Quarterbacks: Wade Phillips has stated that the starting offense will play the entire half, with Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and Marion Barber coming out after the first quarter. This will give Brad Johnson the chance to have extended time playing behind the starting offensive line and should give us a better look at our backup quarterback situation. While Johnson certainly wasn't on fire last week, I also don't think he played so bad that everyone needed to go into hysterics. If Johnson is still unable to make the throws needed when he actually has time in the pocket, then I will really get concerned.
On top of wanting to see how Johnson plays, I am also interested to see what Tony Romo does playing more than one series in the game. Romo hasn't exactly been sharp this week practicing against the Broncos and he and Owens haven't been on the same page. I'm not even in the same room as the panic button, but I do want to see how Romo adjusts against a defense that has been giving him trouble.
Special Teams: Last week I pointed this out as an area to watch, but mostly so we could get a good look at individual players. After last week's debacle, now the focus is on how the unit itself plays. I'll be honest, I have never seen such poor play on special teams, even in the preseason. Yeah, I know the coaches are kinda throwing guys out there to see how they do but the team should have some kind of direction in how to consistently cover punts. I wasn't impressed with Bruce Read's unit last year and he may be thin ice if the poor play continues.
Receivers: Miles Austin had a really good game last week and Patrick Crayton showed that he is still the consistent possession receiver he was last season. What I want to see is if Danny Amendola, Mike Jefferson and Todd Lowber are able to get on the field and make something happen. Lowber wasn't even able to play a single down last game so I know he is itching to show what he can do in a game.
Defensive Backs: The Cowboys were outscored 31-17, yet the Chargers only had 106 yards passing last week. The Chargers were missing their main offensive weapons and the defense wasn't really tested in the passing game. Tonight the Cowboys face a much more potent passing offense against Denver, with Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Tony Sheffler all expected to see significant playing time. This will be a good test to see how much our secondary has really improved, even with Terence Newman sitting out.
We should get a good look at Mike Jenkins and Adam Jones, who will be looking to shake off some more rust. It will also be interesting to see the personnel the Cowboys use against a a very good tight end in Sheffler. The Cowboys have made it clear they plan on matching up Henry as a safety against tight ends and tonight should be our first chance to see how that matchup works out.