With the Dallas Cowboys entering the 2022 season with plenty of questions after a disappointing end to last season, there was hope the preseason would provide some answers. Unfortunately for fans, Dallas elected to play very starters, and what we saw for three games were backups. Making things worse is the news that offensive tackle Tyron Smith will miss a couple of months with an injury. Regardless we were able to learn a few things about the team, and below are the four biggest takeaways from the preseason.
Turpin makes the most of his opportunity
Receiver/returner KaVontae Turpin made the most of his first NFL opportunity returning a kick and punt for touchdowns in the first half of game two against the Chargers. For those who don’t remember, Turpin was one of the most explosive players in the country during his time at TCU before being dismissed. He resurfaced in the new version of the USFL, leading the league in receiving yards en route to MVP for the New Jersey Generals. A low-risk signing has turned into the likely returner. Definitely, the best thing to come out of the preseason for Dallas.
Will Grier Impresses
Grier was claimed off waivers in the middle of last season from the Carolina Panthers but never suited up. The former West Virginia standout outplayed backup Cooper Rush across the board and even threw the game-winning touchdown pass against Seattle. While nobody is naming him a franchise quarterback, the offense looked better with him in there and really should be considered as a legit threat to Rush. Rush has the win over the Minnesota Vikings to his credit, while Grier has yet to throw an NFL touchdown. Either way, the backup job should be far from settled.
With none of the secondary starters playing, it was a great chance for the backups to show what they can do. What they showed was not promising. Second-year pro cornerback Nashon Wright looked really bad, getting beat constantly along with being flagged for pass interference. Highly regarded second-year corner Kelvin Joseph didn’t look particularly good either, which is cause for panic as he was thought to be a long-term starter. Rookie DaRon Bland from Fresno State looked solid and might carve out an early roll. The biggest standout is converted corner Isreal Mukuamu. The former sixth-round pick made the move to safety during camp and looked good, notching a pair of interceptions. At 6-foot-4, he has the size to really make an impact and should be somebody to keep an eye on.
Tyler Smith Shows Promise
Rookie first-round pick Tyler Smith got the start at guard during the preseason, showing promise. At times he looked good and other times looked undisciplined and lazy technique-wise. He is counted on possibly starting now with the injury to Smith and will need to show more consistency quickly to help keep quarterback Dak Prescott upright.