CANTON, Ohio – The first of five preseason games went rather well for the Cowboys, who went rather unscathed on the injury front and found a way to get the 20-18 win over Arizona.
In the process, the quarterback play was rather good for the Cowboys in Kellen Moore and then rookie Cooper Rush. Of course, Rico Gathers and Brice Butler had some standouts plays offensively, as did running back Rod Smith.
But let's focus on some of the moments that might go unnoticed. This spot is usually saved for the five plays that changed the game. But in the preseason, let's focus on five other aspects of the game.
So this preseason version will include players, stats and sometimes plays that get overlooked.
- No Sacks – Playing without the three Pro Bowl offensive linemen, the Cowboys still managed to have a successful night up front. Not only did they move the ball for nearly 400 yards and keep possession for 34:46, but the patched-up offensive line still kept the quarterbacks off the ground for the most part. The Cardinals recorded no sacks.
- Big Night For Jones – On a weekend to honor the Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones, leave it to another J. Jones to lead the team in tackles Thursday with nine. Joseph Jones, an undrafted rookie linebacker, might have been No. 43 running around to the average fan, but he had to make a good impression on his coaches. He led the team with nine tackles, including eight solo stops.
- Wilson Shines – While there is uncertainty regarding Damien Wilson, who could be facing a suspension from the NFL for a July incident in Frisco, he showed up with a couple of big plays, including one of two sacks by the Cowboys defense. Wilson also had one of three tackles for loss and a hit on the quarterback.
- Morris Produces Again –While it's easy to knock Alfred Morris and pinpoint other players who might be better at pass-catching, blocking or special teams, Morris knows what to do with rushing attempts. He had 42 yards on seven carries Thursday, thanks to a 25-yard run in the second quarter. That 6.0 yard average was by far the best among the backs who got the ball, including starter Darren McFadden, who had -6 yards on three carries.
- They'll Meet Again – The Cowboys face three teams in the preseason that they'll see again in the regular season, including the Cardinals, who host Dallas in Week 3. So if it seemed like both teams were playing very vanilla on both sides of the ball, it's because they were. Neither team showed its hand in terms of exotic alignments or unique personnel. The Cowboys also face the Rams and Raiders here in the preseason and will see both teams on the 16-game schedule.