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Game Notes

The Brady Report: While The Young WRs Disappoint, The DB’s Shine

Kevin Brady



The Brady Report: Young WRs Disappoint While DB's Shine

The Dallas Cowboys finally opened up their 2019 preseason Saturday night, doing so with a 17-9 road loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

While the starters played very limited time during the contest, with many key players not playing whatsoever, there's still a ton to take away from this game. Let's dive right into my game notes from the Cowboys loss, and discuss who shined and who disappointed in the preseason opener.

  • For his first live-action drive this season, I thought quarterback Dak Prescott played well. He and Michael Gallup clearly have developed a rapport over Gallup's first year-and-change with the team, and they are going to keep trying to hook up on that fly route down the sideline this season. It drew a defensive pass interference call Saturday night which set up the first field goal of the game. Prescott might've been lucky his third down attempt to Blake Jarwin got tipped, though, as that could've been a red zone interception had it gotten through the line.
  • Chidobe Awuzie had a real nice day. Not only did he have a solid pass breakup on a third down to force a punt, he was also aggressive and controlled as tackler in the open field. He looks as comfortable as he ever has out there, and his tackling was impressive. He struggled to make plays on the ball in 2018, so the pass breakup was great to see. His time working as CB1 in practice these past few weeks might be sharpening his coverage skills even further.
  • Speaking of young corners having good nights, add both Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis to that list. Brown specifically had an excellent tackle in the fist quarter on third and ten. He played good man coverage, and though he allowed the reception he made sure to keep the receiver short of the sticks. All of a sudden the Cowboys have an embarrassment of riches at the cornerback position, and when Byron Jones comes back one of these guys is going to be relegated to a bench role they deserve better than.
  • Then there was rookie safety Donovan Wilson. The sixth round pick came up with a nice interception in his first game action, and began to show signs of the player that the Cowboys seem to believe can help fill their safety hole in 2019 and beyond.
  • While the young defensive backs looked as good as advertised, the young wide receivers had a bit of a rough night. Jon'Vea Johnson came in with a ton of hype, but a big third down drop stalled both the momentum of the Cowboys' offense and his own hype train at once. He still came up with a nice sideline catch towards the end of the first half, but the drops are beginning to become an issue. Still, his route running is impressive and should not be overlooked. Jalen Guyton didn't do much himself, though Mike White didn't help these wide receivers out either.
  • Speaking of Mike White, it wasn't pretty for the young quarterback on Saturday night. Cooper Rush looked composed and comfortable, and put even more space between him and White for the QB2 role. If Dallas really does only carry two quarterbacks, it might be curtains for Mike White.
  • Last but certainly not least, let's talk about the offensive line. The first unit (minus Zack Martin) was really solid. Tyron Smith was downright dominant in pass protection, even producing a viral internet clip by throwing the pass rusher down to the ground with ease. I though Connor Williams looked good and is certainly carrying his newly added weight well. La'el Collins did get beat inside once on the pass attempt which resulted in pass interference, but I felt they did a nice job as a group overall. Once the rest of the linemen came in, though, there were some issues. Though Adam Redmond, Joe Looney, and Xavier Su'A-Filo held their own on the interior, Mitch Hyatt had a really rough night. Hyatt just isn't ready for the NFL game, particularly concerning his play strength.
  • One last parting shot: the Cowboys need to do something about Brett Maher. There simply can't be a single player, coach, or fan that feels confident in him when he comes into the game at this point. Maybe some veteran competition will get him right. Maybe not, but it's worth a shot.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.


Game Notes

Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Taco Charlton might be turning things around. The former first round draft pick didn't have a great couple of seasons to start his career off, which forced him to be in a battle to earn a spot on the Cowboys 53-man roster this offseason. Three weeks into the preseason, it looks like he's a lock to make the team. In a "Dress Rehearsal" game that went great for the Cowboys, Charlton's performance was among the best players.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed how the Cowboys' younger defensive ends could force the team to move on from Taco. From Dorance Armstrong to Jalen Jelks, there's a handful of promising players that were participating in a positional battle that one way or another, included Taco Charlton.

However, the Michigan product showed up to play versus the Los Angeles Rams with two passes batted down. Despite making such plays, we still hadn't seen much from him in the pass rush department.

Taco Charlton

That changed against the Houston Texans last Saturday when he managed to get two sacks (one strip-sack), two forced fumbles and a recovery. This was undoubtedly Taco's best game in his career. He still has a lot to prove, but it was definitely good to see him have a "breakout" preseason game.

With such performance, it doesn't seem like he'll be going anywhere in 2019. Charlton won't be a starter for this team, but he could become a very important rotational piece for Rod Marinelli's defense. He has a great opportunity to find playing time during the first two weeks of the season before Robert Quinn returns from suspension.

One unfortunate note was that in his best game yet, Taco went out injured twice (ankle). The first time he went back to the field to get some more but had to walk off the field for a second time. Hopefully, he's able to play next Thursday but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't after having a breakout game versus the Texans.

Taco Charlton still has a very long way to justify being a first-round pick, but his play against Houston was a start. It will be very interesting to see how he plays in the 2019 regular season. He'll have to fight for playing time and he'll have to make every snap count to turn his career around.

Tell me what you think about "Taco Charlton Isn’t Going Anywhere After Strong Preseason Week 3" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Game Notes

HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game

Matthew Lenix



HOU 0, DAL 34: Defense Dominates in Dress Rehearsal Game 1

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't have scripted a better result in tonight's dress rehearsal game against the Houston Texans. All three phases of the game made big plays as they dominated 34 to 0.

The night belonged to the defense as they terrorized Houston's starters and reserves along the offensive line with 8 sacks. Taco Charlton, a former first-round pick turned outcast was the star of the night with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. In my opinion, if there were any doubts about him making the roster he put them to bed tonight.

Kerry Hyder showed once again why he's one of the smartest free-agent signings of 2019. After being a lost man in the 3-4 defensive scheme with his former team the Lions, he's done a really good job applying pressure even though he hadn't recorded any sacks in the first two preseason games. However, tonight he recorded 2 sacks and reminded everyone of the player who had 8 sacks in 2016.

The young guys weren't to be left out in this defensive clinic. Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Daniel Wise, and Joe Jackson all had half sacks. Rookie Safety Donovan Wilson had one of the plays of the night with a beautiful interception as he tapped both feet before heading out of bounds. Cornerback C.J. Goodwin, who will probably make the roster on his special teams ability, got in on the interception party himself high pointing a contested pass.

Dak Prescott was only 2 for 5 (11 for 14 in the preseason) but managed to escape what looked like a sure sack and roll to his left and threw a rope to Michael Gallup for a touchdown. The two have shown a lot of growth and chemistry during training camp, something that was missing at times in 2018.

Wide Receiver Devin Smith had 6 receptions for 79 yards while Cedrick Wilson snagged 3 passes on 4 targets. Both receivers are fighting for the final roster spots in the receiver group which they'll have to continue to do next week against the Buccaneers.

Tight End Marcus Lucas had a very solid game with 4 catches for 50 yards. He will definitely be a player to watch in the final preseason game before final cuts are made. Cooper Rush went 15 for 25 and further solidified his position as the primary backup to Prescott. Mike White was also solid going 6 for 9 and tossing a touchdown.

Special teams got in on the action themselves when Linebacker Joe Thomas recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Now the Cowboys have only one more preseason game before the 2019 season begins. All that's left now is figuring out the last few roster spots and staying as healthy as possible. September 8th is right around the corner.

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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez



Rookie Report: Which Cowboys Draft Picks Stood Out Against the 49ers?

In the NFL, the third preseason week is often referred to as the "Dress Rehearsal." It's usually the week in which starters get the most playing time. That has changed lately, with plenty of teams deciding to take care of their key players instead of risking them on the field. However, the Dallas Cowboys have played their starters on their first two games and there's no reason to believe that will change versus the Texans today.

Here is my wishlist for the Cowboys vs Texans "Dress Rehearsal!" Let me know what your wishes for tonight's game are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!

Wish #1: Justin Phillips Locks Up a Roster Spot

Phillips has been one of the most surprising players this offseason and preseason. The Cowboys are set at linebacker, but Phillips has made sure to be a tough guy to cut. Last week, he had a remarkable interception against the Rams. Despite making a first step toward the line, he managed to adjust and made the play. He has followed it up with more plays in practice.

If he keeps it up, the Cowboys won't be able to cut him. He has the potential to be a force on special teams and a quality backup.

Can WR Devin Smith Sneak Onto the Dallas Cowboys 53-Man Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Devin Smith (AP Photo / Josie Lepe)

Wish #2: Devin Smith Makes Things Interesting

The battle for the final wide receiver spots is at full-go. Devin Smith has shined lately, and has risen as a serious candidate to make the roster. However, it seems like other wide receivers have the upper-hand as of now. Earlier this week, I made my Cowboys WR Power Rankings and had Devin Smith at #7.

His TD catch versus the Rams last week was pretty impressive, and I wish he makes a few more plays to make the debate all the more interesting.

Wish #3: Tony Pollard Does It Again

Fifth-round rookie Tony Pollard stole was the show last weekend as he racked up 51 total yards (five carries, one catch) and a touchdown on Dallas' first offensive drive. He looked impressive as the starting running back, giving us just what we wanted to see.

While many have advertised him as a gadget player, Pollard proved he can actually be a "standard" RB. He ran between the tackles, showed power, balance and great vision. I'm ready to watch it again, this time versus the Texans.

Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Wish #4: Taco Charlton Shines Rushing The Passer

Taco Charlton has made a couple of plays in preseason on his third year with the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Rams, he batted down two passes and looked good separating from opposing offensive linemen. Charlton has gotten praise from some analysts during these first two preseason weeks.

But I want to watch some quality pass rush from his part. Right now, the Cowboys' roster counts with some promising players, including rookies Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson. While they're currently below Taco, he must prove he belongs on the roster.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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