As is the tradition under Wade Phillips, most of the starters will not see the field tonight. We'll get a healthy dose of the backup players, however, for what I am sure is going to be just one heck of an entertaining game tonight. The Dolphins will be playing their starters for about a quarter, so this will be a great test for a number of the younger players that will receive significant playing time tonight.
With the Cowboys needing to get down to 53 players on the roster by Saturday, the reality is that many of the players in tonight's game have already had their fate decided. It's very rare for a player to have his roster spot decided by his performance in the final preseason game as by this point the team already knows what he has. Regardless, there's still some questions we need to have answered tonight against Miami...
Can Stephen McGee show significant progress?
Apparently, McGee is not in trouble of losing his roster spot this season. His future with the Cowboys is not going to be decided by what he does against Miami. It would still be nice, however, to see the Cowboys' third quarterback show some sort of progress while playing a full game against the Dolphins.
He'll have the chance to establish a rhythm and to work in a variety of situations, an opportunity he didn't receive last preseason. The only hope I have is that the Cowboys give McGee a bit of help and not throw him to the wolves with nothing but spares on the offensive line and at wide receiver.
Can Sean Lee rebound from a bad game?
The entire defense had a bad game against Houston, but Sean Lee struggled. His injury in training camp has apparently set back his development and he's now focusing on preparing himself to be Keith Brooking's backup. For now, it seems that Lee will not be the nickel line backer at the start of the season, which is a shame considering his potential and skill set.
Hopefully, Lee can put together a full game tonight to showcase he deserves consideration for playing time once the season starts. I'm guessing that Keith Brooking won't even put the pads on tonight, so Lee should receive plenty of playing time tonight. Word is that the Cowboys are looking at either Jason Williams, Leon Williams, or one of the safeties for that nickel spot; I know that I would rather see Lee manning that spot sooner than later once the season is underway.
Will Kevin Ogletree head into the season on a positive note?
A few months ago, every Cowboys fan was worried about how much playing time Kevin Ogletree would receive this season. He was too talented not to use on a consistent basis, we said, and the Cowboys needed to take advantage of his skill set.
Now, after a rough training camp and preseason in which it seemed his roster spot might be in doubt, Ogletree is having to deal with adversity as he struggles with fighting the "sophomore slump". Inconsistent effort in games and practices, dropped passes and a seemingly lazy approach have all plagued Ogletree this summer. Now, after a decent game against Houston and two weeks of good practices in Oxnard, he will get one final shot to prove he's back on track.
With the Cowboys likely sitting the top four receivers tonight (if Crayton isn't playing, as he stated today) then Ogletree should become the top option for Stephen McGee for an entire game. Let's see what he can do.