Dallas Cowboys Preseason Game 2: The good, bad and ugly

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: Taco Charlton
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: Taco Charlton /

Two games down, with three left before it gets real. Today we’ll focus on one good, one bad & one ugly thing from the Dallas Cowboys preseason loss in L.A.

Last week, everything that could have possibly gone right for the Dallas Cowboys did so.  Owner Jerry Jones became the 16th man in franchise history to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame.  The Cowboys won their first preseason game.  All seemingly was well.

This weekend was the exact opposite.

On Friday, we learned that the NFL and their random wheel of punishment handed down a six game suspension to running back Ezekiel Elliott.  Dallas also lost their second preseason game on their final weekend in California.

Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from the Dallas Cowboys second preseason game of 2017.

The Good

The effort on defense.

If Saturday night was any indication of what is to come from this defense in 2017, there are going to be a lot of happy Cowboys fans.

Guys were flying around the field everywhere, delivering punishing blows and forcing fumbles left and right.  Dallas caused five fumbles on the night on all levels of the defense.  While they only recovered one, the effort and attention to the cause was fun to watch.

I feel it’s only right to single out one guy, specifically, for a dramatic turnaround in just one week.  Last week, first round pick Taco Charlton earned a spot in the ugly section of this column.  Charlton came away from the Cardinals game with a goose egg on the stat sheet.  No tackles, pressures or sacks.  Nodda.

Last night, though, was totally different.  Three tackles, one for loss, two pressures and a sack.  Obviously he still has a lot of room to grow and things are going to be sporadic but you have to like the bounce back.

The “starting” linebackers also played a whale of a game.  Sadly, Damien Wilson will likely be the next Cowboys player to get suspended as he is coming into his own.  He appears to have had the light bulb completely come on.  He just gets it and his talent is able to shine through more so far in 2017.

Anthony Hitchens also had a solid game which could make this unit scary once you add Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith to the mix.

Other things to like…

Rico Gathers going back-to-back games with a touchdown is putting him squarely on the roster.  Darren McFadden looked good with only three starting offensive linemen in front of him.  Clearly, that will be crucial if the suspension of Elliott holds up.  Rookie safety Xavier Woods also put on a show during his time on the field.

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The Bad

The “starting” offense.

Yeah, I get it.  Any offense that is missing Dak Prescott, Elliott, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Cole Beasley and Tyron Smith is going to struggle.  The offense was not going to come up and break the lights on the scoreboard.

With that being said, three points and 78 total yards in one half is really pathetic.

Kellen Moore was awful (more on that later).  Receiver Andy Jones has done nothing in two games that indicates he has any chance to fight for a roster spot.  The entire running game outside of McFadden was non-existent.

Five of the Cowboys’ seven penalties came from the offensive side of the ball, including four holding penalties.  It was all bad.

All of which leads me to…

The Ugly

Kellen Moore

I am not entirely sure that Moore’s spot as the backup to Prescott should be a lock, especially after this performance.  Again, I know he’s been without weapons all preseason but 8 of 17 for 69 yards is not a good look.

It wasn’t so much about the numbers as it was his overall demeanor in the pocket.  He seemed afraid even though there was rarely pressure.  He didn’t take any shots down field or even beyond ten yards.  It was rough to watch.

I know Moore has familiarity with the system and it is unfair to judge him harshly without some talent out there.  I also can’t, in good conscious, give someone a spot without it being earned.

Next: Seven Dallas Cowboys that shined against the Rams

Maybe things will be different with Bryant or Beasley out there to make it easier for him. All I’m saying is that maybe the Cowboys keep an eye on the waiver wire in the next couple of weeks.