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Instant Review: Writers Give Thoughts From LA


LOS ANGELES – Here's what the staff writers had to say immediately following the Cowboys' preseason game Saturday against the L.A. Chargers at SoFi Stadium:

Patrik Walker: Talk about two sides of the same coin -- rusty vs. polished. In the preseason opener against the Broncos, the Cowboys looked largely out of sorts in what was nearly a shutout in Denver. This time around, they imposed their will in all three phases, but it was special teams and defense that stole the show. KaVontae Turpin was a nuclear weapon that cratered any hopes the Chargers had of making the contest competitive -- delivering a 98-yard kick return and 86-yard punt return for touchdowns -- and Israel Mukuamu made his presence felt in the safety conversation with an interception in the first quarter that set the tone early for the defense. It was a tone carried by most of his defensive compatriots, especially defensive lineman Trysten Hill, who had a sack-strip-fumble recovery hat trick just ahead of halftime. The offense could've been cleaner, as penalties began to rear their head again, but a solid showing by quarterback Will Grier did plenty to spice up the battle for the QB2 seat. In all, the Cowboys have to feel good about what most of their second- and third-stringers put on film in LA, concluding a strong week that included two scrimmages as well.

Rob Phillips: Head coach Mike McCarthy is always emphasizing "play style," whether it's starters or backups in the game. He can't ask for a much better sequence than the final 1:12 of the first half: a KaVontae Turpin punt return touchdown, sack-strip fumble forced by Trysten Hill and a touchdown run by Malik Davis. All three phases contributing. The game wasn't perfect – another handful of penalties and big plays given up on defense – but that was a good complementary preseason performance. Some young players the team is for sure counting on – Jabril Cox, Jake Ferguson, Tyler Smith, to name a few – all made some plays. That's what you want to see in this type of game.

Nick Eatman: I thought it was night where some positions were cleared up and others are even more unclear. To me, we know KaVontae Turpin will be on this team - you can't have two TD returns and let him go. And honestly, I think backup QB will probably go to Cooper Rush, although we've seen things change in the final preseason game before. However, third running back, safety and defensive line rotation seem cloudier than ever. The depth of this team looks a lot better this week than last.

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