NFL

Cowboys get look at QB options as NFL pre-season begins

By Sports Desk August 05, 2021

The Dallas Cowboys remain hopeful Dak Prescott will be ready for the season opener despite a shoulder injury that knocked him out of training camp, but they got a look at their other quarterback options as they opened the NFL pre-season on Thursday. 

Garrett Gilbert and Cooper Rush turned in solid performances even though they were unable to lead a touchdown drive in a 16-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

Gilbert got the start and completed nine of 13 attempts for 104 yards and a 93.1 passer rating, while Rush came on in the second quarter and was eight-of-13 for 70 yards and a 75.8 rating.

Gilbert twice drove the Cowboys into the red zone but Dallas was left to settle for two field-goal tries, with Hunter Niswander making only one of them.

Niswander missed another field goal at the end of the first half, this one a 52-yarder, and Rush saw another of his drives end in a lost fumble by Malik Turner.

Despite those miscues, Dallas out-gained Pittsburgh 217-123 in the first half while racking up 13 first downs to Pittsburgh's six.

"The performance was decent," Gilbert told reporters. "We did some good things.

"Personally, I was a little sloppy with a couple of things, but it was good to knock the rust off. As an offense, we did a nice job overall of getting the ball moving."

Head coach Mike McCarthy concurred, saying he was pleased with the way his offence moved the football, but called for better finishing in the red zone.

They can expect that aspect to improve under Prescott, who did not travel to Canton for the game.

He told Fox Sports from California during the half-time show that he remains optimistic about being able to start the September 9 season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"We're being cautious," Prescott said. "We're taking it day by day, obviously. It's five weeks before the season opener, so I've got a lot of time. And I'm going to use that time to get myself ready for that game."

Related items

  • Davis delights Payton as Saints fend off sliding Seahawks Davis delights Payton as Saints fend off sliding Seahawks

    DeMario Davis delivered a supreme defensive effort and earned plaudits from coach Sean Payton after the New Orleans Saints rallied for a 13-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

    The Saints linebacker impressed for the visitors with 10 tackles in all as he and his team-mates had five sacks in the hard-earned victory at Lumen Field.

    "We take a lot of pride in our defense," Davis said. "We've got to be able to play complementary football. We have a very high standard for our group and there's no other way that we would take it. Defense on the field with the game on the line. We get excited, and we play with a lot of energy in those situations."

    Speaking about the string of sacks, which went 5-2 in New Orleans' favour, Davis said: "That's a credit to the cover guys. We can take away the first read, and he has to hold the ball. Credit to the D coordinator and the D line having a good rush plan for us. And then guys just executing their job.

    "It's fun to play on defense when you know that all you have to do is do your job and it's going to work. Guys did their job. I think we were getting pressures early on, but we weren't getting them to the ground, we've got to find a way to get him on the ground."

    Payton was full of appreciation as he watched on, with the Saints recovering from allowing a stunning 84-yard pass from Geno Smith (12 for 22 passes, 167 yards and one touchdown) to star team-mate DK Metcalf.

    With Davis on his game, Payton savoured watching his team improve to 4-2 for the season, dealing the Seahawks (2-5) a fourth straight loss.

    The Saints coach said of Davis: "Man, I just love the way he leads and plays with enthusiasm. He's really developed into not just run but pass as well. He's someone who has good instincts, can close the cushion on a run or a play in space. He tackles well. He's playing well, and I'm sure when we look at the tape, we'll see a lot of good efforts. That was a good hard-fought win."

    There had been pre-game talk of a bomb cyclone hitting the Seattle area, but the worst-case weather threat failed to materialise.

    Payton said such a forecast "kind of gets your attention", but in the end the storm was relatively tame, and the same could be said for the sniping among the sides.

    Davis said of the at-times tetchy atmosphere: "Sometimes guys want to be tough on the field and talk after the play, and this is the most physical sport there is. You've got seven seconds to be as physical as you want to be, you got to prove it between the whistles.

    "I'm never going to be the guy to talk after the whistles and doing extra because at that point you're just trying to bully someone. I've always been the guy that's going to bully the bully. And team-mates appreciate it when you have their back like that.

    "I try to stay pretty level-headed between the whistles and while I'm on the field, but I'm always going to have my team-mates' back, and I think they appreciate it, and it gives them motivation."

    Alvin Kamara's 13-yard touchdown reception gave New Orleans their lone TD of the night. Kamara caught 10 passes for 128 yards, becoming the first running back with eight-plus receptions and 100-plus receiving yards in the first half of a game since 2004.

    Kamara said of his own effort: "I didn't know what to expect. Every game has a life in of its own self and the flavour of this week ended up getting a lot of touches."

  • New Orleans' defence delivers as Saints sink slumping Seahawks New Orleans' defence delivers as Saints sink slumping Seahawks

    The New Orleans Saints flexed their defensive muscles in a hard-fought 13-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks in NFL action on Monday.

    This was the first meeting where neither future Hall of Famer Drew Brees (retired) nor Russell Wilson (injured) started at quarterback since 2004, per Stats Perform.

    Leading the Saints following Brees' retirement, Jameis Winston (19-of-35 passing for 222 yards, one touchdown and two sacks) helped New Orleans improve to 4-2 for the season against the slumping Seahawks – who dropped their fourth consecutive game – in Seattle.

    But it was a defensive battle at Lumen Field, where Saints linebacker Demario Davis fuelled the visitors with five sacks and multiple tackles.

    The Seahawks set the tone in the opening quarter following a stunning 84-run pass from Geno Smith (12 for 22 passes, 167 yards and one touchdown with five sacks) to star team-mate DK Metcalf.

    It was the longest pass TD for the Seahawks since an 87-yard connection from Matt Hasselbeck to Ben Obomanu in 2010 and the third-longest in franchise history.

    New Orleans, though, took a 10-7 leading into half-time thanks to Brian Johnson's 21-yard field goal and Alvin Kamara's 13-yard touchdown reception – the team's lone TD.

    Kamara caught 10 passes for 128 yards, while he became the first running back with eight-plus receptions and 100-plus receiving yards in the first half of a game since 2004.

    After Seattle kicker Jason Myers levelled proceedings with a monster 50-yard field goal in the third quarter, Johnson settled the contest by nailing his attempt two minutes from the end of the game.

  • 49ers' Shanahan confirms Garoppolo will start against Bears after 'worst game' 49ers' Shanahan confirms Garoppolo will start against Bears after 'worst game'

    San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan declared Jimmy Garoppolo will start against the Chicago Bears in Week 8 as he backed his under-fire quarterback.

    Garoppolo struggled in Sunday's 30-18 NFL loss to the Indianapolis Colts, completing 16 of 27 passes for 181 yards, including one touchdown, two interceptions and a lost fumble.

    Shanahan said it was Garoppolo's "worst game" upon his return from a calf issue which kept him out in Week 5 before San Francisco's bye, but he threw his support behind the 29-year-old.

    San Francisco's Shanahan has a dilemma after the team's fourth consecutive loss left the 49ers 2-4 for the season, given Garoppolo's performance and with rookie quarterback Trey Lance hoping to recover from a knee sprain to push his case for selection.

    "In terms of deciding who is going at quarterback, that has to do with Jimmy's health," Shanahan told reporters on Monday.

    "Jimmy, I wanted to see how his calf was. It's good today and so he'll be starting and hopefully Trey will get back into practice and have a good enough week to where he can dress and if he ends up dressing then there's always a good chance he'll get some plays in there."

    Garoppolo has completed 94 of 145 attempts for 1,106 yards this season, with six touchdowns, four interceptions and eight sackings.

    His current completion percentage of 64.8 is his worst since the 2018 season (59.6).

    "I thought Jimmy had his worst game yesterday [Sunday]. I thought Jimmy's done some good things in the three and a half games that he's played," Shanahan said.

    "He did some pretty good things in our first game, getting us up to a 41-17 lead. I think he came back and made some unbelievable plays to give us the lead with 30 seconds left against Green Bay on Monday Night Football... And then he got hurt early in the game versus Seattle.

    "He just got his first game back last night in that monsoon and it didn't go very good for any of us."

    He added: "We didn't go into that game thinking that Jimmy was one bad game away from losing his job or anything like that."

    Shanahan said Lance, who hurt his knee in his only start in Garoppolo's absence in the Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, "is on pace" to make a limited return to practice this week.

    "We know Trey is the future here, and we're trying to do what's best for him and for our team," Shanahan said.

    "Trey is coming off a pretty big injury, and we're going to keep bringing him along and keep getting him prepared as good as he can be to always be ready to come in and help on the plays we ask him to, always be ready to take over if Jimmy gets hurt, and being ready to be the future for us, too."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.