Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 7 Chargers 17

The Dallas Cowboys (0-1) kicked of the 2015 preseason with a train ride from Oxnard, California to San Diego, to face the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.

The Cowboys have held a solid Training Camp so far, and look to improve on their second round exit from the playoffs last year against the Green Bay Packers.

The Cowboys scored one touchdown in their 7-17 loss to the Chargers (1-0), when quarterback Dustin Vaughn led an eight play, 62 yard scoring drive, that was capped off with a five yard TD scamper by former Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack Gus Johnson. Johnson took off some stress of the depleted running backs group, playing for most of the game, and finished the game with 13 carries for 35 yards.

The Cowboys did not play many of their starters in the first game of the preseason, but that will change in 10 days, when the Cowboys will travel to San Francisco, to face the 49ers, at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday August, 23 at 8:00pm EST on CBS.

Here are some quick notes on the matchup, and things that the Cowboys can look forward to work on moving forward in camp. The Cowboys will head back to Oxnard, and work with the St. Louis Rams for a couple of days, as they continue to prepare for the 2015 season.

– Rookie La’el Collins looks to solid selection for the team at the Left guard position. He is much faster than current starter Ronald Leary at getting to second level on run blocks. Still needs work at the pass block. He had a few moments where he lost leverage, and was overpowered in the game. Was very impressive at run blocking, especially on the pull blocks.

– Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford will make the Pro Bowl in 2015. So will six year safety Barry Church. That’s all that needs to be said.

– Offensive lineman Darrion Weems struggled in his debut as the swing tackle on the offensive line. He filled in for six year veteran Tyron Smith, and had his fair share of ups and downs in the game. He gave up a sack in second quarter, but also showed some glimpses of greatness. Will be interesting to see if he gets any looks at guard in the preseason.

– Quarterback Brandon Weeden made some great throws, and was 4-of-5, for 42 yards in 11plays. He had one miscue, when he mishandled a snap from center Travis Frederick, that led to a Chargers TD. Dustin Vaughn showed why he has a spot on the roster. He sustained some solid drives, used his legs to escape some sacks, and finished the game 12-of-16, for 106 yards.

– Wide receiver Devin Street has made improvements on the field. For a such a big guy on the field, he still needs to get stronger and improve his route running. He was inconsistent on his routes in the game, but was able to make up for it with his yards after catch. He finished the game with three receptions for 45 yards on four targets.

– Dwayne Harris is missed on special teams. Lucky Whitehead, who looks to be his replacement, did not make a tackle on ST, and fumbled on a punt return. The team struggled on Special Teams, allowing over 115 return yards. There was an interesting moment when Cowboys quarterback Jameill Shower stepped up and made a Special Teams tackle in the game. Harris, who was signed by the New York Giants in the offseason, led the Cowboys in Special Teams tackles in 2014.

– Linebacker Kyle Wilber looks much faster on the field, and much more comfortable at outside linebacker. His skill set has improved dramatically, and he looks very confident on the field. He was all over the place, making it a habit to go from sideline to sideline. Looks to be much better in pass coverage. He finished the game with one tackle and a pass defended.

– Cowboys defensive line looks to have a great depth rotation. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli should have fun with these guys in 2015. Lavar Edwards shined in the game with three tackles and a sack. The unit got after the Chargers, and tallied three sacks in the game.

– The backup defensive backs played some iron man football in the first half, and looked pretty impressive. I don’t think Byron Jones, Tyler Patmon, or Corey White took a play off in the first half. White showed his flexibility, playing in the dime and nickel packages, and also covering in the slot. The team could have some depth in one of the primary units that struggled in 2014.

– Dez caught the ball.