Grades for Cowboys-Texans

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players for the Cowboys-Texans preseason game.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Grades for Cowboys-Texans

Here are the top takeaways from Thursday night’s Texans-Cowboys game including the highest-graded players for each team:


– Quarterback Tom Savage didn’t exactly play himself into a competition for the backup quarterback spot, but he really wasn’t given a chance to behind an offensive line whose performance was beyond awful. The good news is before Savage left the game with a shoulder injury he reacted well to pressure going 6-13 for 60 yards and two touchdowns on 16 pressured dropbacks. The bad news? He was feeling heat even when it wasn’t there (-3.2 grade in a clean pocket) and finished with a -2.8 passing grade for the game.

–Nose tackle Louis Nix III looked a shell of his college form. Multiple knee injuries have plagued his pro career and he doesn’t have the requisite juice to get down the line of scrimmage on outside zone runs. The former third round pick was cut this Friday morning after a -3.6 gradeThursday.

–Cornerback Charles James is going to be kicking himself Tuesday on Hard Knocks. The star of last week’s show was in solid position on his four targets, yet was beaten at the catch point on all of them for 36 total yards. For a guy at the back end of a roster those make or break type mishaps.

Top 5 graded players:

LB Justin Tuggle (+2.1)

FS Kurtis Drummond (+1.9)

CB Jumal Rolle (+0.8)

WR Keith Mumphery (+0.7)

DL Christian Covington (+0.6)


–Guard La’el Collns capped off a solid preseason with another positive showing at +1.2. He didn’t allow a pressure in 26 pass blocking snaps and finished with a +3.4 grade for the preseason overall.

–Tight end Gavin Escobar put together a fine preseason performance (+2.3), highlighted by one of the best first down conversions you’ll see all season. With 4:39 left in the first quarter and the Cowboys facing a 3rd and 17, Escobar caught the ball 15 yards short of the sticks on a flat route. From there he broke three different tackles and dragged two defenders to get past the first down markers. Quite the effort for the third year player.

–Don’t expect defensive end Ben Gardner to last too long on the free agent market. The second year player capped off a stellar preseason with a +4.0 grade against the Texans. Surprisingly it wasn’t enough for him to keep his job with the Cowboys as he was released this morning.

Top 5 graded players:

1. DL Ken Bishop (+5.7)

2. DL Ben Gardner (+4.0)

3. C Shane McDermott (+3.4)

4. CB Corey White (+3.2)

5. OL Keith Smith (+2.9)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • locdog284

    im surprised that gardener didnt even make the practice squad