Earlier this week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he would like to see the NFL preseason shortened by two games and the regular season extended to 18 games.
Judging from the past five days, the rest of the Dallas team is ready to follow his lead.
We’ve seen two preseason games since 7 p.m. on Sunday night and learned very little about what to expect from the Cowboys on September 9 at Carolina. Optimists will say it’s nothing to worry about since a small percentage of starters played in either game. Pessimists will say Dallas’s lack of depth was exposed and an 0-4 preseason is a bad omen.
But even the things we thought we could learn from Dallas’s contests versus the Cardinals and Texans might not be very simple to judge.
For example, Cooper Rush didn’t look good. He threw four interceptions (one was on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half versus the Texans, so it doesn’t really count) and no touchdown passes. He led just one scoring drive for a field goal.
But Rush didn’t have the benefit of the starting offensive line. In fact, he played with all backups versus the Texans. He didn’t have Ezekiel Elliott beside him in the backfield in either game. And very rarely did he line up for a play with the team’s full arsenal of receiving targets. It’s almost as if the Cowboys handed him a bag of flour and a can opener and asked him to bake a cake.
Another for instance, Lance Lenoir muffed two punts versus the Cardinals. Many at the time thought that could spell his being cut. But he bounced back with a 22-yard return against the Texans. He also caught nine passes for 69 yards on Thursday night, making him by far the team’s most productive offensive player.
So the preseason is over and good riddance. The season opener is now nine days away and we’re likely to see a ton of roster moves between now and then. Buckle up and lets get ready for Carolina.