Posted on August 27, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Preseason hype is hard to come by, but the Dallas Cowboys managed to generate a little when they announced running back Ezekiel Elliot would actually play. Fans were beginning to assume they wouldn’t see him until his debut in October. But Jason Garrett decided to go ahead and give him a handful of plays.
He didn’t do anything with them (six carries for 18 yards; two receptions for six yards), but he played.
The rest of the team played as well, and there were quite a few good things that happened for the Cowboys—and one really bad thing. Oakland had to like what they saw in Derek Carr as well. Even though Donald Penn just joined the team a few days ago, the Raiders had him get a few snaps.
Both teams can take away some good things from the regular season tune-up game, but the game also showed them a few things they can work on improving.
- Both starting quarterbacks are going to be just fine this year. Prescott looked sharp whether he threw downfield or kept it short (11-14 for 113 yards and a touchdown). Carr looked just as sharp completing 13 of his 17 attempts for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
- If Cooper Rush is not the official No. 2 in Dallas after Saturday night’s performance, Kellen Moore must have something on Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones. The rookie completed 12 of 13 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. His 44-yard bomb to Lance Lenoir midway through the fourth quarter was pretty.
- Darren McFadden is expected to start in place of Elliot, but Alfred Morris will—and should — get a lot of carries. He was certainly the better of the two against the Raiders with 56 yards on nine carries (McFadden had just two carries for 21 yards).
- Does Dallas have a poor secondary or is Amari Cooper just that good? Probably a bit of both. The third-year wide receiver had four catches for 78 yards and a touchdown (a beauty of a 48-yard play late in the first half).
- Fate appears to have dealt the Cowboy another challenge on defense. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens went down with a knee injury late in the first half. While nothing official has been announced, the team believes it’s an ACL injury.
- Jaylon Smith = Beast.
“This started last year,” Smith said after the game (SportsDay). “You guys didn’t get to see me working out and training and how much work I put into it. That transition and that progress began then. Everything is part of the plan. There’s no surprise to what I’m doing right now. I feel like myself.”
- On a positive note for the Dallas defense, Taco Charlton recorded his first and celebrated it by ‘making tacos.’
- Cordarrelle Patterson flashed his potential with a 17-yard touchdown catch, but he still only had 30 yards on four receptions. Speedsters should be able to break free a little more than he does.
- Even though he just joined the team after bringing his holdout to an end a few days ago, Donald Penn saw 17 snaps with the Oakland offense.
“I’ve got a little rust I’ve got to knock off,” Penn said after the game. “I really appreciate my coaches for having faith in me and believing in me and believing in my work during our time off to let me go in there that fast.”
- The Dallas offensive line was good at opening holes, but they made too many mental errors (five penalties). Without Elliot, they (and the rest of the offense) will need to play much cleaner football.
- There may be hope for the Dallas defense after all. With the game on the line, they were able to force two incompletions in the final seconds of the game. Then again, the quarterback—Connor Cook – will not see the field this season. The guy in the Dallas secondary will be lucky to make the practice squad.
It wasn’t a perfect game for either, but there was a lot of positive stuff for both to build off. Dallas will close out the preseason next Thursday (at 8 PM ET) against the Houston Texans. The Raiders will play host to the Seattle Seahawks (Thursday at 10 PM ET).