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PIT 16, DAL 3: Few Standouts as Cowboys Open Preseason w/ Loss

Wins and losses don't matter in the NFL in August but certainly that doesn't mean games are meaningless. For the men trying to fight their way onto a roster, these games can be life or death to their goals. Unfortunately for the Cowboys' hopefuls, nobody seemed to help their cause in Dallas' 16-3 loss to the in the .

With many starters not even making the trip to Canton and others never entering the game, the real 2021 were barely to be seen. This was a game for the backups to show their stuff and for 30-plus other contenders to try to earn some additional notoriety and respect.

Despite the final score it wasn't all bad for Dallas. looked good with the ball in his hands, generating 43 yards on eight carries plus two catches for 16 yards. looked competent in his one quarter of play, going 9/13 for 104 yards.

On we got a glimpse of 's solid work in coverage and as a tackler. While one big pass was made to against Wright, there was a blatant push-off by Claypool that went uncalled. That flag probably gets thrown if we weren't in preseason.

There were smatterings of noteworthy moments, such as destroying a RB who tried to block him or Reggie Robinson making a nice open-field . But this definitely wasn't a night where anyone's stock made a meaningful jump.

The worst nights seemingly belonged to QB , OT , and WR Reggie Davis. You could also talk about Hunter Niswander as the substitute , but that's really not what he's supposed to be doing anyway.

DiNucci will likely be the most-discussed player coming out of this game with his 7/17 passing and an interception thrown. While he had the toughest job of the night, playing in the second half and under constant pressure from poor blocking, Ben still reminded you of the guy who could barely function against the Eagles in 2020.

Part of that bad blocking was Brandon Knight, who was caught getting beat a few times by pass rushers. Knight can't afford to struggle if he wants to keep his roster spot after Dallas added and drafted at .

Reggie Davis is one of a few who got looks as return men tonight and muffed a late punt to give Pittsburgh the ball back. While it was only one play, those moments can be killers for guys fighting just to keep hope alive.

We still have almost two weeks of practices and another preseason game before Dallas has to start making any roster cuts on August 17th. We'll see if the next game has a greater perceived impact on those decisions than this one did.

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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