August 13, 2012; Oakland, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive back Brandon Underwood (28) tackle Dallas Cowboys tight end James Hanna (84) during the second quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Five Reasons To Watch The Cowboys Final Preseason Game

The Dallas Cowboys will face the Miami Dolphins Wednesday night at Cowboys Stadium. The game will mark the final preseason game for both teams. Normally, this game is reserved for the reserves, meaning the starters will sit while the bench players on the roster bubble will have one last chance to shine. Most fans write this game off as a throw away. But here are five reasons why Cowboy fans might want to tune in for this final preseason matchup.

Aug 15, 2012; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Stephen McGee (7) gestures at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

The Quarterback Battle: Stephen McGee vs. Rudy Carpenter

One lingering question before the Cowboy’s cut their roster to 53 players on Friday is will they actually keep three quarterbacks on the team. With newly acquired free agent Kyle Orton sitting behind Tony Romo this year, the quarterback position is all but solidified. Keeping a third quarterback may be superfluously at this point. Especially when you consider the other positions of need on the team.

Many have speculated that this is the final “hurrah” for former Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee in Dallas. The fourth year veteran back-up has show glimpses of greatness mixed with a lot of indecision. McGee’s performance in this game will go a long way in determining if he’ll be on the roster past the end of the week.

Rudy Carpenter might have a slight upper hand in this matchup. The former practice squad player has impressed in his brief appearances in the preseason. And the fact he is still practice squad eligible and McGee is not, could be the deciding factor if both players perform well Wednesday night.

Fading First Round Glory: Marcus Spears

Defensive end Marcus Spears, a former first round pick, is now heading into his eighth NFL season. His career totals include 201 tackles and nine sacks. Last year, he recorded a career low 16 tackles and one sack. Spears has been relegated to the second team for the past two seasons upon the arrival of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and the emergence of defensive end Jason Hatcher. With young talent like Sean Lissemore and Tyrone Crawford also vying for playing time, the clock on Spears may be running out. But the recent injury to defensive tackle Jay Ratliff and a solid performance on Wednesday may aid Spears in his quest to stay with the team another year.

The development of a superstar: Morris Claiborne

It’s been a pre-season of ups and downs for rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys made a statement during this year’s NFL draft to move up eight spots to take the former LSU standout with the number six pick, sacrificing their second round pick in the process. After announcing to the world that Claiborne was graded as high as Deion Sanders, injuries slowed the young man’s progress through both OTAs and training camp. In his first game as a Cowboy, Claiborne was relatively quiet. In last week’s game against the St. Louis Rams, he started to make some noise. If he’s allowed to play Wednesday night, this might end being Claiborne’s official coming out party. It will be surprising if the Cowboy’s coaching staff decides to sit the young man. The one thing he has lacked all off-season is getting proper reps, and this is a perfect opportunity to do so. But with injuries piling up for the Boys and cornerback Mike Jenkins all but counted out in the regular season opener against the New York Giants, Claiborne may be riding the pine. But if not, he’ll definitely be worth watching.

Who is James Hanna?

Imagine a 6’4, 249 lb. tight end who could run a 4.49 in the 40. Those are the intangibles that James Hanna brings to the table. The former Sooner is a native of Flower Mound, TX and a life long Cowboy’s fan. The Boy’s sixth round pick struggle early in camp with drops. But as time has gone on the young man appears to be getting his legs underneath him. Hanna will be an important part of the Cowboy’s offense, especially if Jason Witten misses the season opener against the Giants. Much like Claiborne, I expect Hanna to also have a coming out party Wednesday night. If he can pull his game together, we may have just found our next great Cowboy’s tight end.

The final wide receiver spot: Andre Holmes

The favorite for the third wide receiver vacancy left by Laurent Robinson this off season was little known 6’5 Andre Holmes. In OTA’s and through training camp, Holmes received rave reviews. But the more this preseason has progressed, Holmes has seemed to digress. After a great three receptions for 40 yards performance in his first preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, Holmes recorded just three catches for 18 yards in the last two games.

The former Hillsdale College standout has suffered from inconsistent play aided by a lingering back injury. This has left the door open for wideouts Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris and rookie Cole Beasley to overtake him on the depth chart. Still, his height and NFL body is keeping him in consideration for an active roster spot. Unfortunately, recent reports have indicated that fifth-round rookie Danny Coale is expected to move above Holmes on the roster. His performance on Wednesday could determine if he even makes the final cut on Friday. This should be a huge game for Andre Holmes.

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Saturday, Aug 2323 Aug7:00at Miami DolphinsBuy Tickets

Tags: Andre Holmes James Hanna Marcus Spears Morris Claiborne Rudy Carpenter Stephen McGee

  • Greg Green

    Really !! the game is at “Texas Stadium” ??? as been a while this have been there

  • californy

    The Cowboy competition is non existant, neither player can be seen as Romo Replacement qb.
    Marcus Spears and Kenyon Coleman may be in there last game with Dallas. I like Coleman but it hard to hold back the developement of Lissemore and Hamilton for the position.
    Claiborne need the reps. I have yet to see the skill level that would make him worth the pick in the top 10, that why he need the reps and continue developement. I want to see which of the younger CB continue to shine in Dallas. You have Mario Butler who i have been down on developing and Barry Church who need to show more of his developement.
    James hanna look better than I though, but it is John Phillips developement that I am more interested in. He was robbed of two catches last game. I wonder if he can keep his focus and build from last week play.
    It look like Adrea Holmes is in the battle of his life to make this team. But words has it that JJ already has him as this team 3rd WR. I am more interested in seeing other player pick up their game so we can send Holmes packing. I dont mind seeing Holmes earn his spot, I just dont want him to be given one without earning it.