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Cowboys vs. 49ers: Five Cowboys under the microscope in tonight’s game

Here are five players that we should keep our eyes on in Cowboys first preseason game.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys will finally be on the field taking part in football activity tonight when they face off against the San Francisco 49ers. The one great thing about having one of the younger teams in the NFL is that there aren’t too many guys that are so established that they would be given an off day. Though we can assume that we won’t see much of the starters tonight, there are quite a few young guys fighting for positions on the roster. Here are the five Cowboys to keep an eye on tonight that will likely get significant playing time.

Charvarius Ward, CB, #40

Michael Sisemore: Ward has been on fire in the past four practices after having a slow start to training camp. As guys have come in and out of the rotation for various reasons, Ward has stepped into the spotlight recently. He came to the Cowboys from Middle Tennessee State, he’s got decent length and a nose for getting his hands on the ball. The first clip is of Ward defending the deep ball to Tavon Austin:

Ward did a nice job of sticking with Austin down the field though the ball could have been placed a little better. He would get another pass breakup against Lance Lenoir later in practice:

Ward’s best play came on a slightly under thrown pass to Michael Gallup, where he kept focus on the ball instead of playing the man like a lot of rookies would have done:

Tonight Ward will play a lot as one of the down-roster cornerbacks but it’ll be interesting to see if he can translate the teachings of Kris Richard to game action. It’s time to see if Ward can make a few plays in this preseason to secure a roster spot.

Antwaun Woods, DT, #64

DannyPhantom: The Cowboys didn’t draft a defensive tackle and they missed out on signing Terrell McClain, but part of that reason could be the faith they have with the guys already on the roster. With both Maliek Collins and David Irving out, it’s opened the door for some new guys to step in and strut their stuff. While most of us have been waiting for Jihad Ward or Datone Jones to make a splash in camp, it’s the surprise play of Antwaun Woods that has made the most noise. He’s had some heated battles with the Cowboys first-string offensive line, but how will he fare against someone else?

If he’s out there making plays in preseason action it could go along way when it comes to filling out this team’s depth on the interior defensive line. Watch out for no. 64 tonight!

Lance Lenoir, WR, #14

Cole Patterson: Lance Lenoir flew under the radar from OTA’s until training camp opened in Oxnard. The 2017 undrafted free agent worked and trained relentlessly on his game during the summer, even putting in work with Dak Prescott in Orlando.

The wide receivers room has been filled with competition, but Cedrick Wilson’s unfortunate injury has opened the door for Lenoir to sneak onto the 53-man squad.

Following a preseason in which he grabbed six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns in 2017, Lenoir has the opportunity to continue the momentum he has built in training camp> He needs to have a big month of August in these next four games to show the staff why he deserves to be on the active roster. What does he have in store?

Tyree Robinson, S, #23

Connor Livesay: A lot of the talk surrounding the safety position has mainly included Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and that guy up their in the Pacific Northwest. The one we may need to shift our focus to is UDFA Tyree Robinson. Robinson has played very good through three weeks of camp and will get his first crack at live game action tonight. Robinson has shown flashes of being a ballhawk, great range, and a very good cover safety. There is a lot to like about the former Oregon safety, and that’s exactly why he will be the one to focus on during the game against the 49ers.

Dorance Armstrong, DE, #74

One.Cool.Customer: Dorance Armstrong is probably not your typical under-the-radar guy, but he certainly flew under the radar in the draft, when ten other defensive ends were taken ahead of him before the Cowboys eventually picked him in the fourth round. And in Dallas he’s been overshadowed by the Randy Gregory story, Taco Charlton’s sophomore jump, the return of Charles Tapper, the Kony Ealy signing, Demarcus Lawrence’s contract and many other headlines about the Cowboys D-line.

On the recently released depth chart, he’s penciled in as a third-teamer, and that’s with Gregory not even on the chart. Yet despite all of that, he has quietly had a strong camp, even getting three nods for “Star of the Day” from the staff writers. Check out a quick reel on his camp performances:

As a third-stringer, he’ll probably get a lot of playing time tonight, likely teaming up with Charles Tapper as the edge rushers for much of the second half. And if the first two weeks of training camp are any indication, he’ll show up in a good way.

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