The Big Guns Will Be On Display in Oakland


It’s funny less than a week ago all anyone could talk about was how glad they were football was back. Dallas Cowboys fans from near and far could care less that none of the big names would be on display last Sunday night when the Cowboys took on the Miami Dolphins in the Hall of Fame game. Now their tunes have changed.

Who should you keep an eye on in Friday night’s game against the Oakland Raiders? There are still quite a few question marks Cowboys brass and fans alike want to see get closer to a resolution point. Here are some of the big ones.

Is Barry Church really the answer at safety?

Sept 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive back Barry Church (42) knocks the ball away from New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Sure we won’t be seeing much of starting safety Barry Church, or any of the Cowboys’ starters in Oakland, but the safety position is still very much up in the air. Last week against Miami the youngsters lacked in just about every way, with Matt Johnson leaving with an injury (surprise, surprise) and JJ Wilcox unable to make all the reads necessary in order to cement himself as a solid contender this year. So in the short time Church will see the field, he’ll need to calm the nerves of anyone that has any stake in a successful year in Dallas. If he can stay healthy, and show fans and critics alike that he has been worth the time and patience he’s been given, he’ll already have done more than Johnson was able to do so far.

The Tony Romo magic

You can expect Tony Romo to only play a series or two. How many plays does it take to knock out a franchise quarterback for the year? Ask the New York Giants and they’ll give you a quick, “Just one baby!”

With the offensive line taking another hit this week when Brandon Moore shunned the Cowboys and decided to stay at home and test out the durability of the springs on his couch instead of pursuing a chance at Championship, the offensive line is again thin and wanting. Sure they played admirably last week, but who is going to start on the interior? Without continuity there is uncertainty. That’s the last thing you want when you put your $108 million man in a live game situation. Let’s just hope Romo can continue to be an escape artist if (and when) the time arrives he’s left out to dry.

A consistent defensive line

Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) during the 2013 Hall of Fame Game against the Miami Dolphins at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 defense the pressure comes from the front four defensive linemen. Without them causing chaos in the backfield, the secondary is left out to dry and the dominos will then start to fall. The defense gives up too many points, the offense has to abandon the running game, and then lethal Tony Romo becomes gunslinger Tony Romo. You can see why it’s so important for the defensive front to get the necessary pressure right?

The Cowboys got a huge dose of that from fifth-year defensive end George Selvie last week. His two sacks, along with countless other plays, showed the Dallas faithful there is hope for a consistent pass rush this season. It’s only a hope at this point, because we really haven’t seen much from anyone else along the line. With DeMarcus Ware only scheduled to play for a short amount Friday night, and considering Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer won’t see any action during preseason play, the verdict is still out on this unit. The only thing that will save them is consistency, consistency, consistency.