This Thursday at 8 p.m. the Dallas Cowboys will take the field for the first time since their heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers. The game is part of this season’s Hall of Fame weekend which carries added significance for Dallas this time around. Jerry Jones, the team’s longtime owner and general manger, is being inducted into the Hall, so there is sure to be a large contingent of former Cowboys players, coaches and of course fans on hand in Canton, Ohio. Who cares if it’s only a preseason game, the Star is back and expectations are high for 2017.
Last season’s initial preseason game treated us to a sign of things to come, as rookie Dak Prescott put on a marvelous performance against the Los Angeles Rams. Who is going to shine come Thursday night this time around? Below you will find all of the logistics as well as a few players to keep your eye on when you watch the game.
Time: 8 pm EST
Place: Canton, Ohio
TV: Nationally televised on NBC
Opponent: Arizona Cardinals
Line: Pick Em, O/U – 37
Players To Watch
With most of the starters only expected to play a series, if that, here are five Cowboys that should see some extended action, with a chance to make their mark.
1. Chidobe Awuzie – “Chido” has been a standout thus far in training camp, recording two interceptions during the first two padded practices. Reports coming out of Oxnard continue to highlight his competitiveness and aggressive style of play. It will be interesting to see if he lines up solely at outside corner or all over the field, as their have been rumblings of him playing a little safety.
2. Ronnie Hillman – With Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden expected to see minimal if any game action this week, look for the trio of Alfred Morris, Rod Smith and newly acquired Ronnie Hillman to see the bulk of the workload. Hillman has had success in this league and a strong preseason performance could land him on the 53 man roster. Especially if he can find a way to contribute on special teams. Early reports suggest that Rod Smith is actually the team’s #3 back, which further adds to the intrigue of just where Alfred Morris fits in. Thursday night’s game should give us a good early indication.
3. Andy Jones / Noah Brown – There is a strong possibility of the Cowboys carrying six wide receivers this season. With Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Ryan Switzer and Brice Butler all safely on the roster, there is maybe one spot up for grabs. Andy Jones should have the leg up on rookie Noah Brown considering he spent all of last season learning the playbook and putting in work on the practice squad. However Dallas didn’t use a draft pick on Brown for nothing. I expect these two to battle it out all the way to the final cut down day.
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4. Charles Tapper – After missing all of his rookie season due to a back injury that had gone undetected since birth, Charles Tapper is ready to get after quarterbacks in 2017. Grossly misused at Oklahoma, Tapper came into the league as the fastest defensive end at the 2016 NFL Combine. One thing the Cowboys certainly lack is speed off the edge. Fans should be excited to see Rod Marinelli coach this young man up to be a potential demon coming around the corner.
5. Kellen Moore – Dak Prescott is only expected to play a series, if that, and recently signed Luke McCown may not be ready to see game action. That leaves Kellen Moore to be under center for essentially the entire game. Before the signing of McCown, Moore was sitting comfortably as the teams #2 QB, with no real competition behind him. Now, Moore must perform in order to keep that job. McCown has been in the league a long time for a reason, and is more than capable of being a solid back up quarterback. If the team decides to only keep two quarterbacks, Moore is going to have to solidify his status with his play this August.