ARLINGTON, Texas – Four preseason games down, one to go after Saturday night's 24-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders, and with so much taking place at AT&T Stadium, here are some leftovers heading into this final week of training camp.
- Dang it, the Cowboys were two plays from getting out of the first half with nearly all their front-line players healthy through four games. They didn't make it. With just 27 seconds left in the half, starting middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens went down. Right knee. I'm told it's not good. To me, and we should find more out maybe Sunday, surely by Monday, not "good means" torn ACL and likely out for the season. Even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones conceded, "I don't like the way it looks."
- But don't jump to conclusion Hitchens' injury clears the way for Jaylon Smith to become the Cowboys fulltime middle linebacker. As Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said, "We are going to stick with our plan," meaning when it comes to the season opener against the Giants Sept. 10 for Smith, "Are we going to throw him in there for 60 plays? I don't think so." Neither do I. Think Justin Durant.
- Boy, what a hands-ey game. Three hands to the face penalties called, two of those on La'el Collins, and two facemask penalties called during game. Also, a hold on LC declined. Seriously?
- Never like to, uh, rush to conclusions, but most impressive part of Cooper Rush's performance was bouncing back from third-quarter struggles, especially after suffering the sack-fumble returned for a touchdown. Then led Cowboys to two fourth-quarter TDs, the second a beauty of a 44-yard strike to Lance Lenoir on a route he says he had not thrown in training camp. No question he's on the 53. Now who is the backup?
- And on a sour note, the Cowboys have cornerbacks dropping like flies. After the top three guys – Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll and Anthony Brown – the guys considered the next four are now all dealing with injuries: Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Leon McFadden did not play Saturday night, and then up-and-coming Duke Thomas left with a knee injury. Need at least one healthy backup by Sept. 10, besides possibility of Byron Jones pulling double duty. Marquez White would seem to be next.