SEATTLE — The second preseason game is in the rearview as the Dallas depth units took in a big opportunity against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night.
There were bright moments as well as dull ones, but it was the offensive side of the ball that saw the most fluidity get flushed out.
Here are five takes from Saturday night's loss in Seattle.
1. Rico Dowdle is RB2, but Deuce Vaughn will have a role too.
I love the tenacity and hard-running from Rico Dowdle more and more every week. Take away his fumble on the goal line against Jacksonville, and you could arguably call Dowdle's preseason up to this point pristine. Dowdle finished Saturday night's contest with 8 rushes for 38 yards (4.8 yards per carry) along with two receptions for nine yards and one touchdown that got Dallas on the board in the first half. Don't let this take away from what Deuce Vaughn has done up to this point, but Dowdle has been the guy that has shown traits needed to compliment Tony Pollard. As for Vaughn, his explosiveness and ability to flip a game on its head on one play is too good to keep off the field. I'm starting to expect both to get their fair share of run in the regular season.
2. Jalen Tolbert's spot is officially cemented.
I'd be completely OK with not seeing Jalen Tolbert in the preseason finale against Las Vegas. Coming into training camp, Tolbert was entrenched in a real battle for the WR4 spot, and I think it's officially time to declare the winner in that race. The second-year pass-catcher out of South Alabama stacked solid days in Oxnard and now has back-to-back solid preseason performances to hold his head on. Four receptions for 66 yards led all Cowboys pass-catchers on Saturday night.
3. The answer to the offensive line depth issue is not on the roster.
While Asim Richards did settle in as his night went on, the depth of the offensive line struggled along with losing one more body with Matt Waletzko going down with a shoulder injury in the first half. With Chuma Edoga already battling a knee injury, depth is not only not performing, but it's also evaporating as the preseason goes on. If this team is wanting to find a reliable option to back up the starting five, I'm starting to lean towards looking outside of the current roster.
4. It's Jabril Cox's time to shine.
If the worst case scenario is in fact the case with rookie linebacker DeMarvion Overshown and his knee injury, the time for Jabril Cox to shine has been expedited to now, if it wasn't already before. Cox gave an acceptable effort with his extra opportunities as he commanded the second level, but if the depth took the sizable hit that it looks like it took on Saturday night, Cox will need to be ready to contribute on a major scale once the regular season kicks into gear.
5. Mike McCarthy's play-calling shined brightest on third down.
If you're looking for a big positive from what we've seen early on from Mike McCarthy's offense, the execution on third down was particularly noticeable in Seattle. The offense finished 6-for-13, including a trio of conversions that specifically stood out. On the offense's first drive, Cooper Rush found Jalen Tolbert for a 35-yard gain down the right sideline on a 3rd and 7 that started the conversion momentum. On the next drive, Rush found KaVontae Turpin on a 3rd and 6 with the pocket collapsing in opponent territory. From a play-calling perspective, a 3rd and 2 play action designed pass to Luke Schoonmaker worked to perfection for a first down and then some. After a 5-for-15 third down effort against Jacksonville, more designed plays trickled out of McCarthy's offense leading to more conversions against Seattle.