It’s finally here. Real football is finally back! Okay, maybe not “real” in the sense that these games really count. But “real” in the sense that “real” professional football players of “real” NFL teams will take the field against each other. By now everyone is well aware that most, if not all of the Dallas Cowboy’s starters will be sitting out Sunday’s Hall of Fame game against the Miami Dolphins. Now before you go and take your Cowboy’s flag down from off the house or throw your favorite jersey on the floor, let’s look at the silver lining. I’m not going to pretend this isn’t disappointing. And we’ve been waiting a long time for this, haven’t we? If I had my wish, here’s a list of the things I’d really want to see:
I want to see how quarterback Tony Romo’s extra focus this offseason has translated into increased production.
- I want to see linebacker Sean Lee back on the field in full form after what has felt like years.
- I want to see how new defensive end DeMarcus Ware’s arm is doing, and how he does with his hand on the ground, with no assignment other than chasing the ball.
- I want to see if linebacker Bruce Carter has healed and improved.
- I am dying to see how much corner Morris Claiborne’s hard work and strict diet is going to effect his speed, agility, and jump on the ball.
- I want to see how our starters respond to new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s style of defense and coaching.
- I am anxious to find out how running back DeMarco Murray has recovered in the offseason. With every running back injury, there is the danger of losing a step.
- I want to see Dez “The Deztructor” Bryant! I’m ready for him to get started on what I believe will be a record breaking season.
I guess I want to see football that is “real” in the sense that “real” starters are playing in games that really matter. And who can blame any if us for that? All in due time, I suppose. Now to that silver lining I spoke of. There is still a lot of talent to be evaluated on this team. A lot of talent that many of us have not had the opportunity to see in action. This will be a good chance to determine the actual strength of this draft, as opposed to simply taking the word of analysts with over inflated egos.
So will the game be exciting? Yes, but in a different kind of way. We will still get a preview of Kiffin’s new defensive schemes. We will have the opportunity to see the difference in offensive coordinator Bill Callahan calling the plays while head coach Jason Garrett oversees the big picture. We might even see some four tight end sets. Most importantly, we will see who rises to the top among the backups. Garrett is a “play them based on performance and not their paycheck” kind of coach. That kind of mentality, combined with Dallas’ uncanny ability to develop unknown talent, makes this game really exciting to watch…really.