The Dallas Cowboys will play their final preseason game of 2022 on Friday night, hosting the Seattle Seahawks in their first game at AT&T Stadium since their previous season came to a bitter end in the playoffs. Just like that last game, the Cowboys enter this one with plenty of questions left to be answered.
On Thursday, it was revealed that left tackle Tyron Smith suffered an avulsion fracture on his knee, sidelining him until December at the earliest. While Smith is undergoing surgery Friday morning, the Cowboys now have to figure out what their starting offensive line will be a week from now.
The Cowboys have been noncommittal on that solution thus far, and Friday night’s game likely won’t yield any answers either. The expectation is that rookie Tyler Smith, who’s been in a competition with Connor McGovern for the starting left guard spot all preseason, will slide over to left tackle, the position he played in college. But this Smith is dealing with an ankle injury of his own that, while not believed to be serious, is expected to keep him out of Friday’s game.
That almost certainly means we’ll see plenty of Josh Ball, who’s played nearly every snap through these first two preseason games and struggled mightily for most of it. Ball’s perception on this team has taken a huge hit, and the Tyron Smith injury has only worsened that. With chatter picking up around the Cowboys looking to bring in another tackle soon, Ball may very well be playing for his roster spot on Friday.
The offensive line isn’t the only area that the Cowboys will be looking for answers against the Seahawks, even if it’s the topic everyone will be talking about. One area to continue to monitor is the kicking spot. Lirim Hajrullahu was released in this last round of roster cuts, leaving Brett Maher as the only kicker on the roster. However, coaches have maintained that they could still tinker with the spot going forward. How Maher performs in this game could be a major factor in determining whether or not the team actually rolls with him in Week 1.
The Cowboys also still have questions about who their backup quarterback will be. Cooper Rush and Will Grier have been dueling each other for a while now, and Grier may have already won it if not for a minor groin injury that kept him out of the first preseason game. The expectation is that Grier will take the lion’s share of snaps under center Friday, and it seems like Mike McCarthy and company are giving him a perfect opportunity to lock down the QB2 job.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy wants Will Grier to get the bulk of the work at quarterback on Friday night, if his hamstring is okay— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) August 23, 2022
Things couldn’t be lining up more perfectly for Grier, either. Only three other teams have allowed more points than the Seahawks in these first two preseason games, Additionally, first- and second-string quarterbacks have been completing nearly 70% of their passes against the Seahawks in those games. In other words, Grier should be able to have a big night if he plays the way he has been in camp.
Overall, the Cowboys aren’t looking at playing many of their starters in this one. That’s largely been the case through the first two preseason games as well, but their approach may be even more cautious with this being the final game of the preseason.
It doesn’t sound like there will be any preseason work for Dak Prescott or most of the other Cowboys starters. Dallas will likely go with mostly reserves Friday night against Seattle, same as their first two preseason games— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 23, 2022
Still, that doesn’t mean this game won’t be worth watching. The Seahawks are still trying to figure out their starting quarterback, as they’re picking between Geno Smith and Drew Lock. According to head coach Pete Carroll, Smith will start Friday but Lock will also play a heavy amount of reps. It remains to be seen how many other starters will suit up for Seattle and for how long, but they’re expected to get more playing time than any of Dallas’ starters.
That sets up some good opportunities for the Cowboys defense to go against an offense that has plenty to prove still. While Dallas won’t see Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, DeMarcus Lawrence, or many other of their big names out there, this will still be a good chance to monitor where the defense is at overall. And with final roster cuts right around the corner, this will feature plenty of players making a last ditch effort to earn a roster spot.
Throughout the season, members of the BTB staff will be doing game picks through Tallysight. We decided to do a test run on many of the Week 3 preseason games. Below are our picks.