Cowboys: How To Watch Preseason Game One

Aug 1, 2016; Irvine, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Arjen Colquhoun (36) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2016; Irvine, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Arjen Colquhoun (36) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys first preseason game is tomorrow. Winning isn’t the important thing, but there is a way to watch the game.

With preseason Game 1, the Dallas Cowboys start their march toward their goal of a Super Bowl. In preseason, the outcome isn’t the important thing, ask the Lions about the year they went 4-0 in the preseason and followed it up with 0-16 in the regular season.

The big thing about the preseason games is about depth and timing. So the question is how does one watch a preseason game? Glad you asked, here are some tips:

Special Teams

Let’s start with special teams since they will start the game. The first thing to look for is the coverage teams. Who seems to be around the ball, who is making tackles, who blocks well for returns, and who has solid and consistent returns. How someone handles the ball on returns will also play a key roll on if they will stick around to make the final 53.

The kickers and long snapper are all sure bets unless there is an injury, but a lot can be seen on how depth will shake out due to special teams. It is the key to determining who will stick around and who won’t. Watch for someone to try to make a name for themselves in the return game to lock up either a wide receiver or running back position.

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On offense a lot of the play-calling will be what is called “vanilla.” There won’t be a lot of adjustments or wrinkles in the offensive sets or play calling, however there is still a lot to look for in the game.

The biggest keys will be timing of the offense as a whole. Watching to see how Tony Romo is with his timing with Dez Bryant and crew will show how well he is recovering from his latest injuries. The timing of the throws by all of the quarterbacks will be a key to see what depth could look like.

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In the run game, how offensive linemen open up holes for the RB corps will be huge. Communication along the offensive line will be a key to watch for and how they cover their blocks. All of this will help the running backs show what they have in terms of finding lanes and exploding through holes.

There won’t be a lot of openings in the total depth of the running backs, but watching how they make reads and hit the holes will be the tell-tale sign of where they are in the preseason.


On defense, there will be a lot more to watch for in terms of depth. The first and most obvious thing to look for is who has moves to get to the quarterback. While again, the playcalling will be fairly vanilla, simple pass rushing skills need to be on display. Since this might be the biggest question facing the Cowboys defense, anyone who can get pressure has a solid chance to make the final roster.

The secondary and how well the cover skills are will be the second biggest thing to look for during the game. How the cornerbacks play and how safeties react will be paramount when evaluating the potential depth on the Cowboys this season.

The answers could come down to who performs better on the special teams, but this is where players will need to start to separate themselves.

Remember, watching the game isn’t about the outcome in preseason. It is about evaluating talent and depth. A lot will be told on how the Cowboys view the backup QB position once this game is over. If there is some movement toward either a free agent or a trade, then what they saw, or didn’t see, in Dak Prescott or Jameill Showers. Now we all wait to finally see the Cowboys play this Saturday.