Finally the pre-season is coming to an end. The Cowboys’s reputation has unbelievably taken a hit because of there lackluster performance in glorified exhibition games. Regardless that the game against Miami will matter very little to the Cowboys 2010 regular season, the following storylines are worth paying attention to.
1. Dez Bryant: Bryant will not play in this game. Our curiosity will not be sated until week one of the regular season. We may see him on the sideline burning to get into the game. I had my initial reservations about the Cowboys drafting Bryant, but I’ve grown to like his attitude. Other than players on the roster bubble, how many really want to play in the fourth game of a meaningless pre-season.
2. Ogletree v. Hurd: It is unlikely we will keep both players on the roster. Only 10 months ago, some fans were projecting Ogletree to displace Roy Williams as the starter. Now he may not make the team. On the other side of the coin, Hurd is a substantial contributor to special teams, a good character guy, can play all the WR’ing positions, and he may soon find himself looking for a new home. This is a better problem to have than choosing between two mediocre players. My vote is to keep Hurd. With a lockout on the horizon, many teams are building to win this year. I like Ogletree in the long run, but Hurd in the here and now.
3. 5th corner: The dime corner may not be played by a corner at all. The Cowboys staff may use safeties to cover 4th/5th WR’s. Nonetheless, injuries may force the Cowboys to play a 5th corner in nickel packages. It is a passing league and WR’s at the bottom of the depth chart are more talented their their counterparts a generation ago.
4. How many starters will play? The Miami Dolphins were not satisfied with their performance against Atlanta in their 3rd pre-season game and will consequently play many of their starters. The Cowboys will take a similar approach and will play some of their starters, but will hold back key contributors like Tony Romo. Obviously injury is a primary concern. If the Cowboys play Leonard Davis who then sustains an injury, the offensive line would be even more in shambles than it presently is. Wade Phillips has not indicated which starters will play, or for how long. Fans will breathe a sigh of relief once the last starter is off the field (unless it is Roy Williams).
5. Will the Dolphins game plan to make the Cowboys look foolish? I don’t believe this to be the case, but if the Dolphins management harbors ill will towards the Cowboys’s management, they may game plan to make every effort to dominate the Cowboys which will only amplify the alarm bells ringing in Dallas. The Dolphins (as previously indicated) intend to play their starters. The game could quickly get out of hand. The game could be lopsided without any malicious intent by the Dolphins, so this question won’t have an answer.
6. Is McGee a long term solution at backup QB? McGee was drafted in 2009 in the fourth round. The buzz around him initially was that he could run the wildcat offense considering his athletic prowess. Fast forward 1.5 years and you do notice McGee’s athleticism, but he is not even a poor man’s Mike Vick. If McGee expects to have a long term future with the Cowboys, he needs to earn that spot as a classic drop back QB. Proving he can handle that role begins tonight when he starts against the Dolphins.
7. Will Parcells return to the house he built (but Jerry Jones designed and paid for it). Jones admitted while in an inebriated state that he brought in Bill Parcells to bring some excitement back to the team. While The Parcells lead Cowboys made the playoffs twice, they did not make it passed the first round. Nonetheless, Parcells is in a similar position as Jimmy Johnson was. Parcells will receive a lion’s share of the credit for constructing the foundation of this team. Maybe in a few years, Parcells will again follow Johnson’s lead and join a reality TV show. Parcells’s presence on The Jersey Shore would certainly pique my interest considering he is the ultimate Jersey boy, next to Bruce Springsteen.