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Cowboys News: All Eyes On Dak Prescott Tonight

Latest Cowboys headlines: Dak Prescott has a chance to show what he's learned; Cowboys' defense has been better than expected; Eagles fans are already calling for new QB.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys pursued or were linked to a lot of different QBs this offseason. One source claimed the Cowboys had a standing offer on the table for Tampa's Mike Glennon, Robert Griffin was welcome headline porn for a lot of Cowboys articles for a while, the Cowboys met with Matt Moore during free agency, tried to trade up for both Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook in the draft, and most recently made a tepid pitch for Nick Foles and tried to pry Josh McGown out of Cleveland.

That's quite a list of QBs. Here's an overview of how each of them fared in their first preseason action of the season:

Selected QBs in Preseason Openers
Player Team C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT SACKS RTG
Paxton Lynch DEN 6/7 74 10.6 0 0 3-7 110.7
Matt Moore MIA 10/14 122 8.7 1 1 3-17 92.0
Connor Cook OAK 7/11 71 6.5 0 0 0-0 82.0
Josh McGown CLE 1/4 5 1.3 0 0 0-0 39.6
Robert Griffin CLE 4/8 67 8.4 0 1 0-0 39.1
Mike Glennon TB 7/14 83 5.9 0 1 1-7 38.7
Nick Foles KC
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Combined, that's a pretty awful 66.9 average for the QBs above. Would we consider Dak Prescott's debut a success if he surpasses that?

Last year, the average passer rating was 88.4, and only two of the six QBs above who have played so far exceeded that mark. Is that a number we should be looking for from Prescott?

In any case, all eyes will be on Prescott and the Cowboys' strategy at backup QB tonight

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Quarterback play spotlighted in Cowboys’ preseason opener - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
Davison lists five things to watch for in the Rams vs. Cowboys game, and the backup QBs top the list.

Forget about Tony Romo. This preseason is about seeing whom the Cowboys will have behind him in case something goes awry as it did last season. Kellen Moore is out 3-4 months with a broken right ankle, and the Cowboys are seeing if they can fill the void internally. They like rookie Dak Prescott, who has shown flashes in camp, as well as second-year pro Jameill Showers. But if Prescott and Showers don’t perform well, the Cowboys could be forced to bring in a veteran.

Against the Rams, Dak Prescott has a chance to show what he's learned - Todd Archer, ESPN
With a solid performance, Dak Prescott can show the Cowboys that he's ready to be Tony Romo's top backup, Archer explains.

Dak Prescott has modest goals for Saturday's preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams.

"I just basically want to do what I've been doing at practice," the Dallas Cowboys' rookie quarterback said. "There's no difference between practice and a game. I treat every time, every situation the same when I have a football in my hand."

But Saturday will be different. It will be the first NFL game of any kind inside the Los Angeles Coliseum since Dec. 24, 1994. It will be the return of the Rams to Los Angeles after 21 years in St. Louis. It will likely feature one of the biggest crowds the NFL will see this season.

It will also be Prescott's first game.

The Tony Romo backup debacle didn't teach Cowboys anything - Charles Robinson, Yahoo
Robinson doesn't mince any words in his assessment of the Cowboys QB plan.

When last season ended and the backup quarterback lesson was clear, addressing the No. 2 spot was a significant priority. But aside from investing a fourth-round compensatory pick (really a fifth-rounder, if you consider Prescott was the 135th overall selection), Dallas did little to address the problem. The Cowboys looked at trading up for Paxton Lynch in the draft and decided the price was too high. Then they selected a developmental player and stood pat with Moore, a veteran whose greatest credential is being aligned with Dallas offensive coordinator Scott Linehan (who also coached Moore with the Detroit Lions).

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History will be made, then football will be played when Rams face Cowboys in Coliseum - Vincent Bonsignore, The Orange County Register
Bonsignore explains why Stephen Jones is right in calling the preseason opener the biggest preseason game in NFL history.

"I’m not sure you’d be far off calling it the biggest preseason game in the history of the NFL," Jones said, standing in the lobby of the Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte last May. "I can’t think of a bigger preseason game, ever."

Jones has a point. A crowd of 80,000 to 90,000 is expected to cram into the Coliseum to watch the Rams’ first home game at the 93-year-old stadium since 1979, and their first home game back in Southern California in 21 years. It will be raucous. It will be electric. And it will be emotional. And based on some of my Twitter DM’s the last few days, you might even see grown men crying when the Rams emerge from the iconic Coliseum tunnel and take the field at a stadium they called home from 1946-79.

It only seems appropriate the Cowboys will share the Coliseum turf on the day of the Rams’ poignant homecoming.

Rams play homecoming game in preseason opener with Cowboys - Andrew Dalton, WEEI.com
The league couldn't have scheduled a better opponent for the Rams' first game back in LA.

The Cowboys are a fitting opponent for the homecoming. They have a typically large following in a town that has lacked an NFL team, they have long held their training camp in Southern California and owner Jerry Jones was among the NFL power brokers who most strongly fought for returning a team to the LA area.

"I'm so grateful for the owner of the Dallas Cowboys," longtime fan and local native Dan Salcedo said. "He was an engine to bring the Rams back here to LA. I'm grateful for them, but I'm an LA Ram fan. We're going to beat the Cowboys. As far as the first game of the season, we're going to rock."

Rams vs Cowboys: Bold Predictions - Turf Show Times
Rams fans may not feel quite as charitable towards the Cowboys as they are feeling now if the prediction of the Rams SB Nation site comes true.

The Rams will lose the game. While the first team defense will look solid in a meaningless game, that will likely have vanilla offensive approaches from both teams. Ultimately, the Cowboys youngsters will prove to be too much, and the Rams will lose 23-16.

Yea, the Rams will lose the game, but there will be plenty of nuggets to get excited about. No doubt football is back, and now is the time for the Rams to get all their bugs out as they enter a season with arguably more pressure than they have had in the last 22 years...

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Dallas Cowboys' defense has been better than expected so far - Todd Archer, ESPN
Looking for reasons to be optimistic about the defense? Perhaps it has to do with lower expectations entering training camp, but Archer saw some positive signs for the Cowboys' defense after 10 practices.

The first-team offense has not broken off the long runs on a consistent basis. The pass defense has also been markedly improved. The first-team defense has not given up a long run of note unless you want to count a jet sweep by wide receiver Lucky Whitehead.

Cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr have not allowed much separation in covering receivers. Dez Bryant has had some highlight plays but not much has come easy for him. The pass-rush remains unsettled, but there have been times the defense has gotten home with blitzes.

Moris Claiborne is training camp's biggest surprise - and rookie Anthony Brown is holding his own - David Moore, SportsDay
Moore answered reader questions about the team during an online chat, and talked about Claiborne and Brown.

Question: Who -- or what -- is the biggest surprise of training camp so far?

Moore: "Not sure it qualifies as a surprise -- he was very good in the early part of camp last year -- but CB Morris Claiborne has been outstanding. He's arguably had the best camp of anyone on the defensive side of the ball."

Question: Do you think Anthony Brown is gonna carve out a niche for himself?

Moore: "Brown has had a nice camp. He looks comfortable in the slot -- a position he's never really played -- and has held his own when he gets to play on the outside when Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr get veteran rest days. Not sure how big his niche will be this season unless one of the top three guys is injured, but it looks like he'll find a spot."

Player Postcard: Broaddus Checks In On Tyron Smith - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Tyron Smith vs. Demarcus Lawrence has been one of themore interesting battles in camp, Broaddus explains.

From a scouting perspective, it has been nice to see Tyron Smith work against DeMarcus Lawrence these last few practices. Since Lawrence was moved to the right side, it has been a battle each snap to see who was going to get the better of the other. There have been more times than not during this camp where Smith has been flawless with his technique – but when he has to deal with Lawrence it’s been a different story. Smith wasn’t his best during his work against Lawrence on Wednesday.

Lawrence is unique to Smith, because he is able to play on a couple of different levels. His quickness and power can break Smith down and this causes him to have to play off balance. Smith can usually recover if you get him initially, but Lawrence is different because when he wins initially, he can maintain that rush up the field -- which puts pressure on Smith. Where I thought Smith was better on Thursday was that he did a better job of handling Lawrence’s various pass rush moves. To Lawrence’s credit, he threw a lot at Smith, knowing that he was starting to get a better gauge of what moves he was seeing. Smith played with better technique and balance, which is exactly what he was unable to accomplish the day before.

5 Thoughts out of Cowboys camp - Charles Robinson, Yahoo.com
Robinson offered a series of tweets yesterday summarizing his take on the Cowboys. Here they are, in order from one to five.

1. Sorry fans, the backup QB spot remains a significant short-term problem.

2 The DE #Cowboys are counting on to take a big step, David Irving, has considerable upside. Stung #Chiefs to lose him off practice squad.

3. I doubted the Morris Claiborne hype, but thought he looked pretty good. His confidence seems to be there if he can just stay healthy.

4. S Byron Jones will be a difference-maker this season. His range pops in practice. Might be the best young safety I've seen since OTAs.

5. Cowboys may have lucked out losing Foles. Was told he needed extra coddling and it wore thin w/ Rams staff. #Dallas doesn't need that.

Rod Marinelli: 45 years ago as college student he interned at Cowboys Training Camp - Kristi Scales, 5 Points Blue
Interesting little side note: Rod Marinelli got his first exposure to coaching as a student intern at Cowboys Training Camp while in college.

"When we were seniors, the captains had the chance to be gofers at camp, do odd jobs, whatever the coaches needed us to do," Marinelli recalls. "You just had a chance to watch and learn. And I was learning more from the coaches than the players. My mind was already focused in that direction. There were really good coaches like Ernie Stautner and Coach Landry. I mean, wow! They were unbelievable."

"I worked with Alvin Roy, the strength coach. I put the weights on and he told me to watch the numbers. I would try to get over to the offensive and defensive line coaches and pick up the cones, whatever they needed me to do. I was watching these guys coach every day and that was the fun part about it."

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WATCH: Eagles fans are already chanting for a new quarterback - CBSSports.com
That went faster than expected.