INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Finally, a road win in the preseason.
Couldn't believe the stat I came across over the summer that it had been 10 full years since the Cowboys actually won a true road game in the preseason. Even though, this didn't feel like a road game all the time considering the loyal fan base the Cowboys have in the preseason.
But in reality, none of that matters too much in the big picture. While the importance of winning or losing preseason games is always debatable, you always want to look good in the process.
And that's the best part of Saturday night's win over the Chargers, the Cowboys did look pretty good – in all three phases. Actually, make that four phases because penalties must be included.
Sure, the Cowboys still had eight penalties for 57 yards, about half of last week's total. But it wasn't a big problem this week because the offense, defense and special teams made sure to overcome any yellowish setbacks that might have occurred.
And yes, I'm quite aware the Chargers didn't have their starters out there. Same for the Cowboys, let's just evaluate this for what it is was – a second preseason game in which both teams were looking to evaluate young players and avoid major injuries. And then, if it works out, win the game.
Check, check, check for the Cowboys in this one. They'll leave the state of California - after being away from home for nearly a month – with a satisfying win that should put the team and coaching staff in good spirits as we shift towards the second-part of camp back at The Star.
Ok, let's start with the things we found out after this game:
- KaVontae Turpin made the team tonight. Plain and simple – mark it down. I said that immediately after the kickoff return, citing players such as Zuriel Smith, Reggie Swinton and Lucky Whitehead who have scored return TDs in the preseason and made the team. Now, none of them actually had TWO in the same game. I mean, Turpin probably got a ton of calls on his phone when he turned it on after the game. Maybe some of them were real estate agents looking to get him into a home. Funny thing, Turpin joined the Cowboys in Oxnard so he isn't even settled yet. But he will before too long.
- This defensive line rotation is getting crowded. Dante Fowler had a nice game working against the Chargers' backups. But then again, it looks like Fowler is a second-team pass-rusher behind D-Law, Armstrong and of course, Parsons. The reason the defense played well throughout the game was the depth of the D-line, both at end and tackle. Trysten Hill needed to have a good game and he did just that. This is going to be a tough position to trim down, whether it's by cutting players or possibly looking to trade away the depth.
- Even before it sounded like Will Grier possibly had an injury setback at the end of the game, it looks to me like Cooper Rush is staying in the lead as the No. 2 quarterback. Then again, if Grier can play this week against Seattle on Friday, I would think he could possibly start the game and get most of the reps – just to see how he handles it. But to me, Rush was always been in the lead because of his lone victory last season. Grier would've had to be much better and that hasn't been the case. Then again, perhaps both could make the team and if that's the case, this doesn't really matter.
- I've liked rookie running back Malik Davis from the moment he lowered his shoulder and ran over one of the safeties back in camp. I really like the way he runs in a violent way. Davis ran the ball downhill, but so did Rico Dowdle, who started the game. Dowdle did nothing to lose his spot as the No. 3 back. It's going to be interesting to see what happens at running back in the final preseason game.
- And as for the thing that didn't get settled – kicker. We really don't know much of anything at this point. Brett Maher might have helped his cause by hitting a 61-yarder, but I don't think he can be faulted for missing. Lirim Hajrullahu made his short kick while Maher was better on kickoffs. This is a tight race between the two, and don't rule out the rest of the kickers in the free-agent pool that will probably be discussed when the season gets closer.
Overall, the Cowboys are coming home with a win. They're coming home relatively healthy. And they're coming home with a little more confidence in their depth.
That's a win-win-win situation if you ask me.