SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Most people would say it takes a lot to be perfect.
Well, maybe preseason games are the exception.
Say what you will about Dak Prescott and the first-team offense, which wasn’t on the field but one drive, but it was pretty perfect.
That one drive ended in a touchdown, and Dak left the game with a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. And in the preseason, that’s enough to call it a night.
It’s enough to call it a great night.
Remember, and it feels like we say this every single year, but the ultimate goal of the preseason games are to get some work in and get out without major injuries.
Check and check.
And then the cherry on top was how that first-team offense looked.
No Jason Witten. No Dez Bryant. And for different reasons, it was no Ezekiel Elliott. And really, it was no problem for the Cowboys, marching down the field behind the strength of the offensive line, nifty running by Rod Smith and a scramble from Prescott. All of that led to a beautifully-thrown pass from Dak to Michael Gallup, who made quite an impression with his first-ever catch down the sideline. What he did better than anything was find the ball while looking back into the sun. To me, that’s exactly what the problem was for 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward, who couldn’t find the ball at all and when he did, Gallup was handing the ball to the official after the first touchdown of the game.
OK, I’m not going to sit here and say “Dez who?” because I still think the Cowboys are going to miss Bryant at some points this year. But Gallup has a lot of Dez-like qualities, especially the Dez Bryant early in his career – a big-body receiver who can get past the defense and make plays on the ball.
Truth be told, the pass could’ve been out there a little farther, and that’s something we’ve seen a little bit from Dak in training camp. The receivers are waiting on the deep ball too often. But this time it didn’t affect the play.
Let’s also say this about Prescott: He was poised in the pocket. He found the right reads earlier in the drive and even took off running when it was needed. I’m sure that play made everyone hold their breath a little bit. There’s no way Jason Garrett wants his starting quarterback running the ball much in the preseason, but if it meant extending the drive and seeing more of the first-team offense, then it was the right play.
Up front, we saw Connor Williams struggle a little bit, giving up a sack, but he did a nice job of bouncing back on that drive, and the next one, to hold his own.
Let’s not forget the running back. Smith just knows how to find some running room inside. OK, let me be careful to compare him to a Hall of Fame back, but Smith has a little Marcus Allen in him. A tall, slithering back that doesn’t seem super physical, but just finds a way to keep moving.
Obviously, he’s not Allen and probably never will be, especially running behind Zeke, but Smith is a good player to have in there, especially in the preseason.
All in all, you saw exactly what you wanted to see from the offense.
Yeah, it was quick. And that’s what made it great.
Do that two more times and let’s get this thing to Carolina for Week 1. But for now, it was a great start.
And in some areas, it was perfect.