Posted on August 13, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The talk concerning the Dallas Cowboys has been about Ezekiel Elliot. Did he do it? Can he win an appeal? Will he take it to court? Did Roger Goodell get it right? But Saturday night in Los Angeles the team had to set all the drama aside and do what they are paid well to do— play football.
Ezekiel Elliot wasn’t the only story, of course. The Rams have been in the news because of their recent trade acquisition, oft-injured Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Heading into the game, there was no expectation to see him play since the trade just went down on Friday. But how the relationship between Watkins and Goff plays out could have a direct impact on more than just their respective futures.
It is just the preseason, so neither team put their best foot forward. In the end, the Rams put a better foot forward and won the game 13-10. But the preseason is more about what teams can learn about their players than the final score.
All observations have to be taken with a grain of salt considering the competitive level of the play. But they are worth making nonetheless.
- Dallas may want to give serious consideration to making Cooper Rush the No. 2 quarterback. Kellen Moore didn’t look bad against the Cardinals, but he looked terrible against the Rams. Rush, on the other hand, was okay against the Cardinals and better against the Rams. At this point, it would be more interesting to see what Rush can do against better competition and surrounded by better players than to continue kicking the tires with Moore.
- Taco Charlton didn’t play much. But it was nice to see the Cowboys get some production from a defensive lineman (three tackles, one tackle for a loss, one QB hit, one sack). Hopefully, he doesn’t get suspended (because that’s what Cowboys defensive linemen do).
- Darren McFadden wasn’t bad (six carries for 28 yards), but with Elliot now set to miss the first six games of the season, we will probably not see much of him going forward.
- Rico Gathers is worth a roster spot. His routes looked better, he got his body in the right spots, and—most importantly – he made some nice catches (four receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown). Connor Hamlett’s fractured ankle may have locked up a roster spot for Gathers.
- Why on Earth did they have Jared Goff play so little? He was not good last year and could certainly use the reps. There is something to be said for keeping your guys healthy, but if they need experience—get them experience.
- Sean Mannion is not a great option for the Rams, but he looks better than Goff.
- Cooper Kupp didn’t play much, but from what little we saw of the Rams 3rd round pick, the Rams could have a good one in him.
- Rookie running back Justin Davis showed some promise with a nice 32-yard gallop. On the night he had nine carries for 70 yards, but he fumbled twice. If he’s going to make the roster, he’ll have to protect the ball better.
- Both teams were sloppy and ineffective for most of the game. Neither team held on to the ball well (Rams had six total but lost two). Between the two offenses, there were only 21 total first downs. Of the game’s 27 drives, 11 were three and outs.
Next up for the Dallas Cowboys will be the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday (4 PM ET kickoff). The Rams will head upstate to Oakland to take on the Raiders on the same day (10 PM ET kickoff).