Worse: Horrific Food Poisoning or First Preseason Game at Denver?

August 14, 2022
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Are the players ready for the season? I’m not sure they are even ready for the preseason. There were good and bad points as Dallas sits over 20 players in the first game. One thing is clear, they do have some things to fix.

Are you ready for some football? I sure was. Boy, oh boy, I’m starting off hot. I need to know if you think food poisoning or the Dallas at Denver preseason game is worse. I’m leaning towards food poisoning. After reading some of your Twitter comments (my Twitter handle @Sam4413) I’m thinking you think that the Denver Broncos game was worse. Like many of you, I had to get my pregame on at my house.

I think I’m out of practice because I’m almost sure that my chicken wasn’t done enough. Now, it was done. Don’t get me wrong. There weren’t bright pink parts that I missed, but I’m not sure it was done enough for my stomach’s liking. So I spent a lot of time throwing up in my bathroom instead of watching the game live. I had to keep stopping it and catching back up. I thought that the Cowboys didn’t play as bad as it may seem.

Who am I? I’m the new managing editor of the Primetime Cowboys, but I also do some sports betting on the side. So, the dog days of betting have been upon me and I was so glad to have the NFL preseason starting on Friday. Yes, you heard me the preseason. It’s something else to talk about besides baseball. However, reading your Twitter comments, Facebook group comments, and even some Reddit comments (boy, you guys are ROUGH in there), you didn’t think the game was all that great. Well, let’s look at it.

Out of the Game?

No, I’m not talking about me. However, there were parts I was. I’m talking about all the players that Dallas decided to sit out this game. They went to Denver and practiced, but didn’t play in the preseason game. I can’t say I blame them either. See, you have to remember that the preseason games are just to get timing, chemistry, footwork, and anything else you may need to get ready for a season if you are a veteran. For everyone else, it’s about making the team.

The Cowboys have to get down to a 53-player roster before the season starts and with 90 players currently, some evaluations need to be made quickly. Yes, I know many of you would like to help the Cowboys out and cut a few yourself. So in order to get more playing time to evaluate the Cowboys sat down over 20 players against Denver. Yes, fans at Denver got to see some of them since they were out on the field doing different drills, activities, and conditioning about three hours before kickoff.

Players Sitting

On offense, we didn’t see veterans: tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zach Martin, running back Ezekiel Elliott, running back Tony Pollard, and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. We definitely didn’t see the Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott who is expected to sit out all preseason games.

On defense, we didn’t see linebacker Micah Parson, cornerback Trevon Diggs, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, cornerback Anthony Brown, safety Donovan Williams, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, cornerback Jourdan Lewis, defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa, linebacker Jabril Cox, defensive end Dorance Armstrong, and safety Jayron Kearse.

Dallas announced all of those names as possibilities for not playing. Then we already knew that Anthony Barr, Michael Gallup, Devante Bond, and Dontario Drummond were going to play due to being listed as inactive. Damone Clark was listed as a reserve/non-football injury.

Game Stats

Denver won the game 17-7. Denver scored 17 points in the second quarter with Dallas scoring seven points in the fourth quarter. Dallas third-year quarterback Ben DiNucci was the one that threw the pass to wide receiver Simi Fehoka. Dallas had 17 total penalties for 129 yards after leading the NFL with 141 penalties last season.

Dallas didn’t have any first downs. There were no third or fourth down conversions. They had 337 total offensive yards on 66 offensive plays. They averaged 5.1 yards per play. The Cowboys had 141 total rushing yards on 28 rushing plays while averaging 5 yards a play. They had 196 total passing yards on 21-36 with 1 interception. They averaged 5.4 yards a pass. Dallas went 0-1 on field goals.

Denver had 19 first downs with five of them being given on penalties. They went 5-13 on third down conversions and 0-3 on fourth down conversions. They had 324 total offensive yards on 63 offensive plays. They averaged 5.1 yards per play. The Broncos had 39 total rushing yards on 22 rushing plays while averaging 1.8 yards a play. They had 285 total passing yards on 24-41 attempts. They averaged 7 yards a pass. Denver went 1-1 on field goals and threw for two touchdowns.

Offensive Stats

Passing

Dallas 25-year-old quarterback Ben DiNucci threw for 1 touchdown on 9-16 with 112 yards while starter sixth-year QB Cooper Rush threw 12-20 for 1 interception and 84 yards.

Rushing

Running Back Malik Davis ran the ball on 8 carries for 51 yards while averaging 6.38 yards a carry. Rico Dowdle had 9 carries for 36 yards and averaged of four yards a carry. Rookie Aaron Shampklin had 7 carries for 32 yards and averaged 4.57 yards a carry.

Receptions

Wide receiver Brandon Smith had 1 reception for 40 yards and averaged 40 yards a catch. Rookie Jake Ferguson had 3 receptions for 29 yards and averaged 9.67 yards a catch. Simi Fehoko had 2 receptions for 18 yards and averaged 9 yards a catch.

Defensive Stats

Nahson Wright had 7 solo total tackles. Storey Jackson had 2 solo tackles and 6 overall tackles. DaRon Bland had 4 solo tackles and 5 total tackles. Quinton Bohanna had 2 solo tackles and 4 overall tackles. Christian Sam had 2 solo and 4 total tackles.

Special Teams Stats

Punting

Bryan Anger had five punts for 244 yards for an average of 48.8 yards.

Punt Returns

KaVontae Turpin had 1 return for 10 yards and 3 fair catches.

Kick Returns

KaVontae Turpin had 2 returns for 47 yards.

BIG Props to Defensive Line

Let’s start off with the good. I mean can we seriously ask any more of the Cowboys’ defensive line than to hold the Broncos to only 39 yards on 22 attempts? How many of you griped about the run defense and threw pillows at the TV last season? Well holding them to 1.8 yards a carry definitely isn’t bad, especially knowing some of the big boys are sitting this out. Third-year lineman Neville Gallimore said in his post-game interview, “The check engine light did not come on tonight.” Well, I’m glad it didn’t because he had mentioned after Thursday’s scrimmage that the altitude of Denver had immediately taken its effect on his breathing and stamina.

Quinton Bohanna, Dante Fowler Jr., and Tarell Basham’s names were all called continuously into the second half. Fowler Jr. sometimes for the wrong things though like the taunting call after a big-time quarterback hit and a couple of pressures. It looked good seeing Gallimore and Bohanna control the middle for most of the first half. Do I consider the defensive run game fixed? No, I need to see more of it in several games. Tackle Josh Ball gave up a huge sack to Denver’s Baron Browning.

Secondary

Denver wide receiver, Seth Williams went high to beat Cowboy’s cornerback, Kelvin Joseph for a touchdown. Denver WR, Kendall Hinton got behind Nahshon Wright for a touchdown with a pass from Denver’s Josh Johnson.

Offensive Line Issues

The Cowboys had two holding penalties called on rookie left guard Tyler Smith who was known for holding in college. However, he looked better throughout the quarter moving people off the line in the run game.

Penalties

Coach Mike McCarthy said the Cowboys were concentrating on penalties this season. The Cowboys were hit with a flag for being offsides on a missed 56-yard field goal. However, Denver made good on the do-over field goal. Dallas defensive end Sam Williams was called for roughing the passer. Then they dropped interceptions on back-to-back plays. Dallas had 17 total penalties for 129 yards after leading the NFL with 141 penalties last season.

Wide Receiving Fixed?

Hmm…no. I wish I could say this one was fixed, but it is sooooo not. I was impressed with Simi Fehoka for catching the only TWO passes that were thrown his way. “It was huge for me, it was my first one,” Fehoka said about Dallas’ only touchdown of the game. “It’s a huge confidence booster and something I can stack on. I think I’m doing pretty well in camp and I feel like this was just the icing on top,” Fehoka continued. His touchdown pass was thrown by Ben DiNucci who many of you were calling for by the end of the first quarter.

Backup QB?

The Cowboys’ starting quarterback, Cooper Rush seemed like he wanted to tie his game performance to rookie third-round pick Jalen Tolbert. He tried to hit him five times in the first quarter alone throwing an interception to Denver’s safety P.J. Locke in the process. Tolbert has to get stronger in his play and go after the ball. He had a false start and an easy pass that he dropped. Yes, Rush’s timing was off, but remember he’s not our starter.

Yes, I agree with many of you that the front office needs to see that someone solid has to be found to back up Dak Prescott, but I’m not sure they realize it. I don’t think we can fix our wide receiver corp without someone throwing to them in preseason live reps. Fan favorite for backup Will Grier was held out with a groin injury.

I can’t wait to see what they fixed against San Diego Chargers and what their focus is.