The Cowboys face the Arizona Cardinals in their third preseason game. Though there will be some starters taking a seat for this game, it’s still significant for a handful of guys on the roster. We had the front page writers give us some input and here are five Cowboys that will be under the microscope this week:
Michael Gallup, WR
David Howman: Michael Gallup is my player to watch. He’s not in danger of losing a roster spot by any means, but the rookie has been impressing lately, so much so that Jerry Jones expects him to get a lot of work in Week 1. Twice this week in practice, Gallup was the man of the day with plays like this:
Michael Gallup is clearly Dak Prescott's #️⃣1️⃣ receiver— Yahoo Sports NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) August 23, 2018
Over/under: Gallup makes #Cowboys fans forget about Dez Bryant before the midway point of the season
: @dallascowboys pic.twitter.com/Rd9LKMn9TG
I don’t know how many series he’ll play against the Cardinals, but it seems like he’ll at least get some opportunities to go up against Patrick Peterson, one of the best cornerbacks in the league. It should be a fascinating matchup, and I look forward to seeing how the rookie handles such a stout defender.
Randy Gregory, DE
DannyPhantom: Last week I picked Taco Charlton because I wasn’t sure of the workload that Randy Gregory was going to get. It turned out he got 10 reps and you could tell he was overly anxious to make them count.
I think that's the last we'll see of Randy Gregory (@RandyGregory_4) tonight. So, here's each of his snaps.— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) August 19, 2018
Won't show in the stat sheet, but I liked how he looked in the pass rush. #Cowboys #CowboysNation #CINvsDAL pic.twitter.com/XSOyheGOEi
This week, look for Gregory to get a lot more reps and be a little more controlled in his movement. Expected to start on the right side, Gregory will have an opportunity to see where he is at. He’s gets off the snap super quick, but so far the tackle has been able to slow him down just enough, but he’ll start figuring things out. Can he get his first preseason sack before DeMarcus Lawrence does? Maybe, but Tank has a little message for his edge-rushing partner in crime.
DeMarcus Lawrence asked about the ceiling for him and Randy Gregory rushing the passer from opposite ends: "He better get there faster. Tell him that."— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 24, 2018
Mike White, QB
Tom Ryle: The fifth-round pick has not done as well as we had hoped, and needs to do a lot to prove he is worth keeping on the 53-man roster. The good news is that with the patchwork offensive line, the staff is probably going to give him the bulk of the work in this game (and the next). White needs to show better pocket awareness and he must understand that you need to get the ball out much quicker in the NFL:
Hi Dalton Schultz... Bye Mike White pic.twitter.com/uq8y1F1fGj— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) August 22, 2018
Giving White the reps will both protect Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush, and give them a lot of video to evaluate White. He will undoubtedly be under a lot of pressure, and may have a very hard time making the passing game work, but if he can show something under what may well be extreme duress, then he has a chance to avoid the practice squad.
Kadeem Edwards, OG
Michael Sisemore: Nothing that we’ve seen from the backup offensive linemen on this roster gives me any positive feelings knowing the current state of the unit. Zack Martin assures everyone that he’ll play week one but bone bruises can turn serious. Travis Frederick is out indefinitely and has no timetable for return. I feel fine with Joe Looney plugging in at center for a while. However, now that Looney is a starter, the Cowboys need to find a backup guard and backup center. Kadeem Edwards just hasn’t been getting the job done, if he had to start, that severely compromises this unit even further:
I'm going through some of the backup offensive lineman snaps from the Bengals game. THREAD— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) August 22, 2018
Andrew Billings blew this play up pretty badly working against Kadeem Edwards. pic.twitter.com/4pISZYfTTU
I’ll be looking to see if Edwards can show any kind of improvements from his first two outings. Can he help protect the right side of the line long enough for Mike White to find an open man? Can he block on the second level so that these running backs have a chance? Edwards has a big opportunity over the next two weeks with Zack Martin getting rest. Right now, it just seems much more likely that the Cowboys will be trying to pull off a trade for offensive line depth at roster cuts in a week’s time.
Jihad Ward, DT
Michael Strawn: I’m looking to see how Jihad Ward performs. He was expected to be a major contributor in the defensive tackle rotation but now I’m not sure he even makes the cut to 53.
Former #Raiders DI Jihad Ward has earned a 58.1 defense grade across 40 preseason snaps, ranking 71st among qualifiers at his position.— Austin Gayle (@AustinGayle_PFF) August 22, 2018
Not sure why DAL would cut Ward when he's already in midseason form, tbh. https://t.co/63oIMQdaNa
With Tyrone Crawford seeing time inside, the emergence of Antwaun Woods, and the return of Maliek Collins that leaves only a single spot for the fourth defensive tackle. This feels like Datone Jones, Brian Price and Ward are all fighting for that last spot. There’s also Lewis Neal and Daniel Ross as dark horses. Ward is going to need to step up and differentiate himself to make the final roster.