Another Cowboys preseason game is upon us. There are so many captivating topics entering this game and pretty soon more information will be available for us to chew on. Here are ten burning questions from the Cowboys game with the Colts.
Question #1 - What should we expect from Jaylon Smith?
The litmus test is finally here. The Cowboys red-shirt linebacker will see his first NFL game action after 20 months of getting ready. Once it’s all said and done, fans are going to unload with the report cards. It’s going to be exhilarating if he makes a big splash play, but if he doesn’t expect a lot of people to offer up some medical advice about him just not being ready yet. I wouldn’t focus so much on the results or how he fills out a stat sheet, but rather how comfortable he is moving around or how explosive he looks attacking the ball. Those are the really important things at this point.
Question #2 - Will Dak Prescott look like the real deal?
We’ve heard great things about Prescott all camp, but fans still need some reassurance that 2017 was no fluke. The whole “RG3” and “Nick Foles” one-hit wonder comparisons have been tossed around at times. The sooner that’s debunked, the better. It’s important that Prescott looks like the pro we remember.
Don’t get too worried if you see a little carelessness from him. Dak has been working on challenging himself with some of his throws and it’s resulted in some picks during training camp. But that’s okay. This is the time to get those things out of your system and get a handle on your limitations.
Question #3 - How will the offensive line look?
It’s unclear who will start at left guard, Chaz Green or Jonathan Cooper? Whomever it is, it’s important that the first-teamers look good. If the weak link on the line brings the whole unit down, it’s going to be a cause for the concern. Green or Cooper need to be able to perform well enough to where that doesn’t become a worry.
Green could also see some time at tackle with the second group and how he does there also could alter how the Cowboys set this position group.
Question #4 - What will the pass rush look like?
I’m very excited about this one. So many of my favorites should be getting some reps. Maliek Collins should play for the first time this season. I’m predicting it right now - Collins is getting through the middle. Either he’ll have a sack or he’ll run the quarterback into a sack. I can’t wait to finally see this guy play.
David Irving is another guy that is expected to do good things this season. He looks real comfortable on the edge and is going to be disruptive this year once he returns from his suspension. Look for him to unleash what he can during any preseason action he gets.
Of course, we all want more Taco Charlton and it would be great to see him build on a good game last week. This could be the first look we get at Benson Mayowa and many people are in the dark on how he’s doing this year. He’s been dealing with an knee injury so he hasn’t been on the field that much, but the team’s reigning sack leader is hoping to make a push to hold down that RDE spot. It would sure be a good sign to see him show up.
Question #5 - Can Nolan Carroll hold things down?
With so many of the young corners dealing with hamstring injuries, the starting CBs might see a little more action than the other starters. Maybe not so much with Orlando Scandrick, but this should give us a good look at the Cowboys free agent signing, Nolan Carroll. He’s been doing well in camp, but he needs to show it in game action. Then, and only then, will fans start giving the former Eagle the credit he deserves.
Question #6 - Which running back will look the best?
Darren McFadden will run with the first team. He’s going to have the best chance to flourish. Can he deliver? Will McFadden hit those holes and churn out some nice gains. Or will he try to bounce outside too much? It would really be something if Alfred Morris got some time with the first unit as well. That would indicate there is a real battle going on for the backup RB spot. With Chaz available at LT, the team could swap out Tyron Smith and still roll with mostly the first team when Morris comes in.
If Morris shines brighter than McFadden, it could shake things up at the running back position.
Question #7 - Is the gap narrowing for the starting strong safety spot?
When it comes to Jeff Heath, fans are either really excited or really concerned. He started camp strong, but has been relatively quiet in recent weeks. He’s good in coverage, but can he also handle his role against the run? Both Kavon Frazier and Xavier Woods have been tackling machines this preseason so it could make this position battle a lot closer than some realize.
Question #8 - Which backup quarterback will look better?
If you find yourself rooting against Kellen Moore, stop it! I get it, you love Cooper Rush and want to seem him beat out Moore for the number two spot. If Rush is really that good, then he’ll show it and will win a spot on the roster on his own merit. He doesn’t need Moore to stink it up to make the team. If Moore does struggle, and then Rush comes in later and also struggles, then we have a problem.
The best thing is for Moore to have a good rebound game and for Rush to continue to play like he has. Having a viable backup is the key, regardless of who it ends up being.
Question #9 - Who’s better, Marquez White or Duke Thomas?
This game would be a great opportunity to see Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis in action, but both are ailing. This means that the Cowboys will have to go further down the depth chart to field a team. Personally, I don’t care what Leon McFadden or Sammy Seamster can do, but I would like to see if either Marquez White or Duke Thomas can do enough to earn a spot on the team.
With injuries all around the secondary, these extra depth guys start becoming more important.
Question #10 - Can any of the bubble boys make a big splash?
Noah Brown looked good last game, but he must stack more quality performances on top of each other to convince the team to carry six WRs. Lewis Neal has impressed as well and the team is actually running short on DTs so he’s got a better path to make the team. Lenny Jones had one of those games that get you noticed last week and if he can keep playing like that, then his name will enter the conversation for DEs, especially with the early year suspensions. And keep an eye out on reserve tackles Emmett Cleary and Kadeem Edwards. Nothing is set in stone and if Chaz ends up as the teams starting guard, one of those guys will be needed as a backup tackle.