Aside from the Dallas Cowboys' running game, the team really struggled to find ways to win consistently on both sides of the football. The snap distribution gives us a bit of an indication of what the Dallas Cowboys' coaching thinks of the players on the roster.
As we peruse the snap counts for the Dallas Cowboys things have begun take shape on the offensive side of the ball. Particularly among the wide receivers, you can look at the snap distribution and get an understanding of who are the primary options.
Here were the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver snap distribution.
- Cole Beasley - 42 (71%)
- Allen Hurns - 39 (66%)
- Deonte Thompson - 27 (46%)
- Michael Gallup - 25 (42%)
- Tavon Austin - 19 (32%)
- Terrance Williams - 9 (15%)
Observations on the Wide Receiver Snap Distribution
- Terrance Williams played less snaps in week three, than he did in week two and with Brice Butler back in the fold and a suspension looming, Williams' time with the Dallas Cowboys could be coming to an end.
- After seeing only 10 snaps in week one, Tavon Austin has played 33% of the offensive snaps in the las two weeks. I know it's hard to get five wide receivers on the field, but this where they could use 10 personnel to get Tavon on the field more often.
- Cole Beasley should be seeing the snap count he's seeing. He's the best wide receiver on the team and it shows on the field. He's consistently getting open and making big third down receptions.
- The next best guy, surprisingly, has been Deonte Thompson. He's a guy who hadn't really found his footing in the NFL until the last couple of years. He's third on the team in receptions and second in receiving yards.
- The biggest surprise to me is the play of Allen Hurns. He's been almost non-existent this season catching only four of nine targets for 51 yards. For the percentage of snaps that he's getting, that isn't going to cut it.
- Despite dropping a pass that led to an interception on Sunday, I'd like to see rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup get more opportunities in the passing game. Hurns hasn't really done much, so why not give Gallup the opportunities. He couldn't be worse.
- I know many in Cowboys Nation are excited about the return of Brice Butler, but all I think he'll do is add more chaos to the wide receivers playing time.
More Snap Observations
- Even with the return of Randy Gregory to the defensive end rotation, Taco Charlton still saw the third most snaps of the defensive ends. Taco was behind DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford. Charlton led the defensive line in tackles on Sunday
- Dorance Armstrong took a back seat this week with Gregory's return from a concussion, but was still on the field for 28% of the defensive snaps on Sunday.
- Jourdan Lewis' snap count continues to boggle the mind. Lewis was one of the Dallas Cowboys better corner backs in 2017 and he has played a total of one defensive snap over the last several weeks.
- For all the talk of a "tight end by committee", Geoff Swaim is this team's starting tight end. It isn't a huge accomplishment given the competition, but in week three against the Seahawks, Swaim played 93% of the offensive snaps and led the team in receptions and yards on Sunday. Blake Jarwin was next with a mere 20% of the offensive snaps.
- Xavier Woods wasn't eased back into the action on Sunday as he was on the field for 96% of the Dallas Cowboys defensive snaps. He wasn't targeted and was credited with three tackles.
- From tape review, Kavon Frazier was the safety in coverage when the Dallas Cowboys gave up their two passing touchdowns. Frazier only saw 25% of the snaps on defense on Sunday and had a really rough go of it.
- Leighton Vander Esch is going to see a substantial increase from his 48% snap count that he received on Sunday. With Sean Lee expected to miss time with a hamstring injury, the rookie first round pick will be on the field more. As Bobby Belt notes in the tweet below, Vander Esch has been very effective in the time he's been on the field.
Leighton Vander Esch leads the NFL in fewest snaps per solo tackle (minimum 15 solo tackles, 39 league qualifiers):
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Certain trends begin to take place as we get into the heart of the season and with snap distribution it's easy to tell who is on the ins and outs with the coaching staff. In particular it's easy to see that Jourdan Lewis is on the outs with the coaches for whatever reason and that Taco Charlton has earned a favorable role with the Dallas Cowboys in his second season.
Things can obviously change with 13 more games to go this season, but the team is beginning to take shape, for better or worse.
#DALvsRAMS: Tony Pollard Proves he’s no Longer Darrell Henderson’s Backup
For the better part of three years Tony Pollard was forced to play second fiddle to Darrell Henderson during their time with the Memphis Tigers. But, Saturday night in the second week of preseason Pollard emerged from the shadows and proved he's no longer Henderson's backup.
Tony Pollard put on an impressive show Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams. He touched the ball a total of six times and turned it into 51 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 42 yards on the ground, averaging 8.4 yards per carry, and had one reception for 9 yards. All in all it was an impressive performance and one that arguably outdid his former teammate, Darrell Henderson.
Tony Pollard is starting to look like a real weapon for the Dallas Cowboys. It's still a small sample size, but in the first two preseason games he's proven the jump up in competition isn't too big for him. As a runner he's been decisive, picking up what yardage is given and not dancing around. He hasn't been utilized much in the passing game yet, but that time will come.
The Dallas Cowboys couldn't be happier with the way their rookie RB has performed thus far. He's everything they've said he was, and quite possibly much more. Maybe those Alvin Kamara comparisons weren't that far off after all.
We all know Ezekiel Elliott will return to the Dallas Cowboys at some point, but for now Tony Pollard doesn't look completely out of place as their lead back. He still needs to work on his pass protection, but everything else he's been asked to do he's excelled at.
I don't know about you, but I'm excited about seeing what No. 36 can do when these games start to matter in 2019. He will once again have to accept a backup role like he did behind Darrell Henderson in college, but you can bet the Cowboys coaching staff will reward him based on his play so far in preseason.
Pollard's versatility to be a weapon as both a runner and receiver in the passing game should make him a unique chess piece in the offensive game plan each and every week. He's been exciting to watch so far and we haven't even seen him in the return game yet, which was a big part of his game in college. I'm personally expecting big things from him this season. What about you?
What do you think of Tony Pollard's preseason performance so far?
The Brady Report: Tony Pollard, Devin Smith Steal The Show On Offense
The Dallas Cowboys earned their first win of the 2019 preseason on Saturday night, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 14-10 in Hawaii.
Despite the low scoring affair, there were certainly standout performances from both offensive and defensive players for Dallas. Some who are looking to earn a roster spot, and others who are rather solidified in their place with the team.
Let's get into some of my game notes from the Cowboys preseason victory.
- Tony Pollard. I mean, I've said enough right? The rookie running back was awesome in his one drive of action Saturday night, rushing 5 times for 42 yards and a touchdown on the team's opening possession. Pollard was decisive, patient, and comfortable in the zone blocking scheme, and seemed to know exactly where and how to run on each rep. Pollard is looking like a complete back, rather than just a receiving threat for the Cowboys offense going forward.
- While undrafted free agents Jon'Vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton have garnered much of the attention, it was Devin Smith who impressed the most out of all the Cowboys' down-roster receivers this week. He caught 3 balls for just 24 yards, but had a fantastic touchdown grab from Cooper Rush in the third quarter.
- Speaking of Cooper Rush, he's your backup quarterback for the 2019 season. The coaching staff gave Mike White a chance to work with the 2's this week, allowing him equal ground for competition with Rush. But even with this opportunity, Mike White did not play well whatsoever. He's indecisive in the pocket, abandons clean protection, runs into pressure, and just looks kind of lost out there. Hopefully White can improve, but Rush is certainly deserving of the QB2 spot going forward.
- While Rush solidified his position as the QB2, QB1 Dak Prescott led another impressive drive on Saturday night. Prescott has command in the pocket and of the entire offense, and he orchestrated an excellent touchdown drive in his own possession this week. Prescott went 5/5 for 64 yards, but the highlight of the game for Prescott was his third and seven completion for 31 of those yards to Michael Gallup. He and Gallup seem to be connecting this preseason, and if that's going to happen regularly, look out.
- Now to the defense. Defensive tackle Maliek Collins continues to show signs that 2019 could be a career season for him. He was disruptive in limited playing time this week, and showcased a scary spin move on the inside. He can be an electric interior pass rusher for the Cowboys, and he looks to be "putting it all together" this year.
- Jourdan Lewis is too good to rot away on the bench, guys. Though he did get beat for decent completion in the first half, Lewis was also sound as a tackler and sticky in coverage once again this week. Lewis looks to be playing at the highest level we've seen from him yet, but once Byron Jones comes back he may not be getting the playing time he'd easily earn elsewhere. Dallas has a bit of an embarrassment of riches at cornerback right now, and Lewis just needs to keep competing every week.
- Lewis' Michigan teammate Taco Charlton had a decent night himself. While Dorance Armstrong has been the talk of the town at defensive end, Charlton deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and was credited with 2 quarterback hits against the Rams. He wasn't creating the level of pressure you'd hope to see out of a former first round pick playing that deep into a preseason game, but you can tell he's looking a bit better as of late. Still, there's a whole heap of defensive ends on this roster who are flat out better than him right now.
- The Cowboys linebackers showed up to play on Saturday night. Of course, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander-Esch are who they are, but Justin March-Lillard led the team in tackles with 6, and Justin Phillips came away with an exceptional interception in the third quarter. He made a play on the ball that you don't expect to see from any linebacker, let alone someone of his roster status. This is a really deep linebacker room, and there's a strong chance the Cowboys will have to let go of a good player.
DAL 14, LAR 10; Tony Pollard, Cooper Rush Standouts in Preseason Win
The Dallas Cowboys' second preseason game wound up being the first victory of 2019. But more important than the irrelevant standings in August, the game helped us further see who deserves to make the roster this season. The 14-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Hawaii helped to reinforce things we saw in last week's game versus the 49ers.
Rookie Tony Pollard, starting at running back again due to Ezekiel Elliott's holdout, scored the first Cowboys touchdown of the preseason with a 14-yard redzone scamper on the team's initial drive.
Pollard had 42 rushing yards on just five carries, plus a nine-yard reception, on that one drive. It was an even more productive game than last week, and an encouraging sign if Zeke's absence were to linger beyond the preseason.
Also building on last week was backup QB Cooper Rush, who left no doubt that he's the superior player to Mike White with his play tonight. Coming in with the third-team offense, Rush completed 10 of 16 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.
White, who got a chance to come in after Dak Prescott this game, managed just 30 yards on 7/13 pass attempts. He threw a horrible interception on the first drive of the second half, at which point Dallas sent in Rush and ended Mike's night.
At this point, it looks like White's bid to compete for the backup QB job and perhaps even a roster spot have ended as well.
- Dak Prescott remains perfect this preseason, completing 5/5 passes for 64 yards on his one drive. He was 4/4 last week against San Francisco. Tonight's throws were highlighted by a 31-yard pass on third down to Michael Gallup to move the chains and help set up Pollard's touchdown run.
- Speaking of continued trends, Brett Maher remains suspect with a bad miss on a 52-yard field goal. Maher went wide left from the right hashmark, albeit from long range and dealing with windy conditions. But he also barely made one of the extra point attempts; still cause for concern after some bad signs a week ago.
- Trending upward is WR Devin Smith, who caught Cooper Rush's TD pass with an athletic leaping grab in the endzone. Smith is starting to remind us why he was a 2nd-round pick in the 2015 Draft, and is standing out over hyped prospects like Jon'Vea Johnson and Reggie Davis in recent days.
- Johnson had two more drops tonight to continue his own storyline from a week ago. Last week it was Cedrick Wilson who outclassed him, and this week it was Devin Smith. Either way, the Jon'Vea stock is now moving in the wrong direction.
- The stock is going up on LB Justin Phillips, who looked good last week and even better tonight with an interception and seven tackles. While small at just 6'0" and 230 lbs., Phillips has been much more visible in these games than Chris Covington and other linebackers prospects.
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Zeke Holdout: Remember, Owners Agreed to Renegotiating Contracts
Dallas Cowboys7 days ago
5 Dallas Cowboys Backups Who Have Earned More Playing Time
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Tony Pollard Continues to Impress in Training Camp
Dallas Cowboys2 days ago
Michael Gallup Showing WR1 Talent in Amari Cooper’s Absence
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Looking Absolutely Stacked
Game Notes1 week ago
3 Studs and Duds From Dallas Cowboys Preseason Week 1 Matchup
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Cowboys DT Christian Covington is a Player to Keep an Eye On