The Dallas Cowboys made their preseason debut in the 2021 Hall of Fame Game on Thursday.
There was collective excitement in the crowd that the NFL is back, and young players get a chance to show what they have in preseason games.
Here are three takeaways for the Cowboys from their losing effort (16-3) in the Hall of Fame Game.
3. Andy Dalton Was Missed
Here are words we never expected to write.
Dallas missed Andy Dalton.
More importantly, the Cowboys miss having a veteran experienced backup quarterback.
Even if Dak Prescott did not have a shoulder injury, he probably would not have seen much playing time.
The young backups were expected to shine.
Despite constant harassment in the pocket and multiple hits, I have been impressed with Cooper Rush. Did not look rattled and got the ball out quick. Looked confident. Delivered several darts while under relentless pressure.
— Brianna Dix (@DixBrianna) August 6, 2021
Rush, though his stats were not the best of the three, played the best, but let’s face it if Dak’s shoulder or ankle causes problems that keep him off the field, the Cowboys are in trouble.
At one point during the game, we thought Cowboys legend and FOX sports commentator Troy Aikman should leave the booth and suit up for action.
2. Hello Micah Parsons!
Well hello rookie…fumble early turnover and Micah Parsons right there #Cowboys
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) August 6, 2021
Micah Parsons, the Cowboys’ first-round pick out of Penn State, hit the ground tackling.
The linebacker made his presence known with three solo tackles, and he recovered a Mason Rudolph fumble.
If his preseason play is any indication, the Cowboys have gained a young star.
O-K @MicahhParsons11 !
We told you he was ready. 😤
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 6, 2021
1. Kicking Catastrophe
Not going to get carried away with this but two red-zone trips, two field goal attempts with Hunter Niswander missing the second try. (He's had like three kicks in camp and it's not clear why they haven't kicked that much, honestly)
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 6, 2021
The Cowboys had better get back to Oxnard and work on the kicking game.
Cowboys backup kicker Hunter Niswander had a rough game.
Cowboys have not practiced their field-goal operation much in Oxnard. It shows. Hunter Niswander blocked.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 6, 2021
He missed two field goals.
His 29-yard attempt was blocked, and his 52-yard attempt was not even close.
Noteworthy Sideline Interview
As is always the case during the Hall of Fame Game, the sideline interviews are often more significant than the on-the-field play.
Erin Andrews spoke with running back Ezekiel Elliott who did not play in the game.
He's down 10 pounds. @EzekielElliott's ready to go in 2021.
— NFL (@NFL) August 6, 2021
Zeke told Andrews that he slimmed down with training and an improved diet.
It was obvious that he was visibly thinner.
Elliott dropped another tidbit of interest.
He said he was at the same weight he was as a freshman at Ohio State.
A leaner and meaner Zeke is great news for the Cowboys.
Cowboys Hall of Famers Unite
Cowboys fans were delighted to hear that legendary Cowboys quarterbacks will be the presenters for them.
Roger Staubach, who was the architect of the “Hail Mary” of Pearson’s career, will present him.
Aikman, who played for Johnson, will present his former coach.
As is always the case with the Hall of Fame Game, the off-the-field interactions and information are sometimes more compelling than the on-the-field play this early in the preseason.