Looking to put an injury-plagued 6-10 season behind them, the Dallas Cowboys kicked off the 2021 preseason falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-3 in the Hall of Fame Game. Below are the four biggest takeaways from the loss.
Mistakes are expected in the preseason opener especially when starters arent playing at all or on limited reps. That being said what we saw out there was not inspiring. The second-string offensive line, a unit that got a lot of reps last season, struggled allowing multiple sacks. Out wide there were several drops and two drives that ended in field goals should have been touchdowns. Quarterbacks Ben DiNucci, Garrett Gilbert, and Cooper Rush did little to instill confidence in their ability to replace Dak Prescott in case of injury. Even special teams were bad with punter/kicker Hunter Niswander missing two of his three field-goal attempts and the return unit muffing a punt.
Rookies Show Promise
First-round pick Micah Parsons made a splash early recovering a Chase Claypool fumble on the opening drive that led to the Cowboys’ only points. On the next drive, he ran down a Steelers receiver 10 yards down the field showing some of the athletic ability that made him a high pick. Sixth-round pick Israel Mukamu had a key brake up on a third-down while fellow sixth-round pick Nahshon Wright recovered after giving up a 40-yard pass to Claypool breaking up a deep ball in the end zone. Finally, fifth-round pick Jabril Cox had a strong fourth making a couple of tackles.
Backs Highlight Offense
Outside of a big catch and run that ended in a fumble the bright spots for the Cowboys’ offense were running back Rico Dowdle who had some nice runs breaking several tackles and fullback Sewo Olonilua who was probably the best blocker on the field for Dallas.
Alarcon Makes Strong Impression
Offensive tackle Isaac Alacron, a Mexican native who spent last season on the practice squad, got a lot of reps with the second and third-team offense tonight. While he got beat on some plays the 6’7 320-pounder held his own and even dominated at times. Judging by the performance of his fellow backup linemen Alacron might earn himself a promotion to the main roster.