The Dallas Cowboys will play a football game on Saturday. Those are sweet words.
It’s just the preseason, but after wandering around the desert of the offseason, nobody needs the most delicious meal of all time. We’re good with some saltine crackers and apple juice, man. Food is food at this point.
Football will be football too, although in many ways it won’t look like the Cowboys we’re expecting to seriously compete in 2019. Jason Garrett effectively ruled Zack Martin out of the game in San Francisco on Wednesday, and it’s unlikely that we’ll see much if any from players like Dak Prescott, Leighton Vander Esch, so on and so forth.
Instead we’ll be focused on players that are still either carving out their roles or trying to earn one altogether. Here are 10 players for you to keep tabs on against the 49ers.
If you’ve got Pro Football Hall of Famer Gil Brandt on your side, you’re probably doing alright for yourself.
Can't stop thinking of how impressive Tony Pollard looked while I was in Oxnard for 2 days. Running style reminds me of Lenny Moore (Google if you're under 40). I know Cowboys want to sign Zeke, but they have great insurance in Pollard. Either way, he'll be involved this year. pic.twitter.com/hnpxmQaPew— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) August 7, 2019
Tony Pollard’s role on the Cowboys has been under an even larger microscope given Ezekiel Elliott’s current holdout. Expectations of him were already very high, especially with creativity on the way from Kellen Moore, and people are going to want to see it.
The Cowboys have Zack Martin on ice as mentioned, but they have a fantastic rookie on their offensive line, and I’m not talking about Connor McGovern.
Dallas managed to sign Mitch Hyatt when he went undrafted. Many have already penciled him on on the team’s eventual 53-man roster, let’s see how he handles NFL defensive linemen.
Cedrick Wilson, Jalen Guyton, Jon’vea Johnson
You may be particularly interested in this choice if you were a previous Lance Lenoir truther and are in search of a new pet cat. It seems like the Cowboys have five wide receivers effectively set (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, and maybe Noah Brown) which means at most one spot is up for grabs.
If there is a sixth receiver (or a fifth ahead of Brown) it’s going to be one of these guys. Which one can separate themselves with preseason highlights that will live on forever?
There seems to be a general understanding that Jason Witten looks better in his return and that Blake Jarwin is definitely somebody who could see legitimate time as the team’s top tight end. What about Dalton Schultz, though?
It’s possible that the Cowboys only keep three tight ends (the Rico Gathers project finally ended this week) and Schultz is clearly number three on that list. He was among the Cowboys I talked to during my time in Oxnard and he emphasized just how much more confident he is with things in his second year as opposed to being a rookie with so many things thrust upon him all at once.
He looks good. Don’t forget about him. Plus as a Stanford guy San Francisco is awfully close to home.
It’s still surprising to me how little the first pick that the Cowboys made is talked about. Obviously Hill wasn’t a first-round pick, but with Juan Thornhill having great days at Kansas City Chiefs training camp people want to see a lot.
This is Hill’s first real action in the NFL. Hopefully he can make the most of it.
Jerry Jones raved about Jackson following the blue and white scrimmage, he’s had himself a nice couple of days out in Oxnard. With injuries at defensive end there are currently opportunities for younger players to impress with suddenly available snaps. Jackson has that chance.
Taco Charlton is a wildcard at defensive end as it’s hard to imagine what the Cowboys would do with him if someone like Joe Jackson truly was more impressive. Jackson is going to have to fight for a spot on this 53-man roster, and that fight starts on Saturday.
There is a strong hive in support of Queiro here at BTB, but with so much depth at linebacker it’s hard to envision anybody that’s on the bubble finding a way to make the team. A herculean effort from somebody so many believe in is the right answer to that problem.
Queiro is a sleeper pick of many to ultimately make the final 53, and he’s had a couple of good days out at camp. The reality though is that he’s going to need much more than camp to impress the coaches enough, can he take advantage of his opportunities in the preseason?
There was talk during last year’s preseason that the Cowboys lightly shopped Lewis (they ultimately traded Charvarius Ward). With Byron Jones on PUP he’s had chances at training camp that he might not have, but it’s not like he’s fighting for a roster spot. He’s fighting for playing time.
If Lewis were to play like the player that many believe he is, then the Cowboys would have a hard time denying him opportunities in the regular season. Of course, having four really good corners isn’t exactly a bad problem to have, maybe great play from Lewis would only accentuate that.
The Cowboys might be a little wobbly at the kicker position. Last year during the preseason we saw Maher take the job away from Dan Bailey, but could this year’s preseason be his undoing?
It’s not like the Cowboys will be able to simulate game-winning situations in the preseason, but with it being the first game all eyes will be on Maher to see how he handles any sort of kicking duties. I’m already nervous.