The Dallas Cowboys kick off their first pre-season game tomorrow night in the Mile High City as they take on the Denver Broncos at Empower Field. While many of the starters such as Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb are not expected to play, the first pre-season game is generally a good barometer of where some of the new players on the roster (especially rookies) stand with respect to their growth in training camp. Here are a few key things to watch for on Saturday night:
The Front 5 (on both sides of the ball)
The Cowboys once again drafted an offensive lineman in the first round of the draft, and it will be crucial for Tyler Smith to get as many reps as he can as he looks to earn a starting spot. With reports out of training camp surrounding inconsistency across the offensive line, the Cowboys are hoping to see improved play from center Tyler Biadasz and Terrence Steele. How much they play in the first pre-season game is yet to be determined, but reserves like Josh Ball and Matt Famiok have a chance to cement their places on the 53-man roster as well.
As for the defensive line, the depth chart shows Dorance Armstrong as the starting DE. After losing Randy Gregory, Armstrong seemingly beat out free agent acquisition Dante Fowler and veteran Tarell Basham for the starting spot opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. Rookie Sam Williams is listed as the third-string defensive end and has a chance to work himself into being a positional rusher for a much needed group.
The Wide Receiver Battle
Of all the Cowboys rookies, only third-round selection Jalen Tolbert is listed as a starter. With injuries to Michael Gallup and James Washington, Tolbert has a chance to showcase his skillset and earn a starting job along side star wideout CeeDee Lamb. Other receivers such as Dennis Houston, TJ Vasher and KaVonte Turpin should see ample playing time as well. The Cowboys are seemingly desperate for playmaking on the outside with their injury situation, so it will be interesting to see which receivers propel themselves into the core group that will make the team.
The Kicker Struggles
Lirim Hajrullahu will get the first opportunity out of training camp to win the starting kicker job for the Cowboys. The kickers have been probably the most erratic group in training camp, with no one outright seizing the job. In fact, the Cowboys have already cut one kicker (Jonathan Garibay) and brought in a familiar face for competition (hello again, Brett Maher). The question remains whether Hajrullahu will be able to win the job in the pre-season or if the Cowboys will have to look outside for an eventual replacement.
- Six Underrated Heroes as the Texas Rangers Celebrate First World Series Title
- How do the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks Match Up in the 2023 Fall Classic?
- Texas Rangers bound for World Series vs Diamondbacks in a euphoric state
- Previewing a Texas-Sized ALCS Between Rangers and Astros
- Despite a shaky finish, the Rangers still have the same focus on postseason success as they go to Tampa for the Wild Card series