It's the 3rd preseason game, which is generally considered a dress rehearsal for the real thing. Unfortunately for Dallas this was a short week with only three days to practice, so it's unclear how much game-planning they were able to do and how much they will treat it as a dress rehearsal. Especially since we have a few outstanding issues yet to be resolved.
So here are a few items I'm looking forward to seeing in tonight's game.
The offensive tackles on both sides of the line. The battle for right tackle is looking more and more like a Marc Colombo vs. Jason Fabini competition. Keep an eye on how each plays, this game could go a long way to deciding the winner. While Colombo appears to be certain of a roster spot, Jason Fabini is still a bubble player, but you can never discount Parcells' attachment to veterans, especially ones that have played for him previously. On the other side, rookie Pat McQuistan is still battling for a roster spot, despite many observations that he will make the 53-man roster. In my opinion, he's still a candidate for the practice squad, and Rob Petitti, while once seemingly a lock for the roster, is standing on rocky ground. The play of these four tonight will do a lot towards solidifying Parcells' choices for the final roster.
I'm also keeping an eye on Tyler Fredrickson. It's a stretch to think he will end up on the final roster, but Parcells is going to give him a look tonight. Brad Sham brought up the interesting scheme of keeping Fredrickson as the punter and kickoff specialist, eliminating the need for the extra roster spot dedicated to a kickoff specialist. While still unlikely, let's see how effective his punts are tonight is he gets the opportunity.
Pat Watkins will start at FS for the 2nd consecutive week because of Keith Davis having the bullet removed from his leg on Friday. Last week, Parcells started Watkins to get a look at him with the 1st team defense and against another teams #1 offense. If he takes advantage of the opportunity this week to do some solid work, we may have a FS controversy on our hands.
Take a look at the offensive line tonight as a unit, they will be facing a 3-4 defense that has some unique wrinkles to it. This will be a good test to see how far they've progressed as a unit, and whether they are developing any kind of chemistry playing together.
As always, we'll be watching the WR position, because the battle continues between Hurd, Rector and Copper. Throw in the performance of Skyler Green in the return game to round out the picture.