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Gamebreakers: 10 Cowboys who stood out vs. SEA


(Editor's note: The content provided is based on opinions and/or perspective of the editorial staff and not the Cowboys football staff or organization.)

SEATTLE — There's never any love lost between the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks, even if it does happen to be a preseason contest. The history between the two clubs in August is wrought with headlines — e.g., Cliff Avril's hit on Tony Romo in the preseason that ushered in the Dak Prescott era in 2016 — but the primary goal for both teams was to remain healthy.

The other is to evaluate talent en route to looming roster decisions that must be made in less than two weeks from today, and the Cowboys have plenty of tough conversations waiting for them.

That is especially true after seeing these 10 players step up against the Seahawks at Lumen Field:

Jalen Tolbert

The needle on the compass of Tolbert's progression continues to point due north as training camp and the preseason roll along. The former third-round pick was a lighthouse for the rocky offense against the Seahawks, getting off to a blazing-hot start with two catches for 50 yards — one being despite a defensive pass interference call — walking into halftime with four catches for 66 yards.

Cooper Rush

Rush found a security blanket in Tolbert and the connection helped the Cowboys offense eventually find a sort of groove when the former was in the game. He'd go on to put Dallas on the board with a six-yard touchdown toss to Dowdle in the early second quarter before leaving to allow Will Grier to take the helm for the remainder of the contest — Rush ending with 96 yards on the day to go along with the aforementioned touchdown.

Luke Schoonmaker

The rookie second-round pick is working his way back into the fold after missing the first half of training camp (and minicamp) with plantar fasciitis. He'd take the field in the preseason opener against the Jaguars but his impact didn't come until he battled the Seahawks, when he helped Will Grier establish command to start the third quarter — grabbing both of his targets for 22 yards and two first downs. The former Wolverine is making strides in his return from injury.

Deuce Vaughn

He's at it again. Vaughn put on a bit of a show in his preseason debut against the Jaguars, when he was collecting ankles and making it look easy in doing so. In his second outing, this time against the Seahawks, Vaughn added more ankles to this collection on a 14-yard touchdown run that proved he's as tough as he is elusive.

Rico Dowdle

In the race to determine who'll get the nod at RB2, Dowdle continues to show what he's capable of when healthy. He'd take the start against the Seahawks and rattled off an average of 6.9 yards per carry on the first drive alone (3 carries, 19 yards). He was a stabilizing force for an offense that, other than Tolbert, was in desperate search of one.

Malik Davis

It wasn't the best outing for Davis against the Jaguars, but that changed when he took the field against the Seahawks. The second-year running back nearly matched Dowdle's production on the ground in the first half, and looked decisive in his carries. He had twice as many carries in the first half of this week's game than in all of the preseason opener, and that bodes well for him as the team prepares for the Raiders.

Jabril Cox

For the second consecutive preseason game, Jabril Cox makes the list. A former fourth-round pick who hasn't looked himself to start his NFL career due to a torn ACL suffered early on, Cox has finally begun to find his form in 2023 training camp. He played well against the Jaguars and again versus the Seahawks, and the Cowboys need him to continue to make the leap forward; and this is especially true if it turns out DeMarvion Overshown has suffered a major knee injury.

Sam Williams

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. On one hand, Williams' sack of Geno Smith in the first quarter forced a 57-yard field goal following the third-down stop. On the other, Williams' roughing the passer penalty put the Seahawks on the Cowboys 12-yard line on a drive that ended in a touchdown. There can be no doubt about Williams' ability to potentially have a breakout season, as long as he avoids the penalties.

Dontario Drummond

Don't forget about Drummond in the WR conversation for Dallas. Although he has an uphill climb to be in the conversation for a 53-man roster spot, credit to the young wideout for taking leaps in that journey against the Seahawks. At one point, Drummond was nearly the leading receiver for the Cowboys on Saturday — bested only by the big night delivered by Tolbert.

Will Grier

Talk about taking the torch and running with it, so to speak. Grier came out of halftime like a man on a mission, and that mission was to drive the Cowboys down the field and into pay dirt; and that's exactly what he did. Luke Schoonmaker helped Grier set the tone and Deuce Vaughn did the rest to push the Cowboys to within three points. It's a leveled-up showing for Grier, one that can't be deleted — even by his late-game interception.