The Dallas Cowboys lost their second preseason game Saturday night to the Los Angeles Rams, at LA Memorial Coliseum, 13-10. Dallas is now 1-1 in the preseason, and plays the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, August 19th, when they return to Texas after the close of Training Camp in Oxnard.
Here are five takeaways (and one blatantly obvious one) from Saturday night’s game.
1. Preseason Football is still bad.
Do we really need to suffer through three more of these?
2. Rico Gathers did more good things
It wasn’t just the touchdown grab – which was impressive and also a well-placed ball by Cooper Rush – but his reception over the middle in the first quarter on a contested ball, where he snatched it impressively and nearly picked up a first down was solid. Sure, you’d like to see him another yard downfield to keep the sticks moving. But he continues to show a solid set of hands. Still a long way to go for Rico – especially in terms of his ability to block, his knowledge of where to be, and the other technical aspects of playing the position. But he can be a weapon in the red zone for this team, provided he can make the 46-man gameday roster.
3. Kellen Moore still can’t throw very far
It’s honestly become a running joke, amongst Cowboys fans, Cowboys media members, national media members, and beyond… Moore has an incredible grasp of the Cowboys offense, and is a very sound quarterback from a mental perspective. But the poor kid can’t throw it downfield. The entire first half was a mind-numbing series of checkdowns and screen passes. If preseason football wasn’t boring enough…
4. Taco Charlton flashed
Cowboys first round draft pick Taco Charlton showed some positive things, including a sack in the second quarter, when he beat left tackle Pace Murphy to the inside, and sacked quarterback Sean Mannion at the one yard line. He wasn’t far off from recording a safety. After a shaky first showing at the Hall of Fame Game, Charlton was better tonight.
5. Byron Bell and Jonathan Cooper continue their battle at LG
Byron Bell played a lot of snaps with the first team offense – well, “first team offense” – in the first half Saturday night. And while there were instances where he looked good, he also had a pair of holding penalties on the Cowboys lone scoring drive in the first half. Without those two penalties, three points might have instead been seven. While he appeared to be the clubhouse leader for that position to start the night, he may have allowed Jonathan Cooper back into the battle a little more.
6. Several key players didn’t play
This preseason game didn’t feel a whole lot different from the Hall of Fame Game in Canton last week. Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott, Tyron Smith, Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith all did not see the field. Cole Beasley did not play. The Cowboys elected to wait one more game before letting too many key players see the field. Tyron Smith has been battling a back injury, and was never going to play in this game. As long as #77 isn’t on the field in a preseason game, you won’t see #4, either.
Jaylon Smith is getting closer. He may be on the field next week against the Indianapolis Colts. The Cowboys want him to get a few more padded practices in, before they put him out there.