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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Walter will host The Night of Champions. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

In 2014, Austin Walter rushed for 2,704 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Crosby High School. Despite falling short of a state title, Walter was named District 19-4A MVP and finished his prep career with a little over 6,000 rushing yards on 613 carries (6,062 yds). Seven years later, Walter will be returning to his high school alma mater to give back to the community that laid the foundation for an NFL career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's a blessing to be able to come from a small town and be one of the guys who made it out," Walter said. "Not a lot of people made it to the NFL or the NBA from Crosby High School. To be one of the first, it's an amazing feeling. It's a blessing and an honor."

On Thursday, April 15, Walter will host The Night of Champions to benefit the Crosby High School Booster Club from 6-9 p.m. The event will be a weight lifting competition at Crosby High School for student-athletes around the area to showcase their talents and abilities.

In addition to hosting a weight lifting showcase, Walter will also share his life teachings with student-athletes in attendance. Perseverance and not taking no for an answer will be one of the most vital messages the Crosby native will share with aspiring pro-athletes. It's the two virtues Walter has leaned on from little league football to the NFL. And as an undrafted prospect in 2019, it was that same morale that helped him outshine six other running backs during the 49ers rookie training camp that same year.

"Before I started playing football in high school, a lot of people thought I was too small," Walter said. "They thought because we played little league and not in middle school we would not make it in high school. My twin brother [Ashton Walter] and I did not listen to that. We just kept pushing forward."

"When I left Rice, people thought I was going to play in the Canadian league or AFF, and I did not take no for an answer. I believed in myself. And I believed in God. And if I can make it out of a small town like Crosby, anybody can make it...It's the mentality I've had my entire life of not quitting. I feel like that is what got me to the point I am at right now."

Whether their life goal is to play in the NFL or not, Walter's primary objective for The Night of Champions is to be an inspiration and show kids they can find success despite their environment. It is one of the things the former XFL running back (Dallas Renegades) wished he would have seen growing up in Crosby.

After graduating from Crosby High School, Walter went on to have a record-breaking collegiate career at Rice University. He became one of two players in school history to rush for over 1,500 yards (1,744 yds.) and 1,000 kick return yards (1,548 yds.) in four seasons with the Owls. In February, Walter signed a one-year contract extension to re-join the 49ers ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Click here to learn more about The Night of Champions at Crosby High School or support Walter and the Crosby High School Booster Club.

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