ARLINGTON, Texas – Not much that takes place in this fourth preseason game will affect the regular season. But there are some things to keep an eye on as we move forward.
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.
Frazier allows long TD – Take away one play for rookie Kavon Frazier and the sixth-round safety had quite an evening. However, safeties are the last line of defense and simply can't get beat deep for touchdowns. While Deji Olatoye was beaten first on a long touchdown by the Texans, Frazier had the chance to minimize the play with an open-field tackle. But he couldn't slow himself down in time and Houston's Keith Mumphrey cut past him for a 64-yard score. Frazier was physical in other areas, especially run support, but as a safety, giving up touchdowns is unacceptable. That doesn't mean he won't make this team, but it was a negative strike against him.
King of the night?– I really don't know how the Cowboys save a spot for Deon King, but he did everything he could to at least earn a practice squad nod. The linebacker was credited with 11 tackles, including two for loss. Don't be surprised if the coaching staff grades the film and gives him close to 15 stops. He's a bit undersized and that was evident around the goal line on Houston's first touchdown. King's play is easy to overlook, but don't think the coaching staff didn't notice him. That kind of speed shows up on tape and is relished on the scout team.
Brown shows up on teams – The Cowboys' PR staff made sure to get Anthony Brown out of the rookie locker room so he could be interviewed by the media, who wanted to hear about his interception return for a touchdown. I would imagine, though, that the coaches are more excited about Brown's two special teams tackles. Picks for touchdowns are great, and something this team has lacked, but if Brown is going to play on Sundays, he needs to play well on special teams and he did Thursday.
Fullbacks flip again?– The two Smiths have had quite a battle for the fullback position. After two straight weeks of Keith Smith gaining ground, it was Rod Smith, who had been injured the last two games, who came back strong against Houston. Rod Smith rushed for 42 yards on seven carries, and had some quality first-down runs. Keith Smith missed a couple of chances on blocks in the hole, creating a tough decision for the coaches. Still, both players will need to play on special teams if they're on the roster and Keith Smith, a former linebacker, should have the advantage there.
Rico shows some life– It was a relatively quiet preseason for converted basketball star Rico Gathers, a sixth-round pick who hasn't played organized football since he was 13. But Gathers had his first catch of the preseason, and didn't feel like going down easy. He broke a couple of tackles for an impressive 8-yard gain. On the next play, Gathers showed some basketball skills when he boxed-out a defender when the play broke to the back side. He's not likely to make this team, but it seems apparent the Cowboys would love to keep developing him on the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Check out some of our favorite photos from the preseason finale against the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium on Thursday, September 1st.