ARLINGTON, Texas – It's hard to come up with many positive talking points after the 24-6 exhibition that played out Thursday at AT&T Stadium.
But there's always the old standby: the Cowboys appear pretty healthy having finished their fifth and final preseason game, with just more than a week until the season opener.
Safety Micah Pellerin left the game with a possible concussion after an ugly tackle, and rookie J.J. Wilcox left the field for a few plays, only to return moments later. Other than that, the Cowboys didn't suffer any significant setbacks.
On a night when the Giants, Dallas' Week 1 opponent, lost running back Andre Brown to a broken leg, it's worth being happy that the Cowboys won't be adding any starters to their injury list on Friday.
Moreso than that, the focus can now begin on returning several hampered starters to the lineup for the season opener.
Before the game kicked off, starting left guard Ronald Leary ran sprints on the field before sitting with the rest of the Cowboys' veterans. Leary hasn't been seen since he underwent a knee scope for a minor injury back in mid-August. He said being able to run is the first of several important steps back to the playing field.
"It means I can run now – I couldn't run a couple of days ago," Leary said. "That I can run, it shows I'm getting better."
Leary wasn't sure if he'd be able to practice next week as the Cowboys prepare for the Giants, but he said he felt optimistic about the opener on Sept. 8.
"That's the goal, so that's what I'm looking forward to right now – I hope that happens," Leary said.
Cornerback Morris Claiborne joined Leary on the field pregame for some running exercises, and Claiborne was a little more concrete – he is ready to go.
"I'm ready to play now," he said. "I've got a couple more days to better prepare myself and to get myself (ready) -- do a little bit more running, because we're going to be running a lot during the games. But I don't think it's no big deal."
Claiborne has been unavailable since sustaining a knee injury during the run-up to the preseason game against Arizona. With the Giants game looming, it looks like the Cowboys will have their full starting secondary.
Though he isn't a starter, the same can be said for receiver Cole Beasley, who put together a two-catch, 30-yard night after battling a foot injury. Beasley hasn't been seen in a game since he came up gimpy following a catch in the Aug. 9 loss to Oakland.
Beasley said he can still feel the injury in his foot, but it doesn't hamper his abilities on the field.
"I can feel it, but it's not affecting me, no – it's just enough to know it's there," he said.
Here are some more notes from the Cowboys' preseason loss to Houston:
- Beasley said he hopes his hobbled preseason doesn't cost him a roster spot when the Cowboys trim their roster to 53 this weekend. The second-year receiver figures to be one of several players sitting "on the bubble" of the roster. "There's nothing you can do – you just wait and hope for the best. It's real nerve-wracking," he said.
- Defensive tackle Landon Cohen is no stranger to the cut down process. Cohen has made the active roster for three different clubs, and he's been in plenty of other camps besides that. The former seventh-round draft pick seems to have made a good case for inclusion on the Cowboys' roster, but he said it's anyone's guess. "I've been around – I've been cut a bunch of times, so it's not the end of the world," he said. "But you never get used to that – you always expect the best."
- Two things stand out as positives during the Cowboys' ugly loss. Firstly, kicker Dan Bailey was a perfect 2-of-2 on the night, from 38 and 39 yards, respectively.
- The second big positive is the continued turnover success of this preseason defense. The Cowboys forced one fumble, recovered by new defensive end Jason Vega.
- Before you praise the defensive line too much, though, consider that the Texans recorded seven sacks of Tanney, while Dallas failed to manage one.
- The Texans didn't just double the Cowboys' total number of rushes – 40-18 – they doubled the rushing yardage at a solid 190 to 92. [embedded_ad]
- With the lack of pressure by the Cowboys and the potent running game, Texans quarterbacks T.J. Yates and Case Keenum completed 71 percent of their passes for 237 total yards.
- The Cowboys' final possession of the night saw them come as close to the Texans' end zone as 1st and Goal at the Houston 7-yard line. Thanks to three sacks and a holding penalty on the offensive line, the drive ended with a 4th and 20 from the Houston 21.