The next to last preseason game is traditionally dress rehearsal week for NFL teams. The starters from around the league see the most game activity that will come their way until things start to count on opening weekend. We will see the final product of an offseason in its most complete form on Saturday night when Dallas faces the Raiders.
Before practice, Garrett said he was leaning toward playing running back Ezekiel Elliott for the first time in preseason. Linebacker Sean Lee also continued to work in team drills and could make his preseason debut Saturday after missing time with a hamstring injury earlier in camp.
The biggest question Dallas will face once they start playing for real is undoubtedly how the team will fare without Ezekiel Elliott. That is where fellow second year player Dak Prescott comes into the picture. The Cowboys will rely on their quarterback to get the job done while Zeke serves his time in the NFL’s ‘sin bin’. The rest of the offense feels like they are in capable hands.
"There's always a high expectation for [Dak] because he played so well," Witten said. "Coach Linehan puts a lot on him because he's shown he can handle it. [But] one of the best things Dak does is he has a lot of confidence in the guys around him, he communicates really well and puts us all in good position. So I don't think there's added burden."
There are still many solid pieces to take up the slack on offense, but the defense should pose more of a question. Departures, additions, and suspensions will play a pivotal role in the Cowboys success early on. Sean Lee may be the most critical piece at this juncture, and he is ready to make his debut against Oakland.
“I think it helps,” Lee said. “I think you can practice as much as you can, but you’ve got to replicate game speed and the only way to do that is to get in the game. I think I need to play. I like to play in the preseason games. I think it helps me start the right way when the season starts the first game.”
Lindsay Draper provides this video wrap up of the Cowboys' first ever week of training camp at the new facility in Frisco.
Moving on past the final preparations for this weekend’s game we find Dez Bryant speaking out from his heart.
“I’m not criticizing nobody,’’ Bryant said during a 14-minute testimonial in front of his locker after practice Thursday. “They’re free to do whatever they want. Hell, no, I’m not doing none of that (in terms of criticizing them). Their beliefs are their beliefs, and I’m not saying they’re wrong because they’re feeling a certain way. They’re supposed to.
“I’m just saying OK, I want to lead by example by doing positive. I’m not saying what they’re doing is wrong. I just have my ways of going about things.’’
Dez is not shy about saying what is on his mind, and even though he has received criticism on social media, the last line of his statement is a testiment of how he has grown as a man.
There is a QB controversy brewing in north Texas. Dak may be the starter but there is a good possibility of a down to the wire battle to be his understudy.
Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Wednesday his five-year relationship with Kellen Moore and the age and inexperience of Cooper Rush won't factor into who ultimately lands the team's backup quarterback job.
Three games into the preseason it has become clear that Dallas is going to have to make a choice, and the two factors that Linehan says will not impact the decision seem to be the only ones that would keep Moore as the back up.
With fantasy draft time on the near horizon, this could be the most important link of the day. We all want to dominate our fantasy leagues, and every bit of intelligence that can help do that is vital.
Elliott is appealing the suspension and has a hearing with an arbitrator on Tuesday, with the possibility of taking his case to federal courts after that, but let’s assume for the time being that he will sit out the first seven weeks. Especially with plenty of drafts coming up this weekend, owners need to figure out when the time is right to take the plunge on a player widely ranked third overall before his punishment was announced
Did I say that the fantasy football link was the most important of the day? Some of you might dispute that after the letters DCC come into play.
Once again CMT is back for another year of covering America’s Sweethearts, and the mothership gives us a quick preview.