The Cowboys didn’t use several of their best players Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals, and they played like it.
Quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, left tackle Tyron Smith and linebacker Sean Lee each watched the 27-3 loss to Arizona from the sideline.
Here are 10 thoughts from NBC 5 Cowboys' Insider Jean-Jacques Taylor on the game:
The latest news from around North Texas.
• Cooper Rush hasn't looked sharp during the preseason, and he's not doing a whole lot to make the Cowboys feel the slightest bit comfortable if he has to play during the regular season.
Rush completed 11 of 17 passes for 93 yards and two interceptions. He finished with a 39.2 passer rating.
Rush missed Cole Beasley, who was open by at least three yards, down the left sideline on a deep ball. He also missed Michael Gallup, who had beaten Patrick Peterson, on a deep post.
The second-year quarterback threw the pass behind Gallup instead of throwing it in front of him. You get so few opportunities to make big plays in games that you simply can't miss them.
Rush also threw late to the flat and Peterson intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown.
Then he made a suspect read and threw an interception in the end zone into triple coverage. The Cowboys ran 29 plays in the first half and gained 111 yards. All of that isn't Rush's fault, but he didn't do much to help himself.
• Randy Gregory beat left tackle D.J. Humphries for a sack and a 10-yard loss with a spin move sack on the game's first third down. He showed speed, burst and athleticism to beat the former No. 1 pick around the edge.
Later, Gregory had a quarterback hit. He's making himself someone the coaching staff is going to depend on this season.
• Chido Awuzie had a first quarter pass deflection. Every pass, it seems is contested when directed his way.
• Linebacker Joe Thomas has been a really nice addition to the Cowboys' defense as a valuable backup. He had a big hit in pass coverage to stop an Arizona drive and a nice tackle on special teams.
• Joe Looney, starting for Travis Frederick, who was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre Syndrome, an auto-immune disorder, appeared to do a solid job. He pulled on one play and made a nice block on a seven-yard run by Rod Smith for a first down.
• Kavon Frazier left in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. He returned to the sideline in the second quarter but did not play again. Xavier Woods is expected to miss several weeks with a pulled hamstring, and the Cowboys signed a couple of players last week just to have enough players to practice.
• Lance Lenoir, fighting for a roster spot, didn't help himself with two muffed punts. He's the third punt returner behind Tavon Austin and Cole Beasley, but when you're struggling like he is, everything matters.
The second muffed punt was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown and a 7-0 Arizona lead.
• The Cowboys' starting defense continued to play well. They have yet to allow a touchdown in three games.
They're getting contributions from a variety of players such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith, Byron Jones, Awuzie and Gregory. Sean Lee didn't even play, but this defense is fast and playing with confidence in the preseason.
• The Cowboys committed eight turnovers - five fumbles and three interceptions - which is an embarrassment no matter who’s playing. This is the kind of sloppy game that'll have coach Jason Garrett using four-letter words liberally during Monday's video session with the team.
• Receivers Tavon Austin and Deonte Thompson played, but didn't catch a pass. The one pass directed his way was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.