Written by theMBIIIeffect
The first preseason game is like a first kiss with a pretty girl. Sure, it might feel good, but it’s probably a little awkward, you’re probably going to make way too big a deal out of it and you’re probably not going to be able to tell what’s going to happen beyond that first smooch.
Still, when the Cowboys take the field against the Oakland Raiders tonight, we’re going to get our first look into a few new players and a few old ones too. Here are a few guys I’m going to keep an eye on.
- Roy Williams: Are there any other receivers in Dallas? Yes. But no other receiver in the NFL has been under the microscope quite like Williams. We won’t see much more two or three series of Williams with starting quarterback Tony Romo, but I’m sure that his numbers from this preseason game will be touted as an early indication of the developing connection between Romo and Williams.
- Bobby Carpenter: Yep. I’m going to be watching Barbie. The guy has to step up big time in his role as the nickel linebacker. He should also see some time at middle backer with the second string defense. Reports from camp say that Carpenter has been much more physical against the run and that he has made improvements in his game. That was also the case last year, and we all know how last season went for Carpenter.
- Gerald Sensabaugh: Sensabaugh probably won’t see a lot of the field, like Romo and Williams. Still, I’m eager to see what Sensabaugh can contribute in place of current Bengal Roy Williams. His addition to our pass defense should be immediately recognizable.
- Pat Watkins: This guy is legitimately fighting for a roster spot. He has experience, but coaches are liking what they see from rookie safety Michael Hamlin and converted cornerback Alan Ball. If Watkins doesn’t contribute on defense and on special teams, he could find himself out of Dallas.
- Martellus Bennett: Everyone is looking at Roy Williams to help make up for Terrell Owens’ lost production. I say look no further than Bennett for some of that production. ESPN’s Matt Mosley has predicted that Bennett could catch 45 passes and five or six touchdowns. I think he could get more. The Cowboys offense has been running tons of two tight end formations in training camp, and Bennett should see plenty of the field tonight.
- Stephen McGee: McGee could eventually be Tony Romo’s replacement. In camp, has shown some signs of brilliance that could justify Dallas taking McGee in the 4th round of the 2009 draft after spending three years in an option offense and seeing his senior year cut short by injury. He has also made some rookie mistakes. It’ll be interesting to see how McGee responds to his first game against an NFL defense, although the Raiders’ third stringers probably won’t be too much tougher than some of the Big 12 defenses he faced while at Texas A&M.