Brought to you by: Big Shucks
By Zach Walker
Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys
Thursday – September 1 – 7:00 p.m.
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Sooo… That F***ing happened. Ezekiel Elliott picks up a sweet block, Tony Romo has nothing downfield, rolls, he starts to slide, Cliff Avril jumps on a sliding Romo, and POOF! Romo, no-mo’. Okay, he can come back from this, but how can the Cowboys now plan for next year (because teams always plan for the future) when they have no clue on Romo’s future. Zeke looked like a tank, Morris has had a kick-ass pre-season, and despite the concussion, Dez looks like he’s back. Pack them up, and unwrap them for September 11. Along with about thirty other players. The fourth game is for the guys who, actually, have to leave it all on the field, because this is their last opportunity on camera for a year.
Five Players to Watch
#1: RB Darius Jackson: I won’t lie, I didn’t think much about Darius Jackson coming into training camp, given the amount of purposed horsepower the Cowboys had on roster post draft with Elliott, Morris, and McFadden. However, being available is a skill for longevity. With Elliott and McFadden being hampered with their scrapes, Jackson was the second back on the chart for the first two preseason games, and I think he showed out. He’s run hard, gutsy pile-driving style up-the-gut stuff, as well as versatility and vision to bounce it outside. Now, I’m not saying he’s played well enough to push McFadden out the door, but if a team were to make a run at McFadden, having a young guy like Jackson around to fill that third back spot will be easy, given his performance. He’ll likely be given most of the game Thursday, maybe some Dunbar sprinkled in, but I think Jackson is going to stick around.
#2: QB Jameill Showers: Showers needs to manage a good game on Thursday, to show progression of his game. Prescott is the man right now, and the Cowboys are going to be bringing a veteran in to back Dak up, that’s just simply logical. Showers is a team’s third quarterback, and realistically, he’ll likely never get to throw in anger in an NFL game (if he didn’t last year, then when?). He’s had moments where he’s looked good around pieces that weren’t playing their best. He’s had drops and poor protection, this is his game. I hate to site precedence, but I can remember seeing Matt Moore, at Texas Stadium playing in these fourth preseason games, and he’s made a career from it, so there is gravitas to this game for Showers. He needs a good game.
#3: WR Devin Street: To be honest, Devin Street needs a GAME badly, and even then, I still think he’d be the most expendable player that would maybe make the final 53. He had a touchdown last year, but also a really bad turnover in the opener against the Giants. Street needs to not mess around and attack every play, because they clearly like Brice Butler and Lucky Whitehead, more than they do Street.
#4: CB Anthony Brown: The young corner needs to get ready for the season, because the reality of the situation is, is that Brown is the team’s fourth cornerback. Not saying he has to stay out there the whole game, but getting him as many looks as he can handle is strengthening to his game. Personally, I’d be calling Brandon Browner right now, but for now, Brown just needs more reps to get ready for his own role in this season.
#5: DE Zach Wood: Bias choice here. I want Zach Wood to make this team, I enjoy seeing these SMU players at the next level. Zach Wood played at 290-ish in college, dropped to 255-ish, and then was asked to take on guards with a 60 pound weight advantage in favor of the other guy, and just “Yes Sir-ed” his way down to the 75 man roster. He’s got a sleeved card, being that he can long snap, but he’s a motor player, and we’ve seen what Marinelli can do with the types of players that have the “through the brick wall” mentality to their game, and I’d like to see a few series of Wood being disruptive.