Dallas Cowboys' Biggest Preseason Disappointments so Far
As a team, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t exactly lit it up in the preseason. They’re 0-3, allowing 29.7 points per contest and getting outscored by a total of 32 points. There isn’t a strong correlation between preseason and regular-season records, but it’s not like the team can be excited about their preseason play either.
There are all sorts of things teams try to accomplish in the preseason though, with winning being fairly low on the list. The ‘Boys have tried out some new things both offensively and defensively, given playing time to guys who are low on the totem pole in order to assess them and so on.
For the players who are on the roster bubble, the exhibitions are huge for their future. Looking at the Cowboys' first three preseason games, here are the five biggest disappointments thus far.
OT Tyron Smith
Let me start by saying that there’s no reason to be scared about left tackle Tyron Smith’s play. He’s going to be an outstanding player, and he’s going to be an outstanding player for a long time.
However, Smith has struggled a bit in the preseason, allowing four pressures in just 44 snaps in pass protection, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). That’s the most for any offensive lineman on the team, despite playing just the sixth-most snaps.
As is typical, though, Smith has recovered enough on those pressures to not allow any sacks.
LB Anthony Hitchens
Rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens has made 11 tackles on 84 snaps, which is a good rate, but he’s also missed four of them—twice as many as any other player on the Cowboys, according to Pro Football Focus. In coverage, Hitchens has allowed two completions and 22 yards on two targets—not great, but also way too small of a sample to draw any conclusions.
Hopefully Hitchens can grow to give Dallas sustainable production at linebacker, but he hasn't overwhelmed thus far.
DT Ken Bishop
Defensive lineman Ken Bishop is another rookie who has disappointed thus far in the preseason. He’s rushed the passer 64 times—more than any other player on the team—but has yet to record a pressure, quarterback hit or sack. Every other player on the team who has rushed the passer on more than 25 snaps has at least one pressure, hit or sack.
FS Matt Johnson
Safety Matt Johnson was released on Tuesday, which is understandable given that he can’t stay on the field. Johnson’s game itself was never really disappointing—he showed he has some upside when on the field—but it’s sad to see a talented player who just can’t stay healthy.
The worst part is that Johnson probably could have really helped the Cowboys in the secondary. With so little talent at the safety position, it’s a shame that Johnson is a truly injury-prone player.
It was really disappointing to see the Cowboys cut wide receiver Chris Boyd and defensive end Martez Wilson so early. Even if the players disappointed in the preseason (which they didn’t), there are good reasons to believe that both players could offer a whole lot of upside—Boyd because of his size and college production and Wilson because of his athleticism and college production.
It’s a shame to see the Cowboys get rid of two potentially high-ceiling players because of a very small sample of action.