The Dallas Cowboys will take the field Sunday night against the Arizona Cardinals in the team’s third preseason game. The third preseason game is known around the NFL as the dress rehearsal game. It’s the final game that starters will play in before the games actually count. It’s an important game for both starters and players on the fringe of making the team. With that in mind here are three offensive, and three defensive players that need a good showing on Sunday night.
1. Joe Looney
With the news of Travis Frederick having been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre
syndrome, Joe Looney will get the start on Sunday night. There is no timetable for Travis Frederick’s return to the football field, and at this time the most important thing is for him to get healthy so he can live a healthy life long after his career is over. As far as on the field goes Joe Looney gets the first chance to fill the void left by one of the top Centers in the league. Looney needs to play well to ease the concerns of the Cowboys coaches and fans alike. If he doesn’t play well Dallas may be forced to look at options not currently on the roster.
2. Darius Jackson
While most starters play a lot in the third preseason game, one exception for Dallas will likely be Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke may not play at all and if he does it will probably be a series or two at most. That means other running backs will have an opportunity to impress. The RB with the most to gain is Darius Jackson. Jackson has been on the outside looking in when it comes to a roster spot for most of training camp. The assumption has been that rookie Bo Scarborough will land the job of the third back behind Zeke and Rod Smith. However after Scarborough’s poor showing last week and an injury that will likely keep him out on Sunday, Darius Jackson is in a prime spot to show coaches why he should possibly be the third RB or at least convince Dallas to keep all four players.
3. Rico Gathers
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a player on the roster bubble generate so much passion and discussion from a fan base, but that’s exactly what’s happened with tight end Rico Gathers. Many in Cowboys Nation are convinced that Rico Gathers should be the starter and the coaches just aren’t giving him a chance. It was almost breaking news earlier this week when Rico caught a pass during practice because it came while working with the first team offense. Whenever Rico gets on the field Sunday night he needs to make some plays. If he can do that maybe he can make his coaches believe in him as much as the Dallas fan base does. If he doesn’t play well he will likely be moving on to his next team.
4. Jourdan Lewis
When Dallas drafted Jourdan Lewis in the third round of the 2017 draft, it was viewed as a steal. Lewis played well as a rookie last season and most thought he’d take another step forward this season. However, so far that has not been the case. Lewis has not played great in the preseason so far. While I don’t believe Lewis is in danger of getting cut, he does need to have a good game in order to regain confidence in himself and ease the concerns of the fan base.
5. Kavon Frazier
It appears Xavier Woods will miss at least the season opener, and he could be out longer than that. Dallas is thin at Safety and it’s a real possibility that Jeff Heath and Kavon Frazier will be the duo that starts week one. Frazier needs to show on Sunday that he is up for the task of being a starter. If he doesn’t impress on Sunday Dallas may be forced to make another phone call to Seattle and see if they are finally ready to make a deal for Earl Thomas.
6. Kony Ealy
The defensive line battle has been an intriguing one throughout training camp. The defensive line has been one of the stronger units during camp. Because of this Kony Ealy finds himself on the bubble of making the roster. The Cowboys have had their eye on Elay since he came out of college and they finally got him this offseason. While it would be tough for Dallas to cut a player they have coveted for so long, the reality is they have to keep the best players. Sunday night is the night for Elay to show Dallas why they were right about him and why he deserves his spot on the opening day roster.
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