Dallas Cowboys preseason: Four things you need to know

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 26: Jason Witten
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 26: Jason Witten /

The Dallas Cowboys showed flashes over the Oakland Raiders. Let’s talk about four things that jumped out to me that you need to know.

After the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Oakland Raiders over the weekend, we have one last game before the real action begins.

The Boys are one step closer to the regular season. But before Dallas wages war against their division rival, the New York Giants, in the season opener, let’s take a look at four notes you need to know after the Raiders contest.

Jason Witten is the true star

The regular can’t come soon enough. The last thing fans wanted to see this summer was another suspension or, sadly, a potential season-ending injury.

The Cowboys dodged a bullet with Anthony Hitchens, making the linebacker corps a tad thin, but we’ll take eight weeks over the rest of the season any day.

As of late, the Cowboys are regarded by some as the team that houses convicts. I go through these mental gymnastics to counter these arguments but really, two words is all it takes to tilt the conversation towards my favor.

Jason. Witten.

Remember that old guy?

Number 82 caught six balls for 74 yards and a score. He averaged 12.3 yards. Witten, who turned 35 last May, is sort of the forgotten guy with the emergence of Rico Gathers. And, obviously, that is expected.

Rico gives fans something to look forward to. He has energized the fan base. But let’s not forget Witten, who caught 69 balls last season and hasn’t missed a start since 2003.

With everything that is going on around Dallas, with the coaches and staff plugging holes here and there on the depth chart due to suspensions, it’s Witten who remains the constant. Not only has he been consistent, but his model behavior isn’t something that gets enough credit, simply because it’s not newsworthy.

He’s been the perfect teammate. The old guy shows the young guy how to work, approach the game and how to study. Witten doesn’t talk about it; he just goes out and does it.

Best of all, he demonstrates how a professional becomes a pro and most importantly, how to remain one during a career span.

So, the next time someone challenges the star, or is in full belief that the Cowboys are full of troublemakers and convicts, point them to Jason Witten. That will end the conversation, I promise you.

Man, Cooper Rush

Statistics don’t mean much during the preseason times. It’s not a great measuring stick. But, I think, taking a look at turnovers is key.

Rush gave up a sack and let a fumble loose to the other team. How did he respond for the night?

The rookie went 12/13, 115 passing yards, ran for 13 yards and tossed two touchdowns. He final rating ended up at 143.1.

If stats mattered here — it doesn’t — the story says he was the best quarterback that night. Conner Cook had numbers that don’t look as nice. Remember: The Cowboys had their eye on the QB before he was picked up in the fourth-round last year.

Cook went 9 for 16, 89 yards with a final rating of 72.1.

So, go ahead, get excited about Rush. Get excited about this organization’s ability to draft and build quality quarterbacks.

All is well in the running backs room

Alfred Morris still has it. There’s still a lot of juice in the tank, so the Dallas Cowboys can sleep a little better at night knowing that Ezekiel Elliott is out for some time.

Morris ended the night with nine rushes for 56 yards, averaging 6.2 yards. Darren McFadden had only two carries, but those rushes had some pep and flash. He had 21 yards and averaged 10.5 yards per carry.

In addition, Rod Smith carried the ball three times for 11 yards.

All is okay behind Dak Prescott, so let’s take a deep breath while we find out how Elliott’s troubles plays out.

Jaylon Smith’s Great Expectations

With Hitchens out for eight weeks, Smith’s comeback tour might come sooner. But, let’s take some precaution here.


Sure, we’d love to see the linebacker back on the field doing his thing. But at what cost? It’s better to take the slower (read: safer) route, even if it means plugging in a lower quality player in the interim.

Next: Cowboys have some difficult roster decisions looming

Last week, we talked about taking this great story one tackle at a time. This week, Smith’s stat line shows a tackle for a loss.

Let’s clap at that and enjoy the moment.