What is the take-home message from four preseason losses? Is it primarily the quality of the backup QB (I remember when Dak burst on the scene in 2016 and lit it up) or are other teams more talented at finding depth among the undrafted? — TIMUR OZELSEL / EDMONTON, CA
Nick: Let's just not forget about last year. The Cowboys didn't. They remember losing player after player after player after THE player, after player. So anything and everything got them to be overly cautious this year. So yeah, the preseason didn't have the best players – at all. And it showed on the field. Sure, you would've liked to see the guys play together a lot more, but not at the risk of injury. Just not worth it. The games that matter start now, and there's 17 of them. We all know the Cowboys have had great teams even when they went winless in the preseason. I think there's reason to be concerned, but not because of the 0-4 record in the preseason.
Rob: I've seen some fans voice concern about this since Sunday, and I'm not sure why, to be honest. Nobody likes to lose. But preseason records historically don't translate much to the regular season. The last two times the Cowboys won the division, they went 0-4 in preseason. Happened during the '90s dynasty, too. If there's a concern, it's that the offense won't be fully in sync Week 1 because the club has been very careful with certain starters coming back from injury, most notably Dak. There's still some time to shake off that rust before the opener. Yes, they've got to figure out backup quarterback and they're not particularly deep in some other spots. But the biggest concern before training camp (besides health of key players) was the state of the defense, and their progress has been encouraging despite the final scores. Most importantly, it looks like they've mostly dodged major injuries besides Neville Gallimore expected to be out several more weeks. That's a win if you ask me.
I'm curious about some of the pundits that are concerned about Dak's ability to be good after the time he missed when he plays Week 1. My question is, after the way that he took command of the team when he was thrown into QB1 as a rookie and his experience since, why would anybody think he won't be good? — MARCO ASPAAS / VANCOUVER, WA
Nick: Good or rusty? People know he'll be good. Will he be completely back in rhythm for the first game? That remains to be seen. But I think that's the fear, is that all of this off time will make it a tougher transition back to the field. But he's going to be good. You can see that in practice this past week. But yeah, I wonder just how long it'll take him to get back in the flow. He's a gamer – he should be fine. But I would've liked to see more snaps from him.
Rob: I don't think there's concern that Dak won't be good. People are curious if the offense can perform at its best right off the bat given the lack of time together in camp (which really couldn't be helped, by the way.) I think that's a fair question. But like I said above, there's still some practice time left before Week 1. You're right, Dak took command of the offense his rookie season once he became a starter. We're talking about a different situation here. But based on what we saw in practice last week, he looks ready for the season. That's pretty impressive considering he didn't have a complete padded practice until then.