Dallas Cowboys: 3 Things to watch during Cowboys vs San Francisco 49ers: Preseason 2018

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys in action against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys in action against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The NFL preseason is upon us and tonight we will see the Dallas Cowboys take on the San Francisco 49ers. Here are 3 things to watch heading into tonight.

The Dallas Cowboys will take on the San Francisco 49ers in their first serving of preseason action. This game will likely give both teams an opportunity to take a close look at their second and third string players.

For the Cowboys, in particular, that is important as there are several position battles still occurring which could change the depth chart pretty dramatically. With that in mind let’s take a look at three of the most important things to watch during the Cowboys first preseason performance.

Mike White VS Cooper Rush for the backup role

The Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback position is wide open as Cooper Rush has done nothing to really solidify his hold on the role. Mike White was selected fairly high for a team who already has a franchise quarterback (Dak Prescott).

White will likely push Rush for the role as it could be tough for the Cowboys to keep both players on their final 53 man roster. So far Rush has had his good and bad moments at camp, however, he has been more consistent than White who is still just a rookie after all. 

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White received higher praise coming out of college than Rush and is expected to pick up the system fairly quickly. The first preseason game will likely be the most important in terms of setting the table for what fans and the front office should expect from this group of backups. Is there a quarterback here who could push Prescott for the starting job?

Not a chance, however, there will be a pretty tantalizing competition going on for who will be waiting in the wings. If I had to make a prediction about playing time, Rush should get the entire first half as there is no need to put Dak Prescott out there unnecessarily.

White will likely get the first crack at second half reps but I expect another quarterback to relieve him prior to the end of the game. Dalton Sturm, who is the Cowboys fourth string signal caller will likely get a few reps in the fourth quarter as the game is winding down.

While this may not be the flashiest position battle, it could have the most serious consequences down the road.

Running back battle between Darius Jackson and Bo Scarborough

The majority of carries this season should go to Ezekiel Elliott, however, we saw the importance of having a quality backup last season. The guys behind Elliott are important for a number of reasons, but mainly because they will carry the load if anything were to happen to the Cowboys franchise running back.

The group consists of Rod Smith, Darius Jackson, Trey Williams, and Bo Scarbrough all players who can contribute in their own special way. This battle is a bit more exciting at this stage than the war at wide receiver as the running backs should get a bit more work in this game with the ones than most of the receivers. Smith is locked in as the primary backup, however, beyond that is anyone’s guess.

Jackson and Williams have both been cut and re-signed by Dallas in the past, Scarbrough is the only draft pick battling for a roster spot. Now Jackson is a former sixth-round pick but the team seemingly moved on from him a few seasons ago. Now he is back competing with this year’s 7th round pick for the primary backup role.

Scarbrough is known for two things, his punishing running style and just how injury prone he has been in college. So far he has not done anything in camp to separate himself from Jackson or Williams.

In fact, Jackson has jumped him on the depth chart, whether that was to light a fire under Scarbrough or just as a veterans courtesy is unknown. One thing is certain the former Alabama back will have to create some distance between himself and Jackson if he wants to make the final 53.

Special teams questions

Some of these questions will be on every Dallas Cowboys fans mind heading into 2018. Can Dan Bailey figure out why he struggled mightily at the end of 2017? Can the Dallas Cowboys find a consistent and capable return man? How will the Dallas Cowboys special teams look after basically being overhauled?

A lot of those questions will be answered in the upcoming weeks and potentially tonight. Bailey will attempt to get back on his A-game and show the consistency he has been known for. The Cowboys do not really have a ton of competition in camp to push Bailey but eyes are definitely on him to produce.

Finding a return man has been a concern for the Dallas Cowboys for a few seasons however they may have several currently on the roster. Receivers Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin are both used to returning kicks and creating big plays.

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Even players like Jourdan Lewis are looking to get a shot at fielding some punts so the competition should be considered wide open. It will be interesting to see who the Dallas Cowboys decide to go with as a returner as there is some serious talent on the roster.

  • Published on 08/09/2018 at 21:03 PM
  • Last updated at 08/09/2018 at 21:03 PM