The Cowboys had their last practice in Oxnard on Wednesday. And now it's home sweet home for the Cowboys as they travel back to Dallas to take on the Miami Dolphins in the second preseason game on Friday.
And in just 23 short days they'll kick off the 2016 NFL season against the New York Giants. As fans, most of us will be happy when the preseason is over, and the "real" football starts. After all, "it's just preseason," isn't it?
While that may be technically true, don't tell the Cowboys players battling for a roster spot that what they are doing "doesn't count."
- Wide receivers Devin Street, Andy Jones, Vince Mayle, Rodney Smith, and Chris Brown are all working hard to secure the sixth receiver spot. Will The Turk come for all of them or will one get a visit from Dr. Feelgood?
- It's the same old situation at defensive end: Defensive ends Lawrence Okoye, Mike McAdoo, Shaneil Jenkins, and Zach Wood will try very hard to get into the current DE rotation or at least make a case that the Cowboys need to keep at least five or six edge rushers.
- Nowhere is the battle for a roster spot tighter than at linebacker, where twelve linebackers are competing for six or seven spots, and those top spots are likely already occupied by players like Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Kyle Wilber, Justin Durant, Mark Nzeocha, Andrew Gachkar and Damien Wilson. The remaining linebackers (James Morris, Deon King, Derek Akunne, Brandon Hepburn, and Henoc Muamba) will have to kickstart their game in the last two preseason contests if they want a spot on the roster.
- And just like the linebackers, the down-roster players at almost every other position will have to unleash their wild side over the next two weeks and show the coaches why they belong on the roster.
23 days may sound like there is still ample time for the down-roster players to make a push for a spot on the roster, but the reality is that first cuts to the 75-man roster are just a short 11 days away, and the cuts to the 53-man roster on September 3rd are just 15 days away. That doesn't leave too many opportunities to impress the coaches enough to secure a roster spot, but also means that every single practice, every single meeting and every single snap counts from here on out.