Although the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Seattle Seahawks 22-14 in their second preseason game, there were still positives to take away.
One of the biggest positives of the game was the potential within the running back room for a viable backup to Tony Pollard.
Rico Dowdle, Malik Davis, and Deuce Vaughn had a great showing during the contest.
Dallas Cowboys Running Back Competition | Rico Dowdle
During the game, Dowdle had the most total rushing yards (38) on eight carries. He also had two receptions for nine yards and a touchdown.
According to PFF, Dowdle had a pass-blocking grade of 77.6, ranking him third on the team.
Dowdle has showcased his ability to attack and play aggressively over the last two weeks, but it was on full display on Saturday against the Seahawks.
He has the burst needed for a dependable and strong back and can see clear paths to run toward.
He spoke to the media after the game, saying that the touchdown he made felt extra good after he fumbled the ball on the 1-yard line last week.
“I felt real good, especially after last week being so close to the end zone and dropping it, but yeah, felt real good,” said Dowdle.
A @DallasCowboys lead thanks to the combo of Cooper Rush and Rico Dowdle.
— NFL (@NFL) August 20, 2023
Dowdle mentioned how he has made the most of his opportunities but knows there is always room for improvement.
He mentioned that the running backs were trying to set the tone early against Seattle, and he has seen progress with the looks the running backs got from last week to this week.
“Competition makes everyone better, so very competitive in there … we got six running backs that all can play. I think iron sharpens iron, so we all getting better,” said Dowdle.
Overall, Dowdle wants to finish the season with a win but understands that this is the biggest opportunity he has had in the last four years on the team.
Dowdle’s strength has been his physicality and burst. If he can stay healthy, he has a good shot at taking a spot on the final roster.
RB Competition | Deuce Vaughn
Vaughn has also taken advantage of every opportunity, starting when he was drafted in March. He has changed the conversation from being “too small” to needing a bigger role within the offense.
During Saturday’s preseason game against the Seahawks, Vaughn had five carries for 14 yards.
He has scored a touchdown in each of his preseason game appearances.
🗣️LET @C_Vaughn22 LOOSE!!!
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 20, 2023
After the game, he credited the scheme and blocking that allowed him to run right into the end zone.
“I put the ball in the zone for the second time in a row. As weeks go, just building that consistency and trying to put my best foot forward,” said Vaughn, who felt more comfortable during this game than last week.
Vaughn says he feels like he played faster than the week before and plays his best when he feels confident.
There is no doubt that Vaughn can end up on the final roster, but finding the sweet spot on how much he can be integrated into it will be a balancing act for head coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
RB Competition | Malik Davis
Davis has had a strong training camp but had a better game against the Seahawks than he did against the Jaguars the week before.
According to PFF, Davis had a pass-blocking grade of 77.2, ranking him fourth on the team, just below Dowdle.
On Saturday against the Seahawks, Davis had eight carries for 32 yards.
He made the most of the snaps he received, but this weekend’s game against the Raiders will be telling of how much he can perform with a larger workload.
Malik Davis didn't have much to work with, but he showed nifty feet and kept those legs churning in what little lanes he did get. pic.twitter.com/EUTlJPfTxd
— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 20, 2023
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