Preseason finale shows roster depth is still an issue for Dallas

Preseason finale shows roster depth is still an issue for Dallas

Published Aug. 30, 2013 11:06 a.m. ET

ARLINGTON – The Dallas Cowboys closed the preseason with a 2-3 record, losing 24-6 to the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium.

Here are my five thoughts on an uneventful end to the preseason.

1.) The biggest winner of this game is the Cowboys’ training staff. Other than what seemed to be a right leg injury to rookie safety J.J. Wilcox and concussion-like-symptoms for defensive tackle Sean Lissemore, Dallas players likely to make the 53-man roster didn’t appear to suffer any new setbacks. And Wilcox did return to the game.

2.) Other than center Travis Frederick and wide receiver Terrance Williams, I don’t expect much on offense or defense from the other Cowboys 2013 draft picks during the first half of the year. Tight end Gavin Escobar, running back Joseph Randle, Wilcox, cornerback B.W. Webb and outside linebacker DeVonte Holloman have occasionally made nice plays but none looks ready to immediately make a significant impact. Special teams and the occasional red zone opportunity for Escobar will likely be their biggest contributions through the first six to eight weeks.

3.) Other than right tackle Jermey Parnell, none of the Cowboys’ possible Week 1 starters took the field, and it showed that there isn’t a lot of depth on this roster. As has been the case for the last few seasons, if the Cowboys lose several starters to season-ending injuries — like they did in 2012 — there’s very little chance they will reach the postseason.

4.) Perhaps the most glaring weakness was the second-team defensive line. The group was dominated at the line of scrimmage during the first quarter. Houston rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 10 first-quarter carries. And Arian Foster wasn’t on the field. The damage was done by rookies Dennis Johnson (42 yards and the score on five attempts) and Cierre Wood (78 yards on the other five carries). Injuries to Tyrone Crawford and Jay Ratliff are really starting to be magnified. Jerome Long, Sean Lissemore, Landon Cohen and Kyle Wilber started, but Jason Vega and Ben Bass were also involved quite often in the first half.

Go ahead and trim the preseason down to three games. And if you’re going to have a fourth (and fifth), allow free admission. There was no reason for anyone not related to one of the players to purchase a ticket to Thursday night’s game. The thought of 76,856 people having to pay full price to watch that snooze-fest makes me nauseated.

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota