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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: San Diego Here We Come!

Latest Cowboys headlines: Jason Witten may be "one of the most underrated trash talkers in the NFL;" All eyes will be on Brandon Weeden tonight; James Hanna my be the Cowboys' new blocking tight end.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys starters Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray not expected to play preseason opener | Rainer Sabin, DMN
Like in last year's preseason opener (the exhibition game against Miami in Canton, Ohio), Romo, Murray, and Witten will be held out of the first game this season.

Cowboys, Chargers Backup QBs Will Be Busy " CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
Tony Romo won't play at all and Philip Rivers won't play more than a series, which means it'll be Brandon Weeden vs. Kellen Clemens tonight.

With Romo Held Out, Weeden To Get Plenty Of Snaps Thursday - Nick Eatman,
Weeden has gotten a lot more physical reps with the Cowboys than he'd ever imagined, Eatman writes, and it's just going to continue tonight.

Not only was Romo extremely limited in the offseason and will still sit out a few practices during camp – not to mention Thursday’s game with the Chargers – but Orton was a complete no-show this summer and was eventually released. That meant Weeden was under center just about every day.

He was throwing the balls to Dez Bryant and Jason Witten and giving the handoffs to DeMarco Murray. And it was his blindside being protected by Tyron Smith. And that’s how it’ll likely be for a little while Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The first-team offense generally gets a series or two in this preseason opener.

Things To Watch: Brandon Weeden Running The Offense - Blogging The Boys
Preseason NFL games are not about winning or losing, they are about finding out what the team has, Tom Ryle writes - and wonders just what the team has got in Brandon Weeden.

Cornerback B.W. Webb will be busy man in Cowboys' preseason opener | David Moore, DMN
The Cowboys go into the game with only three healthy cornerbacks, Moore writes, which means B.W. Webb and Terrance Mitchell will have a heavy workload tonight.


Scout’s Eye: Hanna Improving As A Blocking Tight End - Bryan Broaddus,
Every once in a while, you're confronted with a piece of information that makes you reassess a lot of things you previously believed to be true - like that James Hanna was a speedy downfield receiver and was simply not playing to his strengths when used as a blocker.

There were several snaps where we were pointing out the point-of-attack blocking by James Hanna on the edge, working as an inline or "Y" tight end. I have to say that I was impressed with what Hanna was able to accomplish during that period as a blocker.

It was really the first time in camp where I saw him physically handle his man at the point of attack. Hanna showed nice initial quickness off the line and into his block. His angles were good along with his sustain and he was not struggling to maintain it. He was able to get some movement when required with some nice power. He was able to finish his blocks, which allowed the ball to get to the outside easily. Going into this training camp, I had some thoughts that this front office might have to go get a blocking tight end as one of the three but with the way that James Hanna carried himself during practice he gave me a little hope that he can handle the assignment.

Nate Newton: Dallas Cowboys O-line improving despite camp dominance - Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas
In this article, Nate Newton talks extensively about why the O-line could be an elite unit despite playing against sometimes subpar competition in camp: their focus on technique, which will help them once they play better opponents. Along the way, Newton shared his take on rookie Zack Martin:

"I haven't watched a lot of him, but from what I've seen, he has something to him," Newton said of Martin. "The other day [the defensive line] ran a game and his arms were locked down, but he head-butted the dude. I was like, Wow! I liked that. He's just mean. He looks the part. The dude is good."

"He's winning most of his battles, but what I like most -- and I will repeat this -- is these guys are working on their technique. Because when you get in a game and you get against people with equal or better talent, that is what's going to save you -- that and effort."

Scott Linehan plans to call plays from sidelines for Dallas Cowboys - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
When Bill Callahan called plays for the Dallas Cowboys in 2013, he did so from up high in the coaches’ booth. Scott Linehan will be having none of that and will call his plays from the sideline.

Jason Witten, Trash talker? - Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas
Like you wouldn't believe. Very enjoyable story from MacMahon, who calls Witten "one of the most underrated trash talkers in the NFL."

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