THE COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys look to clean up turnovers as preseason comes to an end

Jason Garrett and the Cowboys have one more dress rehearsal. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Sunday night’s game in Dallas was supposed to be a regular season run-through between the Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals.  I am sure most fans were excited to sit back and get a good look at how the Cowboys offense is going to look this upcoming season.  The issue with that was Head Coach Jason Garrett decided to take caution and sit his stars.

With all of the offensive line injuries, only two of the projected five starters (La’el Collins and rookie Connor Williams) took the field.  Pro Bowlers Zach Martin (Injured knee), Travis Frederick (Gullian-Barre Syndrome), and Tyron Smith (Rest) did not play. This is the reason offensive stars quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott stayed on the bench.  This left the door open for backup QB Cooper Rush to show his talent, and it did not go well. He threw 11 of 17 passes for 93 yards and two interceptions. The most noteworthy was a high floater towards the sideline on an out pattern to Tavon Austin that got picked off by Patrick Peterson who took it all the way back for a 30-yard touchdown.  

When it was all over the Cowboys had committed eight turnovers (three INTS, three fumbles lost, and two lost muffed punts).  It is extremely hard to win games in the NFL when only turning the ball over twice, and it gets exponentially harder with every one after that.   

The lone bright spot for the Cowboys was the defense.  Second year defensive end Randy Gregory was explosive and looked unblockable against the Cardinals starting offensive line.  On the third play he used a swim move and sacked starting QB Sam Bradford for a 5-yard loss. As a whole, the defense only gave up 105 yards in the first half despite all the turnovers and two defense/special teams touchdowns.

One thing is for sure, Garrett and his team better hope that Prescott doesn’t get hurt because they might be demoted down to a four-win team or less if they have to play Rush or Mike White as their starting QBs.

3 Players to Watch

  1. Mike White, Cowboys thirdrd string quarterback: This 6’5” rookie out of Western Kentucky is likely to play the majority of the next game and I think his game visually looks better.  If he can catch up with the speed of the game, he could become QB 2 season’s end.

  2. Justin March-Lillard (5’11” 228 lbs.): Is a linebacker in his 4th season out of Akron who is fighting for a spot on the team.  Even without being the prototypical size for the position, he is always in the right position and has the ability to bring some pop.

  3. Jourdan Lewis (5’10” 2017 third-round draft pick): Another defensive secondary player fighting for a spot.  He had 4 tackles Sunday night and showed great recognition along with his good athletic ability in coverage.

Coming up

Thursday night is the preseason finale.  The Cowboys (0-3) will be on the road taking on the Houston Texans (2-1) at NRG Stadium, which they will do again in the regular season Oct. 7.  Not much will be expected out of this game.  Both teams will be playing a lot of players who won’t be on the final 53-man rosters as they give their starters an extra week of rest before the real games begin.  

For you gamblers out there, if you have to take a side, I would take the Texans -4 after having seen what the Cowboys look like without Dak and Zeke.  I will be staying away from this one.




 

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Correa could be on his way out. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Editor's note: Ken Rosenthal updated his column on Tuesday afternoon.


It has not been the best of times to be a star athlete in Houston. In the last year, Jadeveon Clowney and DeAndre Hopkins were solid off for a warm bucket of spit. George Springer won't be back. James Harden and Russell Westbrook rumors are rampant. J.J. Watt might be moving on as well.

Now, reports are the Astros are listening to offers for Carlos Correa.

Predictably, Astros fans are livid. And if it's true, they should be concerned about the bigger picture.

Trading Correa makes sense - if you have no plans on keeping him after next season, as was clearly the case with Springer. If the Astros can get a haul and replenish the farm system, it would be the right move, especially considering Correa's injury history.

But in the long run, it does not bode well for the direction of the team. All recent indications are that the Astros are going cheap.

They would still be a competitive team without Correa, but it would be yet another indication their World Series window has closed. Alex Bregman could slide over to shortstop, but who would play third? And they only have one starting outfielder on the roster as it is. Putting together a competitive lineup around Bregman, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez would still be possible, but if the Astros aren't going to spend money, that could be problematic.

The writing was probably on the wall when the team hired James Click as GM from the notoriously frugal Tampa Bay organization. The good news is the Rays have been successful. But this is a new direction for a team that was not afraid to spend big money to make runs at the World Series.

If they lose Correa, they lose a team leader, one of the few players who embraced the villain role in the wake of the cheating controversy and was not afraid to speak out. But he has never lived up to his MVP potential, has battled injuries and will command big dollars on the open market. He is still young enough to become that kind of player, and someone will gamble big money that he will.

Sadly, if this rumor is true, it won't be the Astros.

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