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Richard Bartel to start vs. Minnesota

With most starters not dressing up for the final preseason game tomorrow night Richard Bartel will get a full game to show just how much he might have improved since last year.

In two preseason games, Bartel has completed 48.3 percent of his passes for 171 yards. He has no touchdown passes and one interception.

"Playing the whole game is very exciting," Bartel said. "It gives me an opportunity to step up to the plate and prove myself."

This should be a good test for Bartel to see if he can get into a good rhythm while playing an entire game. In the games he has played in so far I must admit I have been semi-impressed with Bartel's play. Obviously he has a long ways to go, but he is definitely a competitor and has a strong arm. Now we get the chance to see what he can do.

Speaking of the game tomorrow night, this will be the final chance for some guys on the bubble to show their stuff. Besides Bartel, a few of the guys to focus on are Danny Amendola and Alan Ball.

Danny Amendola, wide receiver

The fan favorite and Texas Tech rookie has a much better chance of making the team after injuries to Miles Austin and Isaiah Stanback. Amendola doesn’t have a role on the special teams and he needs a standout performance against Minnesota to fully separate himself from Mike Jefferson, who was on the practice squad last season.

Alan Ball, cornerback

The former seventh-round draft pick is in this position mainly because of the emergence of Evan Oglesby. Oglesby outperformed Ball in training camp by leading all defensive backs in interceptions. Ball fell behind after suffering a sprained ankle at the start of camp. The Cowboys might keep both, but Ball has struggled in preseason games.

I was hopeful that Minnesota would at least play some of their starters in the game, but it looks like that won't happen. With three guys essentially trying out for the LG spot tomorrow night it would have been nice to see how they would have done against some of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. I guess second and third stringers will have to do.

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Among some of the things I was really looking forward to heading into the season is a mish mash special teams unit. Yet injuries to some key players on the coverage units has necessitated plugging some inexperienced guys in the mix.

Special teams is often overshadowed by a Cowboys offense that scored the second-most points in franchise history (455) last season and a defense that sent five players to Hawaii, then added a seven-time Pro Bowler (Zach Thomas) in February. But last year's inconsistent kick coverage has resurfaced at times in the preseason, most recently when Nick Folk drilled last Friday's opening kickoff deep into the end zone and the Texans still ripped off a 68-yard return.

"It's like a chess game," said second-year fullback Deon Anderson, a special teams regular who expects to have a reduced role in Thursday's preseason finale against Minnesota. "We're still moving pieces."

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"It's like a chess game," said second-year fullback Deon Anderson, a special teams regular who expects to have a reduced role in Thursday's preseason finale against Minnesota. "We're still moving pieces."

Of course, Wade Phillips goes on to cite the coverage unit's performance in week three of last season.

"I'm concerned about it some," Phillips said, "but we played (Chicago's Devin) Hester last year and stopped him three times inside the 20 on kickoffs. It's something we can do."

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Todd Archer says that Tony Romo is pretty successful when he throws to Terrell Owens. In his article, Archer has this interesting snippet.

A few ticks into the play, Romo pump-faked to Owens, causing cornerback Jacques Reeves to freeze. Romo then looked to the other side of the field to move a safety and give Owens more room. When Romo came back to Owens, he threw more on feel than actually trying to hit a target.

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Great news on the effort to get "Bullet" Bob Hayes into the Hall of Fame.

The seniors committee of the Hall of Fame on Wednesday decided to re-nominate Hayes – just five years after he was rejected as a senior candidate. Hayes is joined by Claude Humphrey as the two senior candidates for the Class of 2009.

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Expect to finally get a glimpse at Bobby Carpenter tonight on Hard Knocks, 10 EST on HBO.

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Nick Eatman these are the five guys he should have picked to surprisingly make the roster.

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And just to rile everyone up, SI.com has their season picks up. Guess who they have in the Super Bowl?