With two preseason games behind them, the Cowboys play the Cardinals Saturday in a preseason game that will matter a lot for some of these guys. Next week is the dress rehearsal game for the starters so some of the on the “on the bubble” players have got to come up with good performances in the Cardinals game.
A look at the players who need to play well:
Guard David Arkin– Arkin is no rookie but he has yet to establish himself as an offensive lineman that Dallas can count on. Leary is out with a sore knee so Arkin will get an opportunity to demonstrate that he can help this team that really could use help at guard. If Arkin plays well, he not only can make the final roster cuts, but earn playing time. If he doesn’t play well, it may be time for Dallas to move on.
CB B.W. Webb– Webb’s tough night against the Raiders was well documented and I was one of them as I talked of his play in a blog HERE.
While the rookie Webb isn’t necessarily expected to start this season, expectations are pretty high that he can help them in pass coverage packages. Not only did coach Jason Garrett express concern about the mistakes Webb made in the game (muffed punt) but he also went on to express concern about Webb’s demeanor saying,
“..I thought his demeanor in the game was only OK. Other teams and other players are going to have success against you. You’ve just got to keep coming and you’ve got to keep battling. And I’m not so sure he did that as well as he needs to. And he’ll learn from that experience.”
It’s one thing to make mistakes as a rookie, which is expected, but another thing when the rookie hangs his head down and doesn’t compete.
After a bad game, great players show their character and come back with a strong performance and that is exactly what Webb needs to do. And with the coach calling him out, he needs to show Jason that he can take constructive criticism, build on it, and compete in the next game.
WR Terrance Williams– The Baylor rookie WR has yet to play in a preseason game after a head injury in practice. So we don’t really know what we have in him. Williams is expected to play in the Cardinals game and he really needs to show something. At practice he has had some tough days but made some good plays too. Coaches and fans want to know what Williams can do in a game and see if he can contribute this year or not. Williams was expected to compete for the 3rd WR spot but at this point he would have to be the 4th or 5th WR currently. Williams needs a good performance.
WR Anthony Armstrong– Armstrong is fighting for a spot on the 53 man roster and it’s not clear if Dallas will keep 5 or 6 WRs. Since it appears they will keep 4 TEs this year instead of 3 like in 2012, it is reasonable to think they only keep 5 WRS. Either way, Armstrong who has played well so far, needs to have a big game to earn a spot on the roster. He has contributed on special teams as well.
LBs Brandon Magee and Ernie Sims– The Cowboys are deep at LB and there is a real battle going on between several players to get that last roster spot. So far I’m not convinced at all that Sims or Magee have done enough to make the team. Both should play plenty in the Cardinals game and one of them needs to step up and make claim to a roster spot.
QBs Alex Tanney and Nick Stephens– I expect Dallas to only keep Romo and Orton on the roster again this season so Tanney and Stephens are probably fighting for a spot on the practice squad. So far neither player has separated themselves as the best option to develop in the future. Last week Stephens threw an INT. but other than that, played well. Tanney came in late and tried to lead the offense to a game winning score however Tanney was the victim of a dropped pass by Green and Rogers who failed to come back to a pass.
Both of these QBs should play plenty against the Cardinals and it’s an opportunity for one of them to establish himself as the 3rd QB.