The Dallas Cowboys hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their preseason finale, with America’s Team losing 17-15 to the Bucs on Thursday night.
The Dallas Cowboys‘ last preseason of the year is the final opportunity fringe players have to show they belong in the NFL. It’s a proving ground that, if successful, can kickstart a career. For others, it will be the last time they’ll ever wear an NFL uniform. Although these preseason exhibitions do not count in the win/loss column, it doesn’t mean these games aren’t meaningful.
So, did any of the Cowboys’ fringe players do enough to earn themselves a spot on the final-53 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason finale on Thursday night at AT&T Stadium? Probably so.
The story of the first half of the game was turnovers. Three interceptions, in fact. Cornerbacks Donovan Olumba and Tyvis Powell plus rookie sixth-round rookie safety Donovan Wilson all came away with picks in the first half. For Wilson, it was his third interception of the preseason. Olumba was also able to get a defensive touchdown off his pick.
The quarterback under center for the Cowboys for most of the game was Mike White, The second-year passer completed 14 of his 26 passes for 132 yards. His replacement in the second half, Taryn Christion, completed 11 of his 17 throws for 147 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Neither is expected to make the Cowboys’ final roster.
The battle for the final wide receiver spot didn’t get much clearer following the game. Cedrick Wilson recorded five receptions for 49 yards off ten targets. Devin Smith was targeted four times, bringing in two passes for 31 yards.
The best play of the night was provided by wide receiver Jalen Guyton, who posted a 69-yard touchdown reception from Christion late in the fourth quarter.
Leading the Cowboys in tackles was linebacker Justin Phillips with 11 combined. Defensive tackle Daniel Wise was able to record 2.0 sacks. Both cornerback Tyvis Powell and linebacker Justin March each posted a sack as well. I’d be surprised if Wise didn’t earn himself a spot on the final roster with his play.
The Cowboys ended up losing the game 17-15, but this contest was all about evaluation. Now, Dallas will go about the difficult task of trimming down their 90-man roster to just 53, leaving 37 players unemployed by Saturday afternoon. Surely a few of them made a strong bid to make the final roster based on their performance against the Bucs Thursday night.
The Dallas Cowboys will kick off their regular season on Sunday, September 8th at AT&T Stadium facing off against their divisional rivals, the New York Giants. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. CDT.