The Dallas Cowboys finished their dress rehearsal with a 20-14 loss to the Houston Texans. The score is hardly the issue, in preseason it’s always about how the players played. Earlier we looked at some players who improved their stock in the game, now we’ll look at some whose stock went down. In some cases it wasn’t necessarily their play, but the snap counts and when they played that showed where they are in the coach’s minds.
It wasn’t like Smith had some horrible game filled with mistakes that were easy to see. It wasn’t a case of that at all. His issue is where he now falls in the pecking order of linebackers. Among the four players expected to make up the linebacker rotation, the highest-paid linebacker is sitting in fourth.
The indomitable OCC pointed this out to us in a must-read article that looked at the snap counts of the starting defense in the first half of the game. Overall Micah Parsons had 18 snaps in the first half, Keanu Neal had 15, Leighton Vander Esch had 13 and Smith had 12. When the Cowboys went to two linebackers on the field, the combination of Parsons and Neal got five more snaps than LVE and Smith.
It seems that with this new defensive staff, Jaylon Smith is going to have to work to get his snaps in the rotation.
Any QB who played not named Cooper Rush
There was some good news about the quarterbacking in this game. We already touched on the quality game turned in by Cooper Rush. Also, the was the pregame workout of Dak Prescott where he completed 51 of 52 passes (versus air) and hasn’t had a setback as he ramps up his volume.
On the other side of the ledger was the bad performance from Garrett Gilbert and the mistake-filled performance of Ben DiNucci. Neither player helped themselves in the game, and for DiNucci it was the kind of performance that makes one wonder if he’ll even make the roster or practice squad. Three interceptions will do that. Perhaps the only thing that will save him is Mike McCarthy’s man-crush on the kid.