Dallas Cowboys Preseason Game 1: Five Things

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Jul 31, 2014; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) carries the ball at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

So here we are, The Dallas Cowboys preseason game 1 is about to kick off. This means it is time for me to start the five things to watch for in the game. While Tony Romo will not be playing in the game there are still some other things that will help understand where the Cowboys stand at this point. Sure, there are a lot of injuries and that will affect some of the questions as well as we all know that in the preseason teams do not show a lot of their playbook. So on Thursday have a seat and watch for these five things.

1. Physicality of the Defense - This offseason has not gone well on the defensive side of the ball when it comes to injuries. However, there has been a lot of fight on the defense. Dez Bryant and J.J Wilcox and Terrance Williams and Morris Claiborne have both gotten into a little skirmish with each other. This bodes well for the defense if they can keep that fire. They will have to learn to control it, but if the defense can get more physical then it should be better than last season. If they can’t then it will mean more penalties and could be worse.

2. Running Game? - I put a question mark because while all signs point to the Cowboys running the ball more, there has been little written or known about it up to this point. DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar make a pretty good 1-2 punch. Where the interest should be is who will be backing them up. If the Cowboys are in fact going to run more it will be all eyes on the backfield and how well the offensive line can block. If they can get the ball rolling on the ground it will at least show they are more committed.

3. Who is in and who is out - Usually in the first game of the preseason is where you will start finding who are the backups. The one good thing about some of the injuries is it will allow the backups to play more. So far I am looking at B.W. Webb and whether he continues to get burned or if it is because our players know him that well. The other people of interest beyond the RB and CB positions are at LB and DL. I would look at people like Terrance Mitchell at CB, DeVonte Holloman at LB, Davon Coleman and Ken Bishop on the DL, and Ryan Williams at RB. I would also like to see how J.C. Copeland does, he had some huge blocks on the LBs in practice.

4. Special Teams - This part of the NFL game really doesn’t get talked about enough. With the extra point being moved to the 15 yard line for preseason it will interesting to see how Dan Bailey does, although he has had an excellent training camp so far. On returns there are some new faces I would like to see out there returning some kicks. Devin Street is flat out fast. Having him return kickoffs could be a game changer. Watch the return game, it could be a huge part of the success or failure of the Cowboys this season.

5. Playcalling - I know, I already said it will be pretty vanilla. What I am talking about here is the run versus pass balance on offense, and the coverage and blitzes on defense. If the Cowboys look to improve on defense they must get to the QB. Starting this season on the right foot with some well timed blitzes and close coverage plays will show they are committed to getting to the QB. On offense if they are trying to force the run game more than it should open up the pass game and give the team a more lethal offense. Also clock management has to improve, it has been the bane of Jason Garrett.

So there it is, five things to watch for in preseason game one. What do you all think? What will you be watching for in the game? Let me know below.

So here it is, the first song of the season. I did this last year before and after the games, and people seemed to like it, so I will continue it this season. Of course the question is “Are You Ready” for some football? So the first song of the year is AC/DC – Are You Ready?

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