The Cowboys lost another preseason game but your concern should really lie in other places. If you’re really into the scoreboard at this point in the year, all you need to write down is that the Cowboys starters outscored the Bengals 10-0 in the first half. And also, Zack Martin and his status, but we’ll get to that shortly.

The Good

Goodness, the Dallas first team defense once again looked very good during preseason action. The thing that really caught my eye Saturday night was the speed in which the first team played with. Seeming to always have guys swarming to the ball at all times. In the first quarter, they only gave up 10 total yards.

The defensive line looked quick and lethal. Taco Charlton continued to make impressive big plays in space and on the interior. Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence looked strong in the first half, while Dorance Armstrong and Kony Ealy combined for some nice plays in the Cincinnati backfield. Also note that this was Gregory’s first live game action in over a year. He got 10 snaps with the first team.

Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones impressed even more with their coverage and speed on the outside. Much of Cowboy Nation feels great about these two guys at cornerback, and rightfully so. Oh, and Chido had the highlight of the night by a mile as well:

We should note too that the first team offense was all systems go for a second straight week, even without Ezekiel Elliott. They’ve only played four series in the first two games, and have been pretty close to perfect in them. They’ve put up two touchdowns and a field goal. Dak Prescott during that stretch: 13 of 18 passing, 125 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 128.2 passer rating. The same group is looking at playing most of the first half August 26th in Arizona.

The Bad

Yeesh. The overall depth of the team once again showed its true colours on Saturday night. It’s most noticeable to me in the secondary now. Especially after seeing Xavier Woods exit with a hamstring injury (more to come on that front). Jameill Showers is already on the shelf, and we’re still waiting for Jeff Heath and Kavon Fraizer to break through even more. It could be time to take a look at who’s on the free agent market at this point. We know what’s up with Earl Thomas, but George Iloka anyone?

And we haven’t even gotten to the corners after Awuzie and Jones yet. Jourdan Lewis, who had a nice rookie season in 2017, hasn’t looked ideal through two weeks. Neither has Anthony Brown who we expect consistency from at this point after seeing solid play the last two years. Nothing spectacular, it’s just not normal to see him make the mistakes he’s making over the middle of the field.

Lastly, the offensive line depth didn’t look great either. The first team dominated as we expected but after that, there were shades of last season again. Safe to say rookie Connor Williams has some work to do on the interior, as he’s impressed in space. And as for Chaz Green, yikes.

The Ugly

Injuries, Injuries and more injuries. They’re obviously bound to happen in football, but they seem to come with a little more gripe in the preseason. Above all, when first team players are leaving the field. All-pro (more like All-World) guard Zack Martin exited with a knee injury and safety Xavier Woods left with a bad hamstring.

Martin limped to the locker room during the first quarter and returned midway through the second half in street clothes. He was seen laughing with teammates on the sideline, so that was a good indication. There is more good news here as his MRI results came back clean on Sunday and he’s expecting to be ready to go for Week One. Jerry Jones and Dak Prescott felt optimistic about the injury last night too. Dak gave the ultimate reassurance when he said “I’ll sleep good tonight.” Nonetheless, this was a scare we never want to experience again. We’re still waiting on more updates for Woods, but his hamstring strain could keep out of the Cowboys first game.

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