ARLINGTON, Texas– Once again, there were plenty of individuals that stood out as the Cowboys notched yet another preseason win Saturday night.
Zeke got his first carries. Jaylon Smith played more and Cooper Rush did his thing yet again. But let’s focus more on moments that might have gone unnoticed. This spot is usually saved for the five plays that changed the game. But in the preseason, let’s focus on five other players and/or aspects of the game.
So this preseason version will include players, stats and sometimes plays that get overlooked.
Oakland’s Timeout Before Half –As frustrating as the Cowboys should be to lose linebacker Anthony Hitchens for half of the season with a knee injury, it occurred on a play that could’ve been avoided. For some reason, the Raiders called a timeout with 27 seconds left in the second quarter and the ball at their own 20. Most teams would’ve probably just let the clock wind down to end the half, especially with some of the starters on Oakland’s offense already pulled. But the Raiders called timeout and ran another play. A 56-yard run by former Cowboys running back Jamize Olawale was negated by penalty. But the Cowboys couldn’t negate the knee injury suffered to Hitchens on the play.
Witten Not Slowing Down – It’s hard to overlook 15-year vet Jason Witten. But in this game, with so many other headlines taking place, Witten’s six-catch, 74-yard effort can fall through the cracks. But it was clear Dak Prescott leaned on his veteran tight end, especially in a way Tony Romo did for years. He threw the ball down the seam to Witten, who also moved the chains with short underneath routes. Don’t forget, Witten is closing in on the Cowboys’ all-time record for receiving yards. He needs just 17 to surpass Michael Irvin (11,904). Considering Witten caught a 28-yarder Saturday vs. the Raiders, the record could get broken Sept. 10 against the Giants with his first catch of the year.
White Wins By Default? – One of the final spots on the 53-man roster looked like it was coming down to Duke Thomas vs. Marquez White for the last cornerback position. While Duke Thomas has been steady in these preseason games, White had better practices in Oxnard and is a sixth-round pick. But Thomas’ knee injury might have opened up the door for White, who could’ve been in the lead anyway. But with just one game to play, it’s going to be hard for the Cowboys to keep Thomas if he ‘s out for a considerable amount of time. After the game, the Cowboys were unsure on the status of his injury but it might be just the difference-maker the club needs to break that tie.
Lenoir Making a Case? – While the Cowboys have given rookie receiver Lance Lenoir several chances to prove himself as a punt returner, he seems to have more success as a pass-catcher. Lenoir has caught touchdown passes in each of the last two games for the Cowboys, tying him for the preseason lead along with tight end Rico Gathers. Lenoir’s 44-yard reception from Cooper Rush gave the Cowboys the lead for good Saturday night. Lenoir is one of only three players on the team with at least 100 receiving yards in the preseason. He has six receptions for 100 and the two scores. His chances of making the team seem slim but the practice squad is now a possibility.
Comeback Coop – Once again, Cooper Rush leads the Cowboys from behind in the second half. It’s happened now in four straight games where this rookie free agent quarterback has taken over with the Cowboys trailing. Three times he’s thrown TD passes to put the Cowboys in the lead and another time simply the tied the score. This week, Rush needed a pair of touchdown throws to elevate the Cowboys to a win. So far in the four games, Rush leads the team with 398 yards passing and six touchdowns. His 135.9 QB rating is just behind Dak Prescott (138.5), who has thrown 29 less passes.