The final preseason game can be somewhat monotonous for fans, but it’s anything but dull for players on the roster bubble. And in the Cowboys’ 24-6 loss to the Houston Texans on Thursday night, there weren’t many fringe players who helped their cause. Let’s take a look at some of the rookies and players who are on the fence.
QB Alex Tanney
A couple weeks ago, I published an article called Alex Tanney Isn’t the Answer for Cowboys. At that time, he was completing 55.6 percent of his passes for 5.6 YPA—well below the marks posted by Tony Romo and Matt Moore in their first preseasons. Playing against second and third-team defenses, young backup quarterbacks with promise are typically efficient, and Tanney hasn’t been.
On Thursday, Tanney completed 17 of his 31 passes (54.8 percent) for 177 yards (5.7 YPA), no touchdowns, and one interception. It’s basically a mirror image of the numbers we saw from Tanney to start the preseason. Although he’s reportedly showed talent in practice, Tanney shouldn’t make the 53-man roster.
RB Joseph Randle
Randle received the majority of the workload on Thursday, rushing 10 times for 47 yards. He ripped off a nice 18-yard run, which is great to see, and he added two receptions for 17 yards. Randle isn’t really a fringe player, but I think it’s interesting to note that he probably would be if the Cowboys didn’t spend a draft pick on him. At this point, he’s the fourth-best running back on the roster, at best. Randle rushed 55 times for 215 yards (3.9 YPC) during the preseason.
S J.J. Wilcox
Although I think Wilcox has been overwhelmed at times during the preseason, he’s done a nice job of finding the football. He added a game-high seven more tackles against Houston, giving him 21 for the entire preseason. That’s pretty awesome considering Wilcox has basically played just two full games worth of snaps. He’s not ready to contribute just yet, but there are signs that he’ll eventually be running with the ones.
WR Cole Beasley
Beasley had two catches for 30 yards versus the Texans. He’s probably going to make the final roster just because no one else has stepped up. Anthony Armstrong has been quiet and, even if he’s tied with Beasley in the Cowboys’ eyes, Dallas will go with the younger option. I don’t think the Cowboys should keep Beasley because he’s not going to score many touchdowns and I don’t even think he’ll be that efficient in between the 20s, but it looks like he’ll stay.
Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.