Brought to you by: Big Shucks
By Zach Walker
Arizona Cardinals vs Dallas Cowboys
Thursday – August 3 – 7:00 p.m.
Fawcett Stadium – Canton – Ohio
The Cowboys are playing this game for two very good reasons. First, the man who owns and operates the team is being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Jerry Jones. And second, the world wants to see the Dallas Cowboys as much as possible. Now this being the first preseason game, everyone is starting from a cold position, training camp has been slightly underway and there aren’t going to be a ton of names that people will recognize running around on Thursday evening, so I’ll highlight the names that people need to know before this first preseason game gets underway.
The Five Cowboys to watch for:
1: LB Jaylon Smith – The debut of Jaylon Smith… will not be on Thursday night against the Cardinals. I doubt it’ll be a week later either, but that’s just part of the process. They won’t rush him into pointless contact, not saying those repetitions aren’t valuable, but in-house, those Monday through Saturday reps on and off field are what the Cowboys are playing off of. Smith has been the focal point for peering eyes, and he should be, he’s extremely vital to the operation, hence the “hold him back” mentality, but once he’s going to be let off of medical leash, he’s going to be great.
2: WR Noah Brown – With Ryan Switzer dealing with a hamstring injury, and Lucky Whitehead being misidentified and expelled, there’s a lot of “step-up” room for a wide receiver to accept some spotlight. I want this Noah Brown to be a gem. He’s got Dez Bryant size and ability. Coming from where he came from, Ohio State, he could bloom into a Cris Carter-hands dominator. That’s obviously a WAYS off, but the physique is there in potential.
3: TE Rico Gathers – Another member of the pass-catching group for the Cowboys. The Cowboys have the parts and the man to put them together to make a super nightmarish weapon. Rico Gathers measurements are “create-a-player” outstanding. Six foot eight inch, and two hundred and seventy-five pounds, of former rebounding prowess. The man molding the clay is Mike Pope, the best tight ends coach in the NFL, and there actually isn’t an argument that can be formed from that statement. Gathers can be a force if he can get it going.
4: CB Marquez White – Anthony Brown went from LATE round pick to a starter by the end of his rookie season. There’s a LOT more competition this year for White to duplicate what Brown did, but with Chidobe Awuzie likely not playing in this opener and Jourdan Lewis not playing from injury, White has game reps in front of him in this preseason. White was a big time player for the Seminoles, and I expect him to stick around when 53 comes around, and that’s because I know of how effective of a player that White can be. NFL cornerback is tough, maybe the hardest and most adverse position in football, and the Cowboys drafted some tough hombres.
5: S Xavier Woods – Woods had a lot of Cowboys’ fans and beat writers excited about him when he was selected. I haven’t heard much from Woods during this early portion of training camp, but that’s no problem. Woods is a safety. Safeties need targets to attack, and coaches in shallow August aren’t going to tolerate a rookie going all ‘friendly fire’ on teammates. But against the Cardinals, the safeties can lay some hits on and feel zero guilt about it.
For the Arizona Cardinals:
1: QB Trevor Knight – This being heavy Big-12 country, most college football fans will recognize Trevor Knight’s name from Thursday. The Oklahoma and Texas A&M quarterback will likely get the extended look from Bruce Arians, and given who is backing up the aged Carson Palmer, that being ‘Dancin’ Drew Stanton and Blaine ‘Insert joke here’ Gabbert, I’d say that Knight has a pretty solid chance of climbing the depth chart this offseason.
2: LB Scooby Wright – Scooby Wright knows what Jaylon Smith has been going through, he’s walked the same path. Injuries to his knee, Wright tumbled on draft weekend all the way to Cleveland in the seventh round a year ago. He’s back in the state in which he played his college ball, Wright can latch on as a sure-fire fan favorite for those with a short memory, and will catch the eyes of coaches with the way that he’ll be around the ball on every snap.
Prediction: Cardinals 20 – Cowboys 13