Welcome, everyone! Have a seat. Take a deep breath and relax, that really just happened.
We’ve been starving for Dallas Cowboys football and we got to munch on a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Was it a steak with a baked potato and grilled asparagus? Of course not. But dude, it was food!
As is normal in the high-energy preseason jungle, there were a lot of things that we really liked… and some things that we need to work on.
Keep in mind that this was the first preseason game and that in the grand scheme of things it means very little. The starters were mostly on the sidelines, and tonight was mostly an opportunity for the guys looking to make the team.
The Cowboys received the opening kickoff and got to work early. The starting offensive line (from left to right) was Weems, Leary, Frederick, Martin, and Wetzel. All-World talent Brandon Weeden led the Cowboy offense and looked somewhat poised. He hit Terrance Williams on 3rd and long – a reception that Terrance cut back to his right side, picked up a nice block from fullback Tyler Clutts, and picked up a first down.
Terrance Williams looked really nice out there. Even though he gets things going on Tuesdays with his #TWillTuesday hashtag, it might be time to start considering #TWillThursday as an option. With Dez Bryant holding out earlier this offseason Terrance got a lot of work and it shows in his play.
Unfortunately Brandon Weeden couldn’t handle a snap from Travis Frederick. The ball sailed over his right side and, I guess since he’s in California he thinks he’s a Golden State Warrior, Brandon tried to dribble – a football, mind you – and the Chargers recovered it.
Danny Woodhead scored on a nice draw play, Woodhead was the X Factor when the Chargers beat the Cowboys back in 2013, giving San Diego a 7-0 lead. The first team offense, if you want to call it that, for the Cowboys was done after one series. The second team would punt and the Chargers held the ball as the first quarter came to a close.
The “first team” defense of the Dallas Cowboys played a second series, and boy were they impressive. Remember these words – Tyrone Crawford is going to be a beast this year. He was consistently behind the offensive linemen, and he is absolutely going to wreak some havoc this season.
We finally got a chance to see Greg Hardy in action and he looks like the man that the Cowboys paid for. He looked very disruptive and didn’t miss a beat when he had to float out in coverage to cover the Chargers tight end. It’s going to be very exciting to see what the defensive line that Rod Marinelli puts together can do.
The Cowboys offense finally got in gear in the second quarter, when second year quarterback Dustin Vaughan put together a nice drive like a set of legos. He hit both Devin Street and Gavin Escobar like a classic 1-2 punch as he matriculated his way down the field.
Gus Johnson, aka The Gus Bus, showed the Cowboy fans what life at the running back position post DeMarco Murray can look like when he bulldozed his way into the endzone for the game-tying touchdown. Darrion Weems looked particularly great as he cleared the path for the Gus Bus down the highway.
Back on defense, Training Camp standout Damien Wilson showed why everyone is raving about him. He had a nice third down stop where he flew through the hole to get to running back Branden Oliver. Free agent signee Corey White also looked incredible. He was breaking up passes and almost had an interception on a shortly thrown pass. Brought in to replace the departed Sterling Moore, Corey White adds some safety (no pun intended) to the corner position.
Unfortunately the Cowboys, Jeff Heath specifically, got shaken by Branden Oliver near the end of the quarter. Oliver turned on the jukes and left Heath on the ground. The Chargers took their 14-7 lead into the half.
The Cowboys kicked off as the third quarter got underway at Qualcomm Stadium. By this point we were well into the backups and most people had started to order their Gus Johnson jerseys online.
Randy Gregory, Ryan Russell, and Davon Coleman showed that the depth on the defensive line is certainly talented when they were constantly hanging out near the Chargers backfield. Randy Gregory managed to get his first sack in the NFL tonight, which is a big deal! Hopefully this success is going to translate over to the rest of his career.
Lache Seastrunk finally got into the game in the third quarter, but he didn’t show anything particularly special. Someone who definitely wasn’t special was offensive tackle RJ Dill (which makes me sad because we share a name) as he struggled. The first penalty finally came during the third when Gavin Escobar was caught holding. This is pretty impressive considering that preseason games are usually filled with penalties, it speaks to how well they’re coached.
The third ended with Chargers still in the lead, 14-7.
San Diego managed to put a field goal on the board early to stretch the score to 17-7, Chargers. Quarterback/any position you need him to be Jameill Showers got in the game for the Cowboys and he looked impressive. He lacks the touch that Dustin Vaughan has, but he was definitely impressive in limited action. As noted on the broadcast, his game is similar to that of Russell Wilson.
Rookie offensive lineman La’el Collins had a very productive night out in Qualcomm. He’s not exactly going to take away the starting left guard from Ronald Leary just yet, but he showed a lot of promise and reason for why he was touted as highly as he was.
Tight end, and fan favorite, Geoff Swaim got in the game for a little while and looked solid; however, wide receiver Deontay Greenberry had a pretty poor night… dropping almost everything that came his way.
San Diego held on to their lead and as the first game of the preseason wrapped up, with the Chargers beat the Cowboys by a score of 17-7.
The Dallas Cowboys lost their preseason opener in San Diego last year by a score of 27-7, so we are officially 10 points better at this point defensively than we were last year!
Seriously though, there is a lot to be excited about. Most of the significant starters at the skill positions didn’t play, but Devin Street and Gavin Escobar are going to contribute big time to the offense this year.
Defensively, Tyrone Crawford and Greg Hardy are going to be a big problem for opposing offensive linemen. Randy Gregory, Ryan Russell, and Davon Coleman are going to provide a great sense of depth, too. Damien Wilson is well on his way to being Anthony Hitchens 2.0 which, hold your breath, gives the Cowboys a sense of depth at the linebacker position as well.
Gus Johnson has a long way to go before leading the league in rushing, but he definitely helped his case for being on the team tonight. I’m really looking forward to the battle at the backup quarterback position as Dustin Vaughan and Jameill Showers continue to compete.
Get excited, football is back!