal foul penalty.
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First, he got called for a roughing the passer penalty in Week 1. Then, he got flagged for illegal hands to the face in Week 2. And finally, Williams got another roughing the passer penalty against the Seahawks when he just didn’t have it in him to let up before hitting the quarterback. And while it wasn’t cheap by any measure, it was completely avoidable.
Williams got another senseless penalty in the fourth quarter when he was shoving a Seahawks player already on the ground. It’s unsettling to see him continue to make these mental mistakes, especially since this is something that plagued him at Ole Miss. There were still a lot of good things he put on tape, including a nice sack where he overpowered ninth overall pick Charles Cross, but he has to work on his self-control.
Let’s go, Waletzko
Overall, it was a really good day for the Cowboys rookie draft class. Williams, Ferguson, and DaRon Bland all played well. Even late-round pick Devin Harper finished with a team-high seven tackles. Another name to add to the list was fifth-round rookie tackle Matt Waletzko. Friday’s game was the first time we got to see him in action as he’s missed time with a shoulder injury.
Waletzko took over for Josh Ball at left tackle and had some decent reps. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but you can see why the team is so high on him. He did a good job with his feet placement and was able to stay in front of his rushers. His length helped keep rushers from getting into his grill and he did a very nice job picking up stunts. It’s a small sample size to work from, but he’s already showing himself to be a better left tackle option than Ball.
One thing I love about Matt Waletzko besides his orangutan long arms is his football smarts. He recognizes stunts well and positions himself where he needs to be. Good debut by the rook. pic.twitter.com/N04zReJow2— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 27, 2022
The Cowboys kicking situation in training camp has been complete madness as the team went from Jonathan Garibay to Liram Hajrullahu to finally Brett Maher. The veteran kicker first entered our life back in 2018 when he won the job over fan-favorite Dan Bailey. Maher was the Cowboys kicker for nearly two seasons before things got so bad that he was released after 13 games in 2019. He didn’t play in 2020 but then played eight games for the New Orleans Saints last year making 16 of 18 field goal attempts.
He’s the last one standing in Dallas and it’s clear he’s the team’s kicker entering the new season. Maher had a good day kicking on Friday night, making all three of his extra points and two of three field goals. His only miss was from 61 yards out, so it’s okay to give him a pass on that one.