The Dallas Cowboys will head to Los Angeles for their second game of the preseason when they take on the Rams for the second consecutive year. This time around the Cowboys have Dak Prescott in place as their franchise quarterback and won’t play any significant number of snaps.
It is important for teams to get a true grasp of their players in these games. While evaluation in practice on an everyday basis occurs, you separate the players who are ready to take the next step against other opponents. There are five players who should really be the focus of your attention.
- After spending the last two seasons playing inside, Collins has been asked to move to right tackle. He played some in the Hall of Fame game. Collins is a mauler in the run game but where his focus needs to be is on the passing game. Collins had an All-Pro on each side of him which kept him somewhat protected.
- The transition takes some and reps. Tyron Smith went through a transition when he moved to the left side of the offensive line. What Collins is doing is more than a change in location but in position. He will get help with tight ends and running backs chipping on blocks. Keep an eye on how he performs in one on one situations.
Jonathan Cooper-Byron Bell
- The Cowboys were looking for Chaz Green and Jonathan Cooper at left guard. Green has been dealing with injury issues since he joined the team. Cooper was a highly sought-after prospect but hasn’t been what many expected. With Green injury, Cooper has been given the opportunity to lay claim.
- Byron Bell has spent time with two organizations before coming to the Dallas Cowboys with 72 starts since 2011. He played mostly at offensive tackle but much like Green, is now getting looks inside due to the injury. Both players have been splitting reps during practice with the first team offense.
Cowboys could be without Awuzue, Brown and Jourdan Lewis on Saturday. Jason Garrett plans to be cautious with injured players
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) August 10, 2017
Chidobe Awuzie (Should he play)
- The Dallas Cowboys let four players in the secondary walk following the 2016 football season. A really underachieving position group. Awuzie was one of the cornerbacks brought in to replace them. Awuzie was part of the draft class that made the team confident they could allow the mass exodus of the veterans like Brandon Carr and Mo Claiborne.
- The team has moved him around a bit. You will see Awuzie playing cornerback, safety and other situational positions like linebacker in a nickel or dime package. Look for 33 when the Cowboys defense takes the field. It is reminiscent of Byron Jones’ rookie season.
- The Cowboys ended up with a couple of redshirts from last draft class with Jaylon Smith and Tapper. The former Sooner is now trying to take advantage of the opportunity before him. He is athletically gifted as seen against Alabama when he chased down Amari Cooper. He has what you want off the edge in those terms.
- Tapper will need to work on the technical aspect but working with Rod Marinelli and Leon Lett will have their impacts. Number 99 could be the next quarterback hunter for this defense, one they so desperately need.