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DEN 17, DAL 7: Starters Sit Out, Backups Look Bad in Preseason Opener

The Cowboys sat out 17 starters and other key players in their debut tonight. It showed as Dallas was mostly outclassed by the Denver Broncos and lost 17-7 on the road.

Dallas' backups looked the part in an underwhelming showing. Perhaps the biggest issue, consistent throughout the night, was a high number of that helped erase some of the better offensive plays and kept Denver's drives alive.

was one of the night's biggest losers. Starting in 's place and playing most of the game, Rush finished 12-of-20 with just 84 yards and an interception. While Cooper was affected by the penalty issues and poor offensive line play, he also made poor decisions and did nothing to help matters.

Backup also took a big hit with his performance. Getting an extended tryout at throughout the game, Ball consistently struggled and looked poorly suited for any meaningful role this season. He may be better on the right side than the left, but that means the Cowboys have to start looking for help behind Tyron Smith.

Lirim Hajrullahu had a shot at a 56-yarder, not a tall task in Denver's altitude, and went wide right. It was the Cowboys' only field goal attempt, though Brett Maher did hit the extra point after a late touchdown.

It wasn't all bad, of course. We saw some nice running from Rico Dowdle, , and that makes the RB3 battle even more intriguing going forward. Rookie TE showed up on some nice receiving plays. Ben DiNucci and connected for a touchdown and DiNucci managed to look more impactful than Rush overall.

Defensively, the front line looked great early with , , and others making disruptive plays. Rookie showed well despite some ticky-tacky calls. The were aggressive and had some would-be picks negated by penalties or drops, but at least showed things the coaches can build on.

The Cowboys will remain on the west coast for joint practices with the and their preseason meeting at SoFi Stadium next Saturday night. Hopefully, more of Dallas' top players will be involved to make it a more competitive game.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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