After a lackluster showing in game one, the Dallas Cowboys now head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers. In game one, the Cowboys’ depth had more questions than answers, and while it wasn’t all bad (we saw you Daron Bland) there have been some concerns among the Cowboys faithful.
With the first set of cuts coming (or having been done at the time this gets published) and more to follow, we look at how to watch here in week two of the preseason and specifically against the Chargers in game two.
A quick recap of game one goes a little like this:
- the offensive line was shaky with a ton of penalties (regardless if they were all warranted),
- the QB depth was lacking,
- the wide receivers have some questions,
- the defensive line early looked good,
- the secondary has a few depth pieces with some concerns as well,
- the kicking game is still unknown,
- and the Cowboys have a lot of running backs.
Sure there was more to it, but that is a quick summary to prepare us for this week of practice. With the starters probably not playing much, if at all, in the game, there is still a lot to pay attention to.
With game two of the Dallas Cowboys preseason about to be upon us, what can fans look at to bring some clarity.
The first position group I believe everyone will be watching is the offensive line. With a very shaky outing in game one and a lot of talk all offseason about the position, the line is a position group with very little faith by the vast majority of fans.
It does seem like they are a better group at run blocking, but if the Cowboys are going to want to make a Super Bowl, they have to get better at pass protection. Joe Philbin has been a significant concern and with a run of penalties last year and in game one, the line’s performance is under scrutiny. With Tyron Smith‘s health in question, there only seem to be more questions than answers.
The next group I think everyone is looking at is wide receiver. While Jalen Tolbert didn’t play poorly, his inexperience did show its head a few times during game one. Michael Gallup is surely missing games, and probably the first month at a minimum, who starts along with CeeDee Lamb is a bit of a mystery, although it seems Noah Brown has the inside track.
Simi Fehoko has played really well thus far, Dennis Houston has turned some heads, and the development of Tolbert and Turpin is something everyone is watching. With a lack of experience beyond Lamb and Brown, the wide receiver group will need as much help as it can get.
If the receiver corps can’t come together quickly or as planned, the Cowboys will probably have to try and run more. They have recently said the third running back will get more snaps this year, so it does beg the question of how much will they run.
Malik Davis had a good game one, but Aaron Shampklin did make his name known with the few touches he got as well. The third running back is up for grabs and without a fullback the Cowboys could keep more than three if they really do plan to run more (as much as many hate this idea, they do seem content on trying it).
We could easily say the kicking game is something to watch, but that seems way too obvious. So instead we will focus on the secondary depth…
Nahshon Wright and Kelvin Joseph had terrible games against the Broncos and Joseph is now being talked about as a possible surprise cut. With the top two corners locked in (Trevon Diggs and Anthony Brown), the rest of the group needs to be shaken out and with two games left, this game could go a long way to answer that.
Daron Bland played really well in game one and if he continues to show out, he could push for the CB3 position.
There is still plenty to watch if the starters don’t play. Quarterback depth, defensive line depth, safety depth, linebacker depth, and tight end depth are all position groups that are far from answered.
While it seems we have answers for a lot of the starters (except maybe the final offensive line), a better performance from the second and third-string guys is needed. Let’s just hope it is a better overall showing than game one.