Don’t expect any of the Dallas Cowboys’ starters to see the field in the preseason opener. So who will step up with this huge opportunity to make a statement?
Finally, Dallas Cowboys football is back! Sort of. It’s only preseason but if you’re a diehard fan like myself then you definitely still pay close attention to these games. Fans are able to see high profile rookies get some game time repetitions and watch others try to make a name for themselves to make the final cut.
The Hall of Fame game is practically the team’s replacement to their traditional Blue and White scrimmage, but since it’s an extra preseason game we can expect the starters to take a breather for this one. That hasn’t been confirmed by the coaching staff or front office as of yet, but I would imagine head coach Jason Garrett would take this opportunity to see how deep his personnel really is, especially since the Arizona Cardinals won’t be playing their starters.
With that being said there’s three particular players that I will have my eye on, one on the offense, defense, and special teams.
The first guy is kind of a forgotten draft pick in defensive back Marquez White. From what I’ve heard from scouts and writers in training camp is that despite being young, the entire defensive backfield has held their own against the Cowboys’ high powered offense. I’ve heard a ton of good things about second round pick Chidobe Awuzie and we all mostly know about defensive back Jourdan Lewis’ early hamstring injury, but not much chatter about White.
All that along with cornerback Nolan Carroll‘s punishment from the NFL up in the air for his DWI earlier this year, we really don’t know what the secondary will look like once the season starts. Keep an eye on White to be making plays to show he can be a notable fill in if something should happen to the guys ahead of him on the depth chart.
The next guy is kin to very well known fan favorite linebacker Jaylon Smith. It’s his older brother Rod Smith who many don’t know because their running back stable is so stacked. Rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott‘s availability for Week 1 is still a mystery as we all wait for a potential suspension for his off the field antics. The next best complete back is rightfully his backup Darren McFadden, but after him who’s next?
From what I’m hearing from camp is that Rod Smith is impressing enough to take that third running back spot from veteran Alfred Morris. Not only is Rod running the ball with nice burst and vision, but he’s also catching and blocking exceptionally well, something Morris is not accustomed to. Look for Smith to make a case for himself when he’s on the field.
The last guy is an unknown because I don’t know who will be returning punts. Receiver Ryan Switzer took most of the reps returning punts this of season. But along with fellow rookie and return man Jourdan Lewis, both are nursing hamstring injuries. With those two out, the team had McFadden returning punts. But I could foresee the team resting him as well since he’s a seasoned veteran.
Therefore, I have no idea who will be back there returning punts, but whoever it is I’m looking forward to seeing them make some flashy plays. A guess? Newly signed wide receiver Javontee Herndon could be someone the Cowboys earmark for that duty as he did it for the San Diego Chargers back in 2015 and during his senior year at Arkansas.