The Cowboys finished their last practice in San Antonio today and packed up for Dallas. They will be playing the Titans on Friday in their first "game" in the new stadium. The starters on both sides of the ball are expected to play at least two quarters and as much as three quarters. This game and the third preseason game will give all of us the best idea of what to expect out of the Dallas Cowboys this season. Here are the top 10 things I will be looking for on Friday.
1. No injuries. The Roy Williams scare over the weekend was a reminder of the depth concerns with the roster this season. Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins will be playing so I hope they are fully healed.
2. Tony Romo continuing to develop on-field chemistry with Roy Williams. All reports are that they are getting better by the day, but they need to gain confidence in game situations so they can get off to a good start in week 1 of the regular season.
3. The starting secondary doing a great job in pass coverage. We haven't seen them together on the field yet and the Titans don't have a dynamic passing game. The secondary should be able to shut down the passing game of the Titans. On another note in the secondary...the reserve players have got to show they are better than last week. They can't possibly be as bad as they looked.
4. The offensive line opening holes in the running game. The offense is supposed to be more run oriented this season but that can only happen if the line is opening holes for the running backs.
5. Felix Jones getting involved in the offense. We saw a glimpse of how Jason Garrett is going to use him in the first preseason game, but now Garrett gets a chance to show that he is committed to using Felix Jones this year.
6. The battle between Sam Hurd and Miles Austin. It is going to be won over the course of the rest of the preseason. It appears that Hurd is ahead right now, but Austin still has a chance to assert himself. Either way both guys will play a lot this year.
7. Isaiah Stanback vs. Kevin Ogletree. It looks like the 5th receiver spot is basically down to these two players. Stanback is starting to flash some ability, but can he make it through the next three preseason games without getting hurt?
8. Keith Brooking establishing himself in the defensive scheme. We didn't get to see much out of the starters in the first game so I didn't see Brooking do much outside of the sack he made. I am going to watch him more closely to see if he is reading and reacting like he needs to be.
9. Bobby Carpenter continuing to solidify his nickel linebacker job. He is looking more comfortable the more he is on the field. I am becoming more convinced by the day that all he needed was a chance to get regular playing time.
10. Improvement from all reserve players. My biggest worry after the first preseason game is the depth on the roster. All of the young players need to play with more confidence than last week. There are a lot of very young reserve players so I think they'll get better as they get more experience in game situations.