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JAX 34, DAL 14: Cowboys Rest & Test the Roster in Preseason Finale

The ’ 2021 has ended. With final cuts due in just about 48 hours, the team will now begin cutting the down to 53 from its current number of around 80 players. While Dallas went 0-4 in these meaningless August games, including today’s 34-14 loss to Jacksonville, the real stories from them is how they will affect the decision over the next two days.

This game highlighted how goofy preseason can be as QB Trevor Lawrence and many other Jaguars starters played today against the bottom third of Dallas’ projected 2021 roster and a lot of guys who won’t make the team. Just about everyone you expect to have a meaningful role for the Cowboys this season never put on pads.

There was plenty on the line for the guys who did take the field, though. and are still duking it out for the backup QB job and various offensive linemen and defensive players are hoping for the last spot or two at their positions.

And even if making the 53 isn’t in the cards for some, 16 jobs on the are also up for grabs thanks to the recent rule changes.

So what did we see today that could impact things for these hopefuls?

  • After a month of assuming that Gilbert was QB2, Rush’s superior play last week against Houston led to declare that the team was still undecided about who’d be the backup. But today was a reverse of last week; Cooper had a rough start and then Garrett came in and looked much better. Hopefully the practice field has given the coaches enough to go on to make the best choice, because the evidence from preseason games hasn’t separated one QB from the other.
  • One thing we do know is that won’t be in that QB2 discussion. In fact, nothing he’s done this year suggests he’ll earn a roster spot or even be a sure thing for the practice squad. Don’t be surprised if Dallas goes after a prospect from another team’s cuts to make their new developmental .
  • I have felt bad for the WR prospects this year because they haven’t ever had much of a chance. The is already full with the established veterans and ousting from that sixth spot was always unlikely. Hard to say who will make the practice squad from the large group that Dallas had in camp as we’ve seen Brandon Smith, Johnnie Dixon, Reggie Davis, Aaron Parker, Malik Turner, and Osirus Mitchell all make plays at times.
  • OT was one of the veterans who got the day off and that seems to indicate who your swing is for 2021. and are the other contenders and so far nobody has really stood out for the job.
  • The TV broadcast highlighted some strong moments from G/C and it was nice to see the 7th-rounder making some noise. He may very well make the roster given his versatility on the interior line.
  • DT was active and has made a great case for a roster spot. The numbers may not be in his favor with the other options but he’s worth keeping if they can.
  • LB led in tackles today and is clear favorite to be the team’s sixth if they keep that many. It seems likely given the health risks that and bring to the table.
  • It was a bad day for the cornerbacks. and are safe as 2nd and 3rd-round rookies but you saw why they’ll be at the bottom of the depth chart to start they ear. got toasted a few times and ended any lingering thoughts that he might make the roster.
  • had an interception off a deflected ball but also struggled at times. He’s an intriguing prospect and has to be given some leeway for transitioning to from corner, but he’s definitely on the bubble.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by 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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8 Comments

  1. I’m with you again Vam ! Why is it that people like us that have followed the Cowboys for years through thick and thin can see what our needs are to make us competitive and the front office can’t seem to figure it out? I honestly believe that if they would take the advice of MOST of the people on this sight that reply to these articles our team would be Hard to stop every season! Sometimes I wonder even if they want to win Championships or are just content with finishing 500 year in and year out?!!

  2. Good article Jess, and good comments Ben Miller
    Our QB2 position is weak. Surprising they didn’t address that earlier, but I guess they think CR/GG is enough there? Hope L Collins is OK for start of regular season. Regular season round the corner, and still some meaningful question marks.

    Sometimes I look at this team/organization recently, and wonder if the urgency to get to that next level is there. Is the status quo ok with them, hovering around almost a playoff team or even less? They are, after all, one of, if not, the richest franchise in all of sports. Maybe they are content with that. IMO, they are not aggressive enough. They stupidly overpay some players, but at the same time shop at the bargain basement/cast off UDFAs for many others.

    Losing ALL four PS games is certainly not a good prelude to the regular season.

    That said, I’m looking forward to the season as I’ve done for 50+ years now, hoping they WIN EVERY GAME. Guess I’m hooked.

  3. QB2 and swing T seem to be the biggest concerns heading to Tampa. Nheske has looked like a turnstile out the and Brandon Knight looks slow out of his stance. At QB, Gilbert always looks like he’s in over his head. Slow to process, indecisive and poor decisions. He’s simply a really good XFL QB who can’t play at NFL speed. Rush does have more poise and has at least lit it up a couple times in the preseason. Neither deserves to be a back up in this league and Dallas wasted an entire off season working with these two. Sure, the can bring in another guy on cut down day but they can never get back the prep time and practice reps given to guys they should have known weren’t the answer.

  4. Deante Burton also had several issues on ST’s. He’s been garbage at ST’s and defense all preseason. He should’ve been one of the first cuts. I never want to see him in a Cowboys uniform again, ties to Dan Quinn be damned.

    Mukuamu also had several screw-ups on ST’s and defense. He’s an intriguing practice squad candidate at this point.

    Knox probably punched his ticket for the PS, but I’d roll with Zeke and Pollard at RB and carry Ralston as the third RB/FB/ST.

    I really hope our backup QB is not on the roster yet. With questions still hovering around Dak’s recovery from the ankle and how he’s compensating for it and causing other issues (back/shoulder), we really need a competent backup unless we’re looking for another high-ish draft pick in 2022. The potential trade for Nick Foles is starting to look better and better. Really hurts that they missed out on Gardner Minshew for what the Eagles gave up.

    Bohanna seems to be regressing a little over the last two games. Hamilton has been much more effective both against the pass and the run over the preseason. I doubt they can keep both, but at this point, Hamilton is definitely the better player.

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