There’s really only one rule of thumb with the NFL preseason: don’t read too much into what you see. Which is a shame for Dallas Cowboys fans, because Sunday night’s 24-20 win over the Miami Dolphins in the NFL Hall of Fame Game suggested that Jerry Jones and Co. may actually have known what they were doing all along.
Though only three starters — LT Tyron Smith, RT Doug Free and OL Travis Frederick — saw playing time, the Cowboys looked like a fundamentally sound, highly athletic and ferocious team in the preseason opener. As for the two biggest offseason storylines — the change in the play-caller and the switch to the 4-3 — both came out looking like smart moves.
Not all of it was good, and much of it was likely meaningless. Nevertheless, here are some of the game’s big-picture takeaways that could very well hold true.