In the grand scheme, the preseason can be somewhat meaningless. The wins and losses don’t count, and some of the elite players in the NFL don’t play in the preseason. However, Saturday’s 31-16 win against the Las Vegas Raiders was anything but meaningless. First, how cool was it to see Dak Prescott wearing the coach’s headset and calling the plays for the offense? The offense didn’t miss a beat with Prescott at the play-calling controls, and it paid off for Will Grier.
The Cowboys informed Grier that he would be released after the preseason following the team’s trade for Trey Lance. The Cowboys wanted to give him every opportunity to display his talents for the other NFL teams watching, and he certainly did. Grier threw for over 300 yards and a passer rating of 122. Saturday’s game was anything but insignificant. Also, for a few undrafted players, the game against the Raiders was a big moment, and they also made the best of it. Here are the undrafted stars in the Cowboys’ win against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Josh Butler had a nice outing against Las Vegas. Entering the game, Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell was the highest-rated quarterback in preseason and he tested Butler often. Butler held his own and was busy all night. Butler led the Cowboys with six tackles and contested the passing lanes well, with two passes defended. Much like quarterback Will Grier, who is all but assured not to make the roster but auditioning for the entire league, Butler put out great film for the coaches and scouting departments for the other 31 teams in the NFL.
Leupke is a dynamic talent that fans have been waiting to see. He played extensively against the Raiders, and aced the test with flying colors. He contributed in all three phases as a running back. First, he made a great pickup in pass protection to give Will Grier a clean pocket to convert a third-down attempt. He also made several highlight plays in the evening. Toward the end of the first half, Leupke made a catch along the left sideline and dodged several defenders to take the ball deep in the red zone for a 29-yard gain.
He also showed a set of soft hands, hauling in several passes with his fingertips just before they could bounce on the turf for an incompletion. In total, Leupke had 118 yards from scrimmage. Now, has he made enough of an impact to make the team? Tony Pollard, Rico Dowdle, and Deuce Vaughn sit atop the depth chart. Leupke’s chances to make the team coincide with their decision to keep an additional runner, and if they feel he has done enough to beat out Malik Davis, who had a decent game against Las Vegas himself. After final cuts, the Cowboys could risk waiving Leupke and trying to sneak him onto the practice squad. The final decision on Leupke will make roster cuts very interesting, at the very least.
Despite having the front office’s confidence, some needed more convincing. Brandon Aubrey went a long way towards silencing the doubters on Saturday against the Las Vegas Raiders. After former Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby had posted a video of himself kicking field goals on social media and letting everyone know he was available, Aubrey tried to quell the conversation. Aubrey impressed all with his performance against the Raiders.
After missing a 59-yard field goal, Aubrey kept his head in the game and made one terrific kick after another. Aubrey made all four of his extra-point attempts. He also showed plenty of distance on his kickoffs, pushing the ball through the endzone multiple times for touchbacks and then nailing his second FG try from 59 yards. The team has been steadfast in their support of Aubrey for some time, and last night proved why their confidence appears to be well-placed.