Cowboys defense continues to shine in loss to Texans

Dallas Cowboys, Micah Parsons (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys, Micah Parsons (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Despite dropping to 0-3 in preseason play the Dallas Cowboys have shown much promise on the defensive side of the ball. With this being the “dress rehearsal” game for most of the starters, we saw the first team defense play the entire first half.

But, with quarterback Dak Prescott sitting out again we did not get as good of a look at the “ones” on offense. Many new faces stood out on both sides of the ball and there are a few key moments/players that should be highlighted.

The second to last preseason game is one where many players make or break their spot on the roster. As time ticks down on training camp, the Cowboys coaches and front office have some very tough decisions pending.

Without further ado, here are the three top takeaways from the preseason loss.

3. Cooper Rush for QB2

The Cowboys’ backup quarterbacks have been given plenty of opportunities this offseason due to the shoulder injury of Dak Prescott. Garrett Gilbert and Cooper Rush seemed to be the most likely options to win the backup job at the start of camp.

But, with the recent play, I believe the QB2 job should go to Cooper Rush. Rush stepped in against the Texans and immediately took control of the offense. Rush completed 10 of 12 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 139.9.

Gilbert started the game but struggled to get in any rhythm with the rest of the first-team offense. Many believed he was the favorite in the clubhouse to be Dak’s backup but after these last two preseason games, I am not so sure.

The fourth and final preseason game will be the last test for both Gilbert and Rush to see who claims the backup QB job.

2. The Defense looks refined

For the first time in a while, the Cowboys’ defense appears to be playing together. There were points last season where it seemed like the players did not know what they were supposed to be doing.

But now with new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn calling the shots, the defense looks refined. I realize this is preseason but the defense forced the Texans into going 0-10 on third downs in the game.

Obviously, the addition of players like Micah Parsons, Keanu Neal, and a full offseason of Randy Gregory will help the defense. But, the scheme change and aggressiveness on defense really stood out against Houston.

They say defense wins championships, and the Cowboys will need their defense to keep up the good play if they want to be contenders this season.

1. The 2021 draft class looks legit

Heading into the 2021 draft is was evident the Cowboys needed to address the defense, and that is exactly what they did. Through three preseason games, the Cowboys look like they hit big on their 2021 draft class.

First-round pick Micah Parsons looks fantastic thus far. According to Pro Football Focus, Parsons has a grade of 91.0 in the preseason, ranking him third amongst all rookie defenders.

His speed and range are evident, also he is lining up in multiple spots to help give him the best chance to make an impact. There was even a play where he split a double team and chased down Texans QB Tyrod Taylor,

Then there are third-round picks, Osa Odighizuwa and Nahshon Wright, who have stepped up and wowed some people in training camp and preseason. Osa has been great these past two games, having to play extra snaps due to the injury of Neville Gallimore.

Wright was a surprise pick on draft day but has played very well as a boundary corner for Dallas. He uses his 6-foot-4 frame to make it very difficult for quarterbacks to make throws on the sideline. Also, that unique length for a corner makes it harder on some wide receivers to create separation.

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I believe Wright has outperformed second-round pick Kelvin Joseph thus far, but Joseph still has the potential to be a very good player. As long as these rookies can continue to develop they should be big factors in the Cowboys’ success this season.