The Dallas Cowboys jumped out to an early lead against the Los Angeles Rams in their first preseason game, but were unfortunately unable to close it out falling in the end 28-24.
But let’s be honest here, the win/loss record in preseason is pretty much meaningless. These games are designed to get these players ready for the regular season and to help the coaches determine who will make the final 53 man roster.
With a lot of the starters sitting out or playing sparingly, I decided to keep a close eye on a lot of the rookie players and see how they performed in their first NFL action.
Of course, we will have to wait to see quite a few of the Dallas Cowboys rookies because they were out with injuries. Ezekiel Elliott (sore hamstring), Jaylon Smith (knee), Maliek Collins (broken foot), and Charles Tapper (sore lower back) all sat out against the Los Angeles Rams, but below are the rookies that were healthy enough to play and received plenty of playing time for the most part.
Dak Prescott couldn’t have asked for better debut in the NFL than what he was able to accomplish against the Los Angeles Rams.
His opening drive would have been perfect if not for a dropped pass by tight end Geoff Swaim. Despite the one dropped pass, Prescott was able to lead the Cowboys offense down the field and cap it off with a perfectly thrown back shoulder pass to Dez Bryant, who stretched out across the goal line for the TD.
Prescott through another TD pass to wide receiver Terrance Williams a little later in the game. It was a perfectly thrown the ball with just the right amount of touch that was placed perfectly for Williams to make the catch.
Here is a look at all of Prescott’s passes against the Rams.
Every throw from Dak Prescott’s impeccable @DallasCowboys debut! 👇 #DALvsLA
Expectations have been raised, so Dak Prescott will have to now prove he can remain consistent to lockdown that backup QB position.
Darius Jackson’s debut might not have been as impressive as Prescott’s, but he was able to grind out some tough yards against the LA Rams.
Jackson was continually having defenders in his face when he would take the hand off, but was still able to manage a pickup positive yards. We got to see a little bit of the speed we’ve heard about in training camp, and he had some of his better runs when he was able to remain patient and wait for the running lane to open.
He did however have trouble fielding a kickoff later in the game, but there were more positives than negatives. There is something there to build upon and he should only continue to get better with more playing time.
Anthony Brown played as the starting nickel cornerback on the Dallas Cowboys defense, while Orlando Scandrick is slowly being worked back into playing shape.
He seemed to hold his own and didn’t have any noticeable rookie mental mistakes. He was able to stick to the slot receiver and wasn’t afraid to stick his head in there and make a tackle.
I personally thought he had a good rookie debut playing in the nickel, especially if you consider he has only been an outside CB in his playing career. Brown looks as if he has probably solidified a roster spot, but he still needs to continue with his development and consistency.
Kavon Frazier received a large amount of playing time on the backend of the Dallas Cowboys secondary against the LA Rams. He was an active member of the defense and looked to be at his best when he was coming downhill to make a tackle.
Arguably the best play Frazier made in the game was when he helped clean up a missed tackle by fellow safety JJ Wilcox (see picture to the right). If Frazier doesn’t make the tackle it would have been a much larger gain and possibly a TD.
Although there were a lot of things to like about Frazier’s performance against the Rams, I did notice a missed tackle when he tried to deliver a blow with his shoulder instead of wrapping up. That is definitely something he is going to have to work on with the level of talent he will now be facing in the NFL.
Rico Gathers didn’t receive a lot of playing time, and that’s not at all unexpected. Gathers is extremely raw as an NFL prospect and needs time to develop.
He has the physical tools to work with, but needs time to learn both the mental and physical aspects of playing the game of football once again.
The few reps he received against the LA Rams he was used as a blocker and his size alone helps him in this area. He is definitely a work in progress, but there are traits there that are worth developing. His best bet to make the Dallas Cowboys is probably on the practice squad.
Andy Jones might just have been the most talked about wide receiver in training camp outside of Dez Bryant.
He was catching nearly every pass thrown his way, whether he was tightly covered or not and that is why he is on this list despite not being a draft pick.
The coaching staff for the Dallas Cowboys decided to feature Andy Jones a little against the Rams and see how he would perform. Unfortunately it didn’t go in Jones’ favor.
He had two dropped passes that were both catchable balls. Fortunately for Jones, he has proven in practice that he is capable of making these catches and should receive more opportunities.
Hopefully, this was just a case of rookie nerves and we haven’t seen the last of Andy Jones.