When the 49ers bring their undefeated preseason record into Stadium tomorrow night, they will be looking to play a solid game against a quality NFC team. The game will be the third for each team, and both expect to give their starters a considerable amount of playing time that could stretch into the third quarter.
Last season when the two teams met, the Cowboys handed their old west coast rivals a 35-22 defeat. The 49ers finished the season 7-9, which was good enough for second place in their division behind the NFC champion . They have a young team led by head coach Mike Singletary, and a defense led by Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis.
Willis will be playing in his first preseason game this year after injuring his ankle and Achilles tendon early in training camp. He is looking forward to Saturday's matchup.
Patrick Willis said the chance for backups to compete against a talented team like the Cowboys would only be beneficial to everyone in the long run.
"I think it’s very big," Willis said. "To go out there and have a good game against a good-caliber team like the Cowboys, it means a lot across the board from the ones to the twos. Coach [Mike Singletary] will say all the time, ‘We don’t have backups. We have guys who come in and when they’re in there, they’re starters at that point in time.’ So, it’s going to be really big across the board."
More 49ers @ Cowboys after the jump.
49ers QB Shaun Hill, who has been resting a strained lower back and has recently been named the regular season starter, expects to play against the Cowboys.
San Francisco's starters are expected to play the first half against the Cowboys, with some continuing on into the third quarter.
"This is a very important game for everybody on the team," Hill said. "For the guys who are going to be starting it's important to establish a tempo and do some good things. Every opportunity to play is important. My goal is, no matter how many series, to come away with touchdowns."
Singletary isn't sure how long Hill will play.
"He’ll start the game and we’ll go from there," Singletary said.
If for some reason Hill can't go, 13-year vet Damon Huard will start in his stead.
Also, Barry Sims will start at right tackle for Marvel Smith.
Former 49ers cornerback and KPIX game analyst Eric Davis said that wide receiver Michael Crabtree is willing to sit out the season.
Davis said the player and team are about 7 million apart on the guaranteed money. Davis knows people in Crabtree's camp, which might be his old teammate Deion Sanders, who's close to Crabtree. Davis wasn't sure if the continued holdout was motivated by Crabtree or his agent, Eugene Parker, but he did say this:
"Eugene Parker is not the football player. Eugene Parker works for Michael Crabtree, the key phrase here is 'works for,'" Davis said. Also Davis believes Crabtree might go through with his holdout threats.
"We all pride ourselves on getting sacks. We want to get sacks and we're going to continue to try our hardest to get sacks," Lawson said Thursday as the 49ers prepared for Saturday's game at Dallas. "People may look at the first two games, but these are preseason games. We (starters) don't play that much. We don't really study film on our opponents. We just go up there and want to see what guys have."
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones on Friday did not offer a firm timetable for Williams' recovery, but indicated there's a good chance Williams could be ready for the Sept. 13 regular-season opener at Tampa Bay. Jones said Williams had good strength and movement in his shoulder Friday morning, but emphasized the team will not "push anything" regarding his return.
In the meantime, the team's medical and training staff will monitor Williams daily. Given Williams' chance for a relatively swift return, Jones said he doesn't envision the Cowboys signing another receiver for depth purposes. They could be short-handed at the position Saturday, however. Fourth-year veteranhas missed practice this week with a sore quad and seems questionable to play against the 49ers.
Here's what Jones had to say in response to a question about whether Orlando Scandrick practices too hard.
"No, not at all," Jerry Jones said during his appearance on 105.3 The Fan this morning. "When you're out there and you're not padded up, it's a time that you're sensitive about that and you try to avoid those collisions. But when you're moving at 95 to 100 percent speed, then sometimes they're not avoidable."
With Williams out and Hurd questionable, many eyes will be watching Kevin Ogletree, who is fast-becoming the favorite to win the fifth WR spot.
Another thing in Ogletree's favor is the presence of tight ends coach John Garrett, the brother of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. John coached Ogletree for two years at Virginia and promised him a fair shake; that was a big reason he signed with Dallas instead of the other 20-plus teams that offered him the chance to try earning a job.
"I trusted that he had my best interest in mind when he told me that I would have a good chance to play here," Ogletree said.
Another receiver, Manny Johnson, has attracted some attention for himself at practice.
During team drills, Johnson used his left hand to grab a 50-yard pass from. What's more impressive, he made the catch despite tight coverage from Orlando Scandrick and down the left sideline.
New C/G, Duke Preston, will most likely sit this one out while he learns the offense.
"I'm going to pretty much not sleep and dive into the playbook this weekend and be ready to go Monday," Preston said.