I've seen the debates running rampant over the last few days. The big question is whether playing the Dallas starters in the last preseason game is worth the risk. In most seasons I would say no. But after the awful showing by both the Cowboys' starting offense and defense Saturday night I think this season should be different.
You can say that it would be dumb to get someone hurt in the last preseason game before the season starts. And you would have a point. But can you honestly tell me that you believe the Cowboys are ready for a regular season game after watching the Houston game? Are you willing to sacrifice the first game of the season to protect against the small chance of an injury to a starter?
I just can't find a way to justify letting the starters sit after watching them trip all over themselves literally and figuratively last week. It is clear that the Cowboys have not found their rhythm on offense or defense yet. And it may only take a series or two to find it. The players can say they practice at the same speed as a game but until they show me the can translate their strong practice play into live game action then I don't really care how good practice is going.
Confidence plays a huge role in how a team performs. Right now the confidence of the Dallas Cowboys can not be good no matter what they are saying to the cameras. How can you be confident that you can score points when you can't protect the quarterback consistently and a ridiculous number of running plays are going for negative yards. How can the defense feel good about letting Houston go up and down the field against them even if Wade Phillips blames himself for not adjusting the defense at all during the game?
I say get all of the starters out there for at least a few series. If I were in charge I would tell the offense that they are going to play until they put the ball in the end zone. With the Dolphins likely to sit many of their starters the Cowboys will have a big advantage. And sure, even if the offense scores right away you can say it came against the Dolphins' backup players. That doesn't matter to me.
Success is a habit just like failure can become a habit. The Cowboys need to taste a little success on both sides of the ball before they head into the season opening game. Otherwise the Cowboys risk seeing another pitiful display of football in the season opener. I would hate to see the Cowboys lose the first game to the Redskins because they were too scared to play their guys for a few series in a preseason game. This is the NFL after all. You can't expect your team to improve if you only worry about playing it safe with injuries.