We look at the Dallas Cowboys storylines heading into their second preseason game, this time against the Miami Dolphins on Friday.
The Dallas Cowboys return to AT&T Stadium tonight to take on the Miami Dolphins in their second game of the preseason. As always, wins and losses don’t matter in these games, but there are still plenty of intriguing things to watch for.
Tony Romo Returns
After sitting out last week’s loss to the Rams, it looks like we’ll see Tony Romo suit up for the first time since taking a beating on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys are a popular playoff pick in 2016, but that all relies on the health of their star quarterback, who missed 12 games in a miserable 2015 campaign for the Cowboys.
While it’ll be a surprise to see him play more than one series, it will still be interesting to see how he performs in a real game once again. There may be some rust to knock off, and despite his very impressive NFL debut, Romo won’t be feeling any pressure from rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.
The key thing to watch with number 9 will be to see if he gets hit, and see how the quarterback and the coaching staff handle it. Romo is as tough as they come, a trait many people forget, but Father Time is undefeated, and the team needs to do what they can to limit the amount of time Romo spends on the turf.
Can Chaz Green Turn it Around?
Heading into the summer, there was some hope that Green could push for a starting job on the Cowboys’ already spectacular offensive line. While that’s still a possibility, he did not show starter potential last Saturday in Los Angeles. He was a revolving door as a blocker and had a couple bad penalties.
He should get his fair share of snaps tonight to show if a week’s worth of practice ironed out the issues he showed against the Rams. He’s penciled in as the swing tackle and still could push Doug Free for his starting right tackle job. If he can get playing time along the rest of the first unit, it may mask some of his faults, but he needs to improve his play if he wants a role on this team.
Which Young D-Linemen Will Step Up?
The Cowboys desperately need defensive line help. The unit was hurting for pass-rushers, and that was before they had their two starting defensive ends suspended for drug violations. The team may have to get creative with the defensive line this season, and it’s entirely possible that most of the rotation will be newcomers to the team.
They have a few young players who have a golden opportunity to carve out a role on this unit. Shaneil Jenkins showed good burst against the Rams, exploding through the line on multiple occasions and even logging the team’s only sack. David Irving has shown promise but will likely miss tonight’s game with a groin injury. Third round pick Maliek Collins has come off the PUP list and may make his debut tonight.
The reason the defensive line will be interesting to watch tonight is simply because any of the players you see line up tonight could see significant playing time in September.
Can Dak Stay Hot?
Dak Prescott was the biggest story of the preseason. The rookie quarterback had the best preseason debut you could ask for from a player in his position, even outplaying the first overall pick Jared Goff.
While a lot of people will write it off as just a rookie putting up empty numbers in a meaningless preseason game, but Prescott did everything you can ask of a rookie quarterback, going through his progressions, putting the ball where only the receiver can come down with it, and using his mobility to extend plays or to get out of trouble.
Going into tonight, it’ll be interesting to see what he does for an encore. We know Romo will get the first series or two if he plays, but the team could elect to see what Jameill Showers can do with the first unit. If Prescott can repeat last week’s performance with the starters, it will be impressive, but if he can do it with the second unit, Cowboys fans should rest easy about having him as Romo’s primary back.