Dallas Cowboys

3 things we learned from the Cowboys preseason loss to the Rams

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton sacks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Sean Mannion near the goal line during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The game between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams was about as exciting as one should expect from a preseason game. There were few points, a lot of penalties and a lot of uninspiring play.

Luckily, next week should be a tad more exciting since players like Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant should see their first snaps on the 2017 NFL season.

As for this game, though it looked lackluster on television, there were a few things to take away from the Cowboys’ 13-10 loss to the Rams.

Rico Gathers solidifies spot on 53-man roster

With a good portion of Cowboys starters yet to step on the field in the preseason, Gathers has taken full advantage of his opportunities. He’s not even close to reaching his potential, but Gathers has developed enough to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster.

The tight end doesn’t have the best change-of-direction ability, but Gathers’ big body and vertical speed is quite the combination in the middle of the field. He recorded four catches for 47 yards, including a nice 25-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter.

With Gathers’ preseason play, there is a very good chance that the Cowboys keep four tight ends on the roster (Jason Witten, Geoff Swaim, James Hanna and Gathers). With a roster spot likely secured, Gathers can start climbing the depth chart if he continues his stellar play.

Taco Charlton flashes first-round ability

The biggest problem for Taco Charlton thus far hasn’t been his play, but the expectations placed on him when he was drafted by Dallas in the first round. A large segment of fans has, unfairly, expected Charlton to be the Cowboys’ pass rush savior.

However, Charlton isn’t that, and he is never going to be that. However, he is a player who has the potential to be a very good base end. Charlton flashed that ability with a sack in the first quarter.

Charlton used a nice stutter step and hand swipe to beat the left tackle and get the sack. If Charlton is going to produce as a pass rusher in the NFL, it is going to be this way.

Cooper Rush making a case to be Dallas’ No. 3 QB

The Cowboys’ offense in the first half was dreadful. Kellen Moore went 8-for-17 with 69 passing yards as Dallas scored an abysmal three points in the first half.

That all changed when Rush entered the game in the third quarter. Rush routinely moved the offense. He went 9-of-11 for 104 passing yards and a touchdown, finishing with a 136.4 quarterback rating.

He showed nice touch on his touchdown to Gathers and improved his pocket presence and accuracy against the Rams, which is more than most of the quarterbacks that were drafted instead of Rush earlier this year.

Rush played well enough that the Cowboys might have to think about giving him a spot on the final roster. If Rush continues to play as he has in the first two preseason games, it is going to be almost impossible to sneak him onto the practice squad.

Rush legitimately looked better than Moore on Saturday, which should not be ignored. It’s way too early to tell if Rush could develop into a legitimate backup quarterback to Prescott, but he has shown enough to become Dallas’ next project at QB.


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