There are so many key offensive players out with injuries in the upcoming game against the Rams that my biggest fear is an injury to Tony Romo. I know the offensive line is finally starting to get pieced together but the starting center will still be out. So I really hope we don't see a whole lot of Tony Romo.
Jason Witten will definitely be out until at least the season opener against the Giants. The good news on Witten is that he won't need surgery. But he is still not allowed to do any physical activity until he is cleared by the doctors. The reports are that he has a 50-50 shot to play against the Giants. I would bet a lot of money that Witten will play against the Giants since he is one of the toughest players in the NFL.
John Phillips and James Hanna will get a lot of playing time again with Witten out. Hanna has been a pleasant surprise during the preseason. It really comes down to injuries again in this game. I think it is established that Phillips and Hanna can get the job done. Now they just need to survive the next two preseason games so they'll be there against the Giants.
It appears that Bruce Carter has the upper hand in his battle with Dan Connor for the second inside linebacker spot. But the battle isn't over. Carter seems a lot more athletic and does a better job covering receivers down the field. But Connor has a lot of experience that gives him an edge over Carter when it comes to knowing where to be and what to expect. Both guys will get playing time so it will be fun to watch them continue their battle.
Morris Claiborne got a little action against the Chargers but they really didn't challenge him much. I hope he gets a lot of playing time and I would love to see Sam Bradford repeatedly challenge him. Claiborne needs the work after missing the entire summer and about a week of training camp with injuries.
Kevin Ogletree needs to prove that he can consistently delivery performances like the one he had last week. He has the skill set to be the #3 receiver but he has always found a way to disappear over the last three seasons. Hopefully he has really turned the corner this season. Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris and Danny Coale will also be seeing a lot of action in the game with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant still out.
Was Jamize Olawale a flash in the pan last week? He sure looked like a big power back that the Cowboys can use in short yardage situations last week. He needs to show that he can consistently deliver performances like the one last week. And showing a little something on special teams would be a big boost to his chances of making the final roster.
I hope we get to see the entire starting defense on the field together. So far the #1 defense has been very impressive even while missing several starters. There are indications that the defense could be dominant this season but we have to remember that it is only preseason. We won't really know how much the defense has improved until they take the field in week 1 against the Giants.
As much as it seems like the Cowboys have been hit by the injury bug we need to remember how lucky the Cowboys have actually been. All of the key starters are still likely to be ready to play in the opening game outside of Jason Witten and even he has a good chance to play. At this point in the preseason the most important thing is for everyone to come out of the game healthy. That will be what I'll be most interested to see Saturday night.