So is a win really a win? Maybe. On Thursday night in Canton, Ohio, the Dallas Cowboys rallied to beat the Arizona Cardinals, 20-18, in the annual Hall of Fame Game. Jason Garrett’s club watched their opposition jump out to a strong 15-0 first-quarter advantage. But when it was all said and done, the Cowboys rallied for a victory. Of course, it was the first of five preseason contests for the defending NFC East champions.

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And we didn’t see very many starter in the Dallas’ lineup. So what did this all mean to a talented roster that certainly has Super Bowl aspirations this season?

What’s in these numbers?

If you were watching the game, it was hard to ignore just how easy the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive unit – regardless of who was on the field – was making it on Cardinals’ third-string quarterback Blaine Gabbert. He would finish the game with 185 yards through the air.

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The Dallas’ defense did sack the experienced signal-caller twice but also couldn’t stop the much-maligned performer from leading his team to a pair of touchdown drives. The team finally got on the board late in the first quarter when quarterback Kellen Moore drove his club 89 yards in seven plays, culminating with a 26-yard scoring strike to emerging tight end Rico Gathers.

After a shaky start, Moore settled down and hung in the pocket quite well.

The other offensive player that stood out on the evening was wideout Brice Butler. He was target four times and caught only two passes. But the receptions covered 46 and 32 yards. And Tom Ryle of Blogging the Boys was impressed with the overall performance of fullback Keith Smith. While he totaled no carries, he caught three passes for 15 yards and blocked well.

Have they fixed the defense?

A year ago, Jason Garrett’s Dallas Cowboys overcame a Week 1 home loss to the New York Giants and embarked on an 11-game winning streak on the way to an NFC East title.

They managed this feat thanks mainly to rookies in the form of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott – along with that imposing offensive line. Meanwhile, hanging onto the football meant keeping Dallas’ defensive unit off the field. Now that group has undergone massive changes, most notably in the secondary. The team ranked 26th in the NFL against the pass in 2016 and addressed the defensive backfield heavily in the draft.

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The Cowboys also added free-agent cornerback Nolan Carroll, late of the Philadelphia Eagles.

We didn’t see a lot of the starters on Dallas’ defense on the field Thursday night, although 2017 first-round pick Taco Charlton was in the starting lineup. We should get a much better gauge of where this unit stands the next few weeks. But the Dallas Cowboys can take a few offensive positives from this meaningless game.

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