OXNARD, Calif. – The beauty of the preseason was on full display in the second quarter of Saturday's game against the Rams.
Blitzing from the weak side, Derek Akunne came free and smacked Jared Goff, leading to a Cowboys' interception and an eventual field goal.
"We had a blitz called and really I just did my job, and I ended up making the play because of it," Akunne said on Monday.
It was a noteworthy moment for many people watching because of the principals involved. Akunne, a practice squad player working on the fringe of the Cowboys' roster, put a memorable hit on the No. 1 overall pick in last year's NFL draft, leading to a big play.
In the moment, though, Akunne said that aspect of it didn't even register with him.
"Honestly, when I was in the game, I didn't realize that's who it was," he said. "I didn't know it was the No. 1 pick – I didn't even really think about it until after the game when I started seeing it."
Akunne has made the most of his opportunities throughout this training camp, culminating with that hit on Goff. Injuries at linebacker prompted the coaches to use him with the first-team defense in practice last week, and he has consistently been able to deliver on those chances.
"My confidence has improved the most," he said. "Just being able to go out there and make plays – the more you make plays, the more confident you get and the faster you start playing."
-- David Helman