Saturday night, the Dallas Cowboys will play their “dress rehearsal” game against the Oakland Raiders. In the second to last game of the preseason, the Dallas Cowboys will play their starters for a good chunk of the game. With that said, Cowboys fans will get a good look at the team’s best players against a formidable opponent. Let’s examine what to expect in the matchup:
Dak Prescott Playing the First Half:
Just one year since he took over for Tony Romo at quarterback, Prescott is in a different situation this year. As the clear-cut starter and new face of the franchise, Prescott has been used sparingly this preseason. Last week, against the Indianapolis Colts, Prescott looked sharp in his first action of 2017. This week, he will look to continue that hot start against a potential AFC Contender in the Oakland Raiders. Prescott is anticipated to play in the first half of the contest, and will probably be seeing his last game action until the season opener against the New York Giants on September 10th. He will be looking to get some meaningful playing time, without risking any injury ahead of the season opener.
Rookies on the Sideline:
While Prescott made his preseason debut last week, several Dallas Cowboys have yet to debut in 2017. Rookie draft picks Ryan Switzer and Jourdan Lewis have yet to see preseason action, while Xavier Woods and Chidobe Awuzie have been sidelined by hamstring injuries in recent weeks. Against the Raiders, the team will be looking for their younger players to step up. These players may not have as big of an opportunity to make an impact if they are limited or rested against the Raiders.
Rushing to Make Cooper Rush the Backup:
While several rookies have yet to make their debut in Cowboys’ blue, one rookie has seemed to be the talk of the preseason. Undrafted Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush has impressed in his play this preseason. With his performance, and Kellen Moore’s uninspiring play, media and fans have anointed Rush as the new backup to Dak Prescott. However, he still faces hurdles in making the 53-man roster. For one, Moore still has supporters in the coaching staff for his veteran poise. However, Rush has looked superior on the field, and is making a case to be the new backup quarterback in Big D. Against the Raiders, he should have another opportunity to make the Cowboys make a tough decision. 14 years ago, the team had a tough decision to make on an undrafted quarterback out of Eastern Illinois. In 2017, they look destined to face another tough call on a Central Michigan gunslinger.
While many starters will play in the game, there are still position battles to watch against Oakland. While the team looks for improvement from their young draft picks, they will also look to get, and stay, healthy. The team will probably play their starters until they have seen enough positives. Additionally, the team will take their time in easing their young draft picks into action. With the season opener less than two weeks away, the team will be looking for a quick tune-up before their week one matchup against the New York Giants.