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Rico Dowdle to 'improve' after fumble, delivers mostly strong outing in race for Cowboys RB2 role


ARLINGTON, Texas — The clash for the right to climb the Dallas Cowboys' running backs depth chart is now hot enough to toast your Pop Tart while it's still in the box. Deuce Vaughn put on a show in his preseason debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and good things were put on film by Rico Dowdle, despite an early-game fumble that, truthfully, wasn't his fault.

Cooper Rush needed 26 yards to put the Cowboys on the board late in the first quarter, and he found Dowdle on a short pass that the veteran running back then turned into a 25-yard gain.

"I felt real fresh out there," said Dowdle.

It was one of the best plays of the evening, but a block by KaVontae Turpin forced the defender into the ball-carrying arm of Dowdle, creating a fumble that was recovered by the Jaguars on their own one-yard line.

And while, all things considered, it wasn't anyone's fault (great block by Turpin, but the spacing worked against Davis in that phone booth), Dowdle is owning it as his mistake — no one else's.

"Obviously, that fumble, gotta take care of the ball," he said. "I'm going to be stuck on that until the next game — but I felt like I did alright. Though that fumble is a minus that made the whole day bad for me.

"Overall, I'll get ready to improve and fix the mistakes next week."

In all, Dowdle finished the game averaging nearly four yards per carry and 11 yards per reception en route to a combined effort of 54 yards from scrimmage on nine offensive touches.

In looking at the film of his performance, he continues to look ready to challenge for the role of RB2, and time will tell if Ronald Jones (groin) will be available to add to the battle when the Cowboys visit the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 19 but, for Dowdle, it's about knowing what he did well and continuing to do it, while also dissecting what he views went wrong and improving.

"Just seeing it and hitting it — my burst," Dowdle said. "I was moving well and getting to where I wanted to go [when I saw it] pre-snap, and [running backs coach Jeff Blasko] has helped a lot with that. I saw it, hit it, saw it and then hit it [again]. I was explosive, with a burst."

That burst was also on full display for the special teams unit and coordinator John "Bones" Fassel, when Dowdle took a kickoff return for 44 yards, further demonstrating his value beyond the offensive side of the equation.

"I told Bones that I'm like four returns for 250 [yards]," Dowdle said jokingly. "It felt good to go out there on kick return to show a little bit more of the burst and that I can handle things like that."

Last week, Dowdle called this season the “biggest opportunity of my life”, and he's hellbent on playing like it.

"I look forward to these next two games," he said.

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