ARLINGTON, Texas – First, Taco Charlton got a sack – then, he brought out a sack of tacos.
Alright, maybe that's a stretch. The Cowboys' rookie defensive end did get his second sack of the preseason on Saturday night, when he raced around the right side and brought down Oakland quarterback E.J. Manuel on the second play of the third quarter.
The tacos were more of a metaphor, as he stood in the end zone and pretended to make tacos for his teammates.
"I came up with it maybe a couple of weeks ago," Charlton said. "Me and David Irving were talking about it. I told him, 'If I do it, you're going to have to come in and grab one.'"
That's exactly what happened, as Irving and Damontre' Moore met Charlton in the end zone to eat. The rookie said he gave the veterans their choice between chicken or beef.
It was a bit of levity for a guy who has faced his share of criticism during this preseason. The Cowboys drafted Charlton 28th overall to help bolster their lackluster pass rush last spring. With that draft grade came high expectations and no shortage of scrutiny.
Having just completed his fourth preseason game, Charlton has four tackles, two sacks and a tackle for a loss to show for his efforts. The fact that this most recent game saw him post both a tackle for a loss and a sack, he said does not surprise him.
"I knew that was going to come," he said. "Everybody else was worried, but I knew what I can do and my ability – I believe in my ability. The more snaps I get, the more familiar I get with everything the better I'm going to get."
The Cowboys no doubt hope that proves true in the short term. With Saturday's win against Oakland in the books, the heavy lifting is done for most of the guys that will make up this team's 53-man roster.
And when the Cowboys convene to begin game planning for the New York Giants next week, they'll be without both Irving and Moore, who are set to begin suspensions. They may also be without a veteran presence in Tyrone Crawford, who is still recovering from a lateral ankle sprain.
With that in mind, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has to be hoping that Taco has more tacos to deliver this year.
"It's just about getting more reps at practice, getting more familiar with the schemes, different playbooks," Charlton said. "I see the progress. I'm going to continue to strive and try to get better."