ARLINGTON, Texas – This spot is usually saved for the five plays that changed the game. But in the preseason, let's focus on five players and/or aspects of the game.
So this preseason version will include players, stats and sometimes plays that get overlooked.
Noah Brown solidifying his spot – If there was a doubt about Noah Brown making the team because he's the fifth receiver and the Cowboys could possibly have cheaper options, he's pretty much erasing those thoughts. Once again Saturday Brown made a couple of really nice plays in the second quarter. More impressive than a sideline catch where he showed concentration despite getting interfered with, Brown had another grab where he used his strength to drag a defender for a first down. It's those types of plays the Cowboys will ask from Brown and he's showing to be not only a special teams contributor but someone who can step right in on offense when needed.
Ralston have an outside shot? – Rookie fullback Nick Ralston is starting to slowly work his way into the conversation of getting a final roster spot. That was evident by the amount of early snaps he got Saturday night, including some fullback work in the first quarter. An undrafted rookie from University of Louisiana, who went to high school in nearby Argyle, Texas, Ralston has played a few playoff games at AT&T Stadium. While he got just two carries for three yards, he picked up two first downs on short-yardage situations. Last week, he made a big tackle on special teams. Ralston will likely get plenty of snaps in the final preseason game against Jacksonville to prove he needs to stick around.
Jarwin's two different plays – In just a matter of a couple minutes, we saw plays on both ends of the spectrum for Blake Jarwin. The tight end has admittedly said his blocking must improve and we saw him fail to block the corner on a reverse run to Amari Cooper late in the first quarter. After the four-yard loss, Cooper Rush went to Jarwin down the field for a 25-yard pass in the seam. Just another example of the things he still needs to work on, but also plays that we're used to seeing from the tight end.
Tight race for No. 2 job – Earlier this week on his scheduled radio segment on 105.3 "The Fan" in Dallas, Stephen Jones said the competition is close between Garrett Gilbert and Cooper Rush. Although we haven't seen the reps suggest that in practice or games, it was on display Saturday night. Gilbert got only two series and was ineffective while Rush stepped in to finish the first half. He led the team on two drives, threw a couple of touchdowns and completed 10 of 12 passes for 97 yards (139.9 QB rating).
Another positive step for Jabril Cox – For the second straight week, rookie linebacker Jabril Cox was atop the stat sheet for the defense. He tied for the team lead with four tackles, including one for loss. Last week, he led all defenders with eight tackles. The fourth-round pick from LSU is carving out a role for himself and it seems like it'll be a game-day role considering his ability to play on special teams.