LOS ANGELES -Football is not only back in Los Angeles, but it's back, period. The Cowboys' 28-24 loss to the Rams started out with some fireworks from Lucky Whitehead – but it ended with some celebratory fireworks for L.A.'s returning franchise.
The staff writers of DallasCowboys.com each selected a player from both sides of the ball to evaluate throughout the game, followed by a review of their performances afterward.
We outlined who we'd be following beforehand – now it's time to check in with each player and how he did.
Anthony Brown:The rookie cornerback made headlines early in camp when he intercepted Tony Romo in practice. The Cowboys' two interceptions Saturday night went to other players, but Brown had a prominent role in the defense right away, entering the game in nickel situations alongside Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne with Orlando Scandrick (rest) sitting out. Brown finished with three tackles in the first half and has a real opportunity to earn the fourth cornerback spot on the depth chart.
Geoff Swaim: Dak Prescott had two incompletions in the entire first half, and both were drops by Swaim. But the second-year tight end did make a terrific contested catch in the red zone in the third quarter with Jameill Showers at quarterback, and he was open for a touchdown one play later on fourth-and-1 when Showers threw an incomplete pass intended for Austin Traylor. Swaim has had a good training camp, though, and has been a reliable receiving target for Prescott – which made those two drops surprising and uncharacteristic.
Darius Jackson: This kid looks really impressive when he cuts back against the flow of traffic. He keeps his legs moving fast while everyone else is still adjusting, and it really stands out. He did that a few times Saturday, and it helped him turn out a 12-carry, 47-yard performance – good enough for roughly four yards per carry. Unfortunately, he failed to impress as a kick returner. He muffed one, he returned another to the 18 and another to the 22. That part was disappointing. As a running back, though, I thought he was encouraging.
Kavon Frazier: The stat sheet will show a handful of tackles, but nothing really jumped out about what Frazier was willing to do. He dipped his shoulder into a couple of ball carriers, and he didn't seem to be drastically out of position. But my initial reaction was that he didn't have a chance to make much of an impact – and the lowlight was a missed tackle or two.
Keith Smith: While he didn't provide the key block for Lucky's touchdown to start the game, Keith Smith had a big block that got Whitehead away from trouble before he darted to the end zone. At fullback, Smith didn't get in the game until the second half but had a couple of jarring blocks. On fourth-and-1 in the red zone, the Cowboys opted not to run behind him and attempted a pass that fell incomplete. Overall, it appears Rod Smith has the edge at fullback.
Ryan Russell: At first glance, he seemed like he played the entire game. It was a good opportunity for him, and like all players, there was some good and bad. Russell stopped the quarterback short of the first down early in the game to force a punt but later had a costly missed tackle in the backfield that resulted in the Rams' first touchdown. Russell applied pressure a few times in the second half but didn't seem to stand out one way or another.
Chaz Green: I always say that with an offensive linemen, you evaluate how he played not on a handful of plays but his entire body of work. For Chaz Green the film will likely show some positive plays for the most part especially when he had his snaps with the first line. What was clear was that the longer he had to play, the more physically tired and sloppy he became with his technique. I don't care how talented you might be if your technique is bad you are going to look bad and that's exactly what happened with Green. If he's going to be the swing tackle on this team, he is going to have to get in better shape physically but more importantly he is going to have to become more mentally strong because he is neither right now.
Mark Nzeocha: I thought it was a good thing to see Mark Nzeocha get the work load that he did in this game. There were several snaps where he was right where he needed to be on his fits especially when the ball was right in front of him. The one poor play I thought he had during the night was the first drive of the 2nd half for the Rams that resulted in the touchdown by Chase Reynolds. It appeared that his responsibility was to take Reynolds out of the backfield on what we call a "Texas Route". Back starts wide then angles back to the inside. Nezocha was just too wide on the drop and then was confusion where he needed to be once Reynolds broke inside. It was poor positioning on his part. Other than that, his interception was needed and when he had a chance to finish tackles he right there.
Take a look at some of our favorite photos from the 1st half of the Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 13, 2016.