Sideline Observations: 5 Standout Players (good and bad) from Cowboys’ Hall of Fame Win Over Cardinals
The Cowboys kicked off the 2017 NFL season with a 20-18 victory over the Cardinals in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. Here are 5 Observations from the sideline of players that stood out at various points during the game, good and bad.
Logan Bowles via AP
Tight End Rico Gathers
Gathers will get the most headlines from the victory for his three catches, including a 26-yard touchdown grab from QB Kellen Moore to cut the Cardinals’ lead from 15-0 to 15-7.
Gathers showed great athleticism, made a nice run after one of his catches (a 16 yard gain) and showed good hands by gathering-in a bobbled catch later in the game. Was he perfect? Not by any means. He had one penalty, and we won’t get a feel for his route-running and blocking until talking to coaches after they watch game film. Gathers is still raw and has a long way to go, but he made some highlight plays on Thursday night.
Ben Liebenberg via AP
Quarterback Kellen Moore
Here’s the thing about Moore – he will air-it-out downfield and let his receivers make plays. He gets the ball where it needs to be, accurately. On the same drive in which he threw the scoring strike to Gathers, Moore connected with Brice Butler for a 46-yard gain. Moore played the entire first half and completed 12 passes for 182 yards and 1 TD and 1 INT. The interception was a ball in which receiver Noah Brown should have done more to fight for possession. Overall, a really solid game for Moore.
Quarterback Cooper Rush
While we’re on the subject of quarterbacks, let’s give kudos to Rush, the rookie free agent from Central Michigan. He played the entire second half and led two scoring drives. In his NFL preseason debut, in his very first drive, he connected with EZ Nwachuku for a 14 yard touchdown pass. Rush also showed running skills, converting a couple of third downs by breaking out of the pocket and running the ball. It was a cool night for Rush because much of his family had driven from Michigan to Canton, Ohio to see him play.
Ron Schwane via AP
Defensive End Taco Charlton
Taco did NOT have an impressive debut. He started the game, but was not able to mount a pass rush on Cardinals QB Blaine Gabbert who led two touchdown drives in the Cardinals’ first two drives. After the game, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said Taco “wasn’t good enough”. He registered zero stats on 16 snaps. It wasn’t a good night for Taco, but he has four more preseason games to prepare for the regular season opener against the Giants.
Offensive Tackle Kadeem Edwards
I had Edwards, along with Taco Charlton, as one of my “5 Players to Watch” in this game.
Edwards has a chance to win the “Swing Tackle” spot (backup to both LT and RT) on the 53-man roster, but he didn’t help himself on Thursday night. He played second team, and gave up some ground. Cooper Rush was under duress at times in the second half. That’s not all Edwards’ fault; there are 5 guys plus RBs and TEs that must block the blitz (and the Cards did blitz in the second half of the game). Edwards had a chance to help himself with a strong showing, but I’m not sure he did. It will be interesting to talk to the coaches this weekend after they’ve had a chance to grade the game film.