The Dallas Cowboys will start their 2017 preseason schedule with the Hall of Fame Game, but have four more games to ready them for their campaign.
The Dallas Cowboys had a bit of a surprising season in 2017, going from finishing 4-12 in 2016 to winning the NFC East with a regular-season mark of 13-3. In doing so, they garnered a first-round bye and playing in the NFC Divisional Round of NFL Playoffs.
That said, the process all begins again in the preseason, and this year the Cowboys will play in five preseason games, including the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game against the Arizona Cardinals. That weekend, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well.
With all of the celebrations that were had last season and with the celebration that is to come with the Hall of Fame Game, there will still be a lot of work to be done for the Cowboys. Having that in mind, here is a look at each preseason game for the Cowboys, which begins on Aug. 3.
This game most likely won’t see any of the usual starters like quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, wide receiver Dez Bryant or even linebacker Sean Lee on the field. That’s fine, especially since this is an extra preseason game for the Cowboys.
This will be an excellent game for the Cowboys to get a look at who will be battling for the backup or third-string quarterback spot behind Prescott, and who will step up at wide receiver on the depth chart as well. Also with this game, we’ll all get to see most of the rookies, whether they be draft picks or undrafted rookie free agents.
Expectations should be low for this game, but it is always fun to see the Cowboys in the first game of the preseason.
Game 2: at Los Angeles Rams
This game will also most likely resemble the Hall of Fame game for the Cowboys, with more rookies and players trying to make their name on the roster stand out. In this game, it would be fun to see how the Cowboys would fare against the likes of Alec Ogletree in preparation for the 2017 regular season, but that will most likely be doubtful or only in play for a series at best.
Game 3: vs. Indianapolis Colts
Here is where some cuts have also been made, and it is also important for the Cowboys to work on seeing who can provide depth to the roster. This will be a quick test for the Cowboys starters on defense if they can play against Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for a series or two, and their wide receivers, which include T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief.
The most important preseason game on the schedule for the Cowboys comes with facing the Raiders. This game is the dress rehearsal for both teams, and a lot of jobs will be won and lost during this week of the preseason. The defense will be very interesting to watch this game, as by then the draft choices should be getting closer to being ready for the regular season. They and the veterans will get a good look against a Raiders offense that should make noise once again this season.
For Dallas, it’d be best if Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is healthy. Plus, with the pending addition of Marshawn Lynch at running back and the wide receivers on the Raiders roster, it will be the best test of the preseason for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys offense will get a great chance to face tough competition in Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack. A good test from Oakland will go a long way in helping the Cowboys assess their status heading into the start of the regular season.
Game 5: at Houston Texans
This game is usually reserved for all the players looking to provide depth to the Cowboys roster. Don’t look for a lot of excellent football, and there won’t be any superstar starters from the Cowboys on the field in this game.
That said, this game is still used by the coaching staff to set up the last few spots on the roster, which could be very important for the franchise down the line. Think about special teams differences when it comes to this final preseason game.