The 2012 version of the Dallas Cowboys will have their first dress rehearsal Monday night against the Raiders in a preseason match up. Here are the guys to keep an eye on in this game and why their performance matters.
- Tyron Smith: OT Good to go on left side?
Smith played the right tackle in his rookie season last year but this season he has been moved to the left side. Protecting Romo’s blind side is a very important responsibility and Smith has never played left tackle at the college or NFL level. Since he is a starter, he probably will only play in a series or two but how quickly Smith gets the hang of things on the left side, is very important for Dallas.
- Ron Leary: Guard NFL ready?
Early injuries and surgeries have really thrown the interior of the Cowboys offensive line into turmoil. An undrafted rookie, Ron Leary, should get plenty of snaps Monday night. Is Leary ready to help at guard immediately? If so, the Cowboys could sure use his help. Monday night should offer a good opportunity to assess how Leary is progressing.
- Phil Costa: Center improved this year?
Costa is entering his second year after a tough season last year that included snaps that were not catchable, and missed blocking assignments. The Cowboys really haven’t brought in anyone to challenge Costa for the starting position while word from Garrett is that Costa has improved. For Dallas to succeed this season, he better be improved because there are very few options after him. Costa probably won’t be in for a lot of series but his snaps need to be crisp and spot on. If not, Dallas will be forced to scan waiver wires for a center. UPDATE: Costa will not play due to back injury.
- Kevin Ogletree: Cowboys 3rd wide receiver or time to move on?
Kevin Ogletree came into this season as the leading candidate to occupy the 3rd WR spot however I don’t think most fans are buying into it yet. It’s time for this “Tree” to grow up and show he is the man to go out there with Dez and Austin. If he isn’t, then Dallas must move on and find that guy. Not sure how much Ogletree will play Monday night or if he will run with the 1st or 2nd team, but he needs to make the most of his opportunities.
- Cole Beasley: Undrafted Wide receiver the real deal or just a training camp phenom?
Beasley has made plays every day at training camp and seems to have the quickness and precise route running skills to make an impact on this team immediately. Is he a legit WR candidate or a camp sensation? Beasley should also get opportunities to return punts which could make him even more valuable.
Now is the time to show he can make plays in games. Beasley will likely see plenty of action Monday night and he needs to show the Dallas coaches that he can get it done in an NFL game environment. If Ogletree doesn’t get it done at WR, Beasley just may be the answer.
- Tyrone Crawford: Rookie defensive end able to pressure QBs at NFL level?
The Cowboys 3rd round pick out of Boise State has created some chatter in camp. He appears to be a 3rd round steal but that is in camp against the Cowboys struggling offensive line. Watch to see if Crawford’s high motor is tough for opposing offensive linemen to handle. If he can pressure QBs as a DE, then OLB Ware could have a mighty big season this year.
- Bruce Carter: ILB able to contribute on defense this year?
Carter was a second round pick last year who is now recovered from a serious knee injury. He is very athletic and known to be a real play maker on the defensive side of the ball. Look for Bruce to make some plays Monday night particularly in pass coverage where he just may excel. Also has an uncanny ability to block kicks too. If Bruce is what the Cowboys think he is, then the Cowboys will be in very good shape at ILB this season.