I thought this day would never get here!
The Dallas Cowboys will host the Denver Broncos tonights at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Kick-off is at 7:30 PM CST and will be broadcast live in the Cowboys local viewing area or re-broadcast on Friday on the NFL Network .
Updated Injury Report
C Andre Gurode
Placed on PUP list
LB Bruce Carter
Placed on non-football injury list
RB DeMarco Murray
About one week, placed on non-football injury list
RB Tashard Choice
About one week
LB Keith Brooking
About one week
WR Teddy Williams
K Kai Forbath
Placed on non-football injury list
CB Terence Newman
Five to six weeks
G Montrae Holland
CB Mike Jenkins
Limited but practicing
NT Jay Ratliff
WR Titus Ryan
What To Expect Tonight
Don’t expect quarterback Tony Romo and most of the regulars to get more than one or two series against the Broncos tonight, but it will be great just to see our guys all suited up and on the field at Cowbys Stadium.
There are plenty of rookies in training camp hoping to win spots on the opening week roster so expect to hear plenty of new names, many of which we’ve highlighted in the last two months here on LSS. Players who should log plenty of time include running backs DeMarco Murray and Lonyae Miller, wide receivers Raymond Radway and Lyle Leong, linebackers Alex Albright and Orie Lemon, and offensive linemen, Tyron Smith and David Arkin.
For Jason Garrett, tonight’s his first preseason game as the Cowboys head coach and he will set the barometer for what he expects from his players on the field in terms of focus, determination and attention to detail.
Rob Ryan also debuts as defensive coordinator and will look to fine tune his new defensive schemes which some players are still struggling to adapt to.
Five Things To Look For This Pre-season
Charean Williams of the Star-Ledger with a good primer on what we should look for.
1. Return of Romo and Dez
Tony Romo hasn’t played since breaking his left clavicle in an Oct. 25 game against the New York Giants. He missed the last 10 games. Romo and Dez Bryant played only six games together, with Bryant catching 18 passes from Romo for 211 yards and a touchdown. Bryant was a candidate for offensive rookie of the year honors last season before breaking his right fibula while returning a kickoff in a Dec. 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts.
2. Blocking for Romo
The Cowboys released right tackle Marc Colombo and right guard Leonard Davis. First-round pick Tyron Smith is replacing Colombo, while veteran Montrae Holland was penciled in as the starter at right guard. But Holland has been out since Friday with a lower back injury. So the Cowboys moved veteran Kyle Kosier from left guard to right guard to provide Smith with a veteran next to him. Rookie David Arkin will start at left guard tonight, while second-year center Phil Costa will start in place of Andre Gurode, who is rehabbing from off-season knee surgery.
3. Kicking competition
Rookie Dan Bailey has been the better field-goal kicker in a duel of kickers, but veteran David Buehler has the edge in kickoffs. In his first season as the team’s place-kicker, Buehler made only 24 of 32 field goals and missed two extra points last season. But he has 51 touchbacks in two seasons. Though Jerry Jones said the Cowboys could employ two kickers this season, as they did in 2009, it’s more likely the job is Buehler’s or Bailey’s.
4. Rob Ryan’s defense
The Cowboys ranked 31st in points allowed last season at 27.3 points per game. The 436 points surrendered was the most in Cowboys history. Players claim Wade Phillips’ defense became “predictable” last season. New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is anything but, with an 80-page playbook. With only one different starter — free-agent signee Abe Elam has replaced Alan Ball at free safety — the Cowboys are counting on Ryan to take them back where they were in 2009 when they ranked among the best.
5. Cornerbacks, anyone?
The Cowboys offered free-agent prize Nnamdi Asomugha $10 million a year. The cornerback signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving the Cowboys to hope Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins rebound this season. Newman played through a rib injury last season when he allowed 58 receptions for 871 yards and three touchdowns. Jenkins lost his confidence early, allowing 54 receptions for 935 yards and five touchdowns. Now, both are injured. Jenkins is out with a stinger. Newman has a groin injury that will keep him out at least through the preseason. Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball will start tonight, but Bryan McCann and rookie Josh Thomas will get their chances to shine.
** Tony Romo said earlier in camp that he was throwing the ball as well as he ever had in his career, but the results were mixed. Over the last five days, however, he was on fire. He had a great scrimmage and was great the next day.
** Dez Bryant’s best play of camp was not any catch or run, even if he had a few of them. Bryant’s best play was his reaction after DeMarcus Ware picked off Romo near the goal line and sprinted to catch up to the All-Pro linebacker and punch the ball free for a fumble.
** While Bryant draws oohs and aahs from onlookers, Miles Austin went somewhat unnoticed. I’m not sure he had a drop inside the Alamodome, and he looked Terry Glenn-like with some of his grabs down the middle of the field. Tremendous body control.
** Lonyae Miller could force the Cowboys to keep four tailbacks. The best part of his camp? According to Jason Witten, Miller has not yet missed a blitz pickup — and against this defense, that is saying something. With the Jets looming in the opener, that means a lot.
** Tyron Smith will benefit greatly from having Kyle Kosier next to him. Several defensive players said once Smith gets his hands on them, they can’t break free. But he has to figure out whom to block in a hurry. This was a good move by the coaches to flip Kosier to right guard.
** Not sure there is a leader in the fullback race between Chris Gronkowski, Shaun Chapas and Jason Pociask. I’d like to see all of them keep their feet moving as they block. Chapas is probably the best athlete but this could drag on until the final cuts.
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