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Cowboys Using Extra Game To Evaluate Young Talent In HOF Game

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Cowboys Using Extra Game To Evaluate Young Talent In HOF Game

The Dallas Cowboys are set to kick off their 2017 campaign tonight when they take on the Arizona Cardinals in the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. While the four game pre-season schedule has long been debated, the Cowboys and Cardinals will have to play this additional game. With that being said, don’t expect to see Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant and other starters to even step onto the field. 

The NFL Pre-Season has claimed many players due to injuries, so tonight, look for Cowboys head coach Jason Garret to use this extra opportunity to evaluate some of the younger talent on the roster. It’s been reported that second year (first full year) player Jaylon Smith won’t be playing in tonight’s game, but there are plenty of other intriguing names on the roster that should provide some entertainment and evaluating once the game kicks off. 

What To Watch On The Offense:

Kellen Moore

What a difference an injury makes? One has to wonder how things could have went had Moore not broken his ankle last year in training camp. Moore fell off the depth chart, and then Tony Romo was injured, thus clearing the way for the extraordinary season from Cowboys 2016 rookie quarterback, Dak Prescott. Moore once again finds himself in the QB2 slot, and he should get a good amount of attention in tonight’s game. While he has shown signs, many Cowboys fans feel as though he isn’t the answer if God forbid Prescott goes down to injury. 

Rico Gathers

What’s not entertaining about this guy? He was a basketball stud at Baylor, and despite not playing football in high school or college, decided to pursue it anyways. The Cowboys granted him that wish when they drafted him in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He does sometime let his emotions get the best of him, as was evident when he was kicked out of practice earlier this week. Jason Witten won’t be stepping foot on that field tonight, so why not give Gathers as much time as possible to show what he has to offer. 

“The pre-season is basically my time. I’m completely different than last year. I used to run like a basketball player. Now I run like a football player.”

I mean, if he can provide more of these types of highlights, what’s not to like. 

Andy Jones

While there has been a lot of talk surrounding one of the other young Cowboys receivers, Noah Brown, I think Jones is the guy to watch here. We’ve seen multiple highlight plays throughout this training camp that have provided all of us a chance to see the potential surrounding him. If you’re thinking you’ve heard this before, you are correct. There was a lot of intrigue surrounding Jones in training camp last year, but he just couldn’t transfer those plays when it really mattered. If he can manage to do so this time around, there is a legit chance he could make the 53 man roster. 

What To Watch On The Defense:

 Taco Charlton

Have to go with the Cowboys first round pick right? It was no secret that the ‘Boys had to go heavy on defense in the draft, and they did that right from the start. He got off to a rough start in training camp, but has shown signs of life as we have inched closer to the start of the season.  

If he can continue to work on his footwork and beat the men on the other side of the ball, he can gain even more momentum as we head towards opening night, September 10th. 

Charles Tapper

Apologies for another defensive end, but it’s no secret that the Cowboys need to find some help, especially early on in the season. David Irving is already out for the first four games due to suspension, so they will need some players to step up. Enter Charles Tapper. He was drafted in the fourth round last year, but after being diagnosed with pars defect, he never played one down for the ‘Boys. He’s been hard at work this off-season, especially since the Cowboys want him playing on the outside, rather than the inside, which is where he played when he was an Oklahoma Sooner. He’s had to trim down, but he hopes that all of his hard work will make it hard for the Rod Marinelli and the Cowboys coaching staff to look past him. 

“At the end of the day, I just want to give coach Marinelli a hard decision to make,” Tapper said, via Kevin Casas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Ryan Wilson founded Mavs Fanatic (Now Dallas Sports Fanatic) in January of 2012. He had a vision of starting something new and different. A place where fans of the Dallas Mavericks and fans of writing could come and be heard. A blog "Run By Fans For Fans". He is also a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago WhiteSox (His hometown team). Mavs Fanatic is now known as Dallas Sports Fanatic, a blog that covers all of the major Dallas pro sports teams.    

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