The NFL preseason is always a roller coaster of emotions. At first, your eyes can’t believe football is really back. But by the preseason finale, it’s easy to feel done with it as sloppy football is played on TV while the real thing gets closer and closer. Well, with a 34-14 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Dallas Cowboys have finished the preseason winless.
But fear not. The preseason win-loss record has never been a reliable indicator for future success. Think about the 2014 and 2016 Cowboys. Both teams combined for a 1-7 preseason record. And the last couple of times they’ve gone winless in the preseason, they’ve won the NFC East and gotten to the divisional round.
So before we close out the preseason, here are three winners from the Cowboys-Jaguars game. Even though at times it felt like an unwatchable game, these three winners could end up having a huge impact on how the final 53-man roster looks like.
QB Garrett Gilbert
Although far from an ideal backup quarterback, Cowboys QB Garrett Gilbert could’ve won the battle for QB2 with his performance on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. . He showed command of the offense as he completed nine out of 16 attempts for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Btw, this was the Garrett Gilbert TD pass to Aaron Parkerpic.twitter.com/AoCKj60NJB
— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) August 29, 2021
Not only was he a winner because of his performance alone. He was also benefitted from Cooper Rush’s poor start. After Gilbert’s struggles in Week 2 of the preseason, Rush was given the opportunity to start versus the Jaguars. The latter disappointed with a 4-of-8 performance for 16 yards and a poor 56.3 QBR.
Barring any signing in free agency – which seems quite unlikely at this point – expect Gilbert to be Dak Prescott’s backup.
OL Matt Farniok
Being drafted in the seventh round of the NFL Draft guarantees nothing. From the moment he was selected by the Dallas Cowboys, Farniok was fighting for a roster spot. With the Cowboys thin at center and guard, his chances looked pretty good but his play in training camp and early in the preseason wasn’t strongly convincing.
However, Farniok has had strong performances versus the Texans and Jaguars. Even though he’s far from a refined prospect, he’s been able to hold his own and as someone who can play both guard and center, I’d be surprised to see the Cowboys risk losing him before sneaking him into the practice squad.
Farniok has done enough to deserve a roster spot with the team, who have historically gone long at the offensive line when building their 53-man roster.
DE Ron’Dell Carter
Credit to Israel Mukuamu for the heads-up play, but the Cowboys’ interception at the end of the second quarter wouldn’t have been possible if Ron’Dell Carter hadn’t gotten his hands in the quarterback.
Cowboys DE Ron'Dell Carter got home on pass rush, contributing to rookie S Israel Mukuamu's interception. Both players on roster bubble entering Tuesday.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 29, 2021
Carter isn’t a lock to make the Cowboys team by any means, but he’s right there in the bubble. The Cowboys like what they have in Carter, but he still has to make the team over guys like Bradlee Anae and players at other positions fighting for those final spots.
Forcing a turnover in a two-minute drill should always help make your case.
Featured image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports