Cowboys vs. Steelers: 5 takeaways from the Hall of Fame game

Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Cowboys, Malik Turner
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Malik Turner (17) – Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Players who stood out for the wrong reasons

While we often think of preseason games as a showcase for players trying to make their case for a spot on the final roster, they can easily work against them as well. Here are some of the players who might have hurt their stock by their performance on Thursday night.

In his debut, third-round cornerback Nahshon Wright allowed a big 45-yard reception by Steelers’ wide receiver Chase Claypool, although it looked like there was a clear case to be made for offensive pass interference on the play that wasn’t called. Wright did lead the Cowboys with five total tackles.

The Cowboys’ offense was able to convert on a fourth and 15. Unfortunately, wide receiver Malik Turner fumbled the ball after making the catch resulting in a turnover. Turner, who has been having a terrific camp, made it up by catching four of his five targets on the night for a total of 47 yards, leading the team in receptions and receiving yards.

Free-agent tight end Jeremy Sprinkle committed a false start penalty on the Cowboys’ own goalline. He was also the target on an interception thrown by Ben DiNucci where the young passer attempted to complete the pass in triple coverage. It appeared it was a broken play as there were two Cowboy receivers in the same area.

Punter Hunter Niswander went one for three on field-goal attempts on the night. After making a 29-yarder, Niswader had a field goal attempt blocked. And then he missed wide right on a 52-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half.

Filling in for injured former Pro Bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein, Niswader’s misses aren’t a big deal. Especially when you consider the fact the Cowboys’ coaching staff reportedly barely allowed him to work on kicking field goals in training camp and these were his first attempts to do so in the NFL. Although I will say, I think former safety Jeff Heath might have done better.

Finally, falling into the category of special teams not being so special Thursday night, wide receiver Reggie Davis allowed a rolling punt to hit him in the chest and bounce into a defender’s arms resulting in a late turnover. Not a good look for a player trying to crack a stacked wide receiver corps through special teams play.