The Cowboys finally get a shot to go against a live opponent Thursday night. While the scrimmage over the weekend helped to show some obvious strengths and weaknesses we really don't know much about the team until they face another team. I know that people like Witten, Romo, Ware, Ratliff and some of the other proven veterans will be ready for the regular season. But there are a lot of new starters on both sides of the ball to watch. And several of the rookies who have shined in camp get a chance to show up what they can do. Here is what I'll be watching for:
1. Does Tyron Smith look like the real deal?
2. Is there any chance that David Arkin can start at left guard in week 1 of the regular season?
3. How much of an upgrade is Abram Elam at safety?
4. Is there enough depth at cornerback on the roster?
5. Is Sean Lee ready to be the permanent starter at inside linebacker?
6. This will be the first of probably four weeks in the battle for the place kicker job. Will David Buehler or Dan Bailey take the lead in the battle?
7. Has Barry Church progressed from last season?
8. Does Dez Bryant look like he knows the offense better than last season?
9. Is John Phillips' knee 100%?
10. Could Lonyae Miller really make Tashard Choice expendable?
11. Is Brandon Williams finally ready to provide some depth at outside linebacker?
12. Is Shaun Chapas going to take the fullback job from Chris Gronkowski?
13. Is Dwayne Harris good enough to make a contribution this season?
14. Is Kevin Ogletree ready to step into the #3 receiver role or do the Cowboys need to go looking in free agency?
15. Does Jon Kitna have enough left in the tank to fill in for Romo if needed again?
16. How much of the new defense is installed?
17. Is the defense causing confusion and forcing the issue with the opposing offense?
18. Who is going to return kickoffs this year?
19. Does the team look more physical this season?
20. Does the team look more disciplined this season?
Coming up with a list of 20 questions was really easy. And I could have kept going. That isn't necessarily a good thing. It means there are a lot of questions to be answered. We really don't know how good or bad this year's team can be yet. But this first preseason game will be the first true indicator of what we might see in the regular season. It will be fun to watch.