Five things to watch in Cowboys-Texans preseason game

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information 11 Days until the Cowboys’ season opener vs. the Giants, 7:30 p.m. KXAS/5

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The Dallas Cowboys lost a gamble with Matt Moore six years ago when they cut him with the idea of re-signing him to the practice squad, only to have the Carolina Panthers claim him the next day.

They might face a similar decision this week.

Alex Tanney has pushed himself into roster consideration by completing 23 of 42 passes for 246 yards, a touchdown and an interception in three games. Two weeks ago against Arizona, given a chance behind the starting offensive line in the second half, he completed his first 10 passes.

And Thursday night, in the preseason finale against Houston, with Tony Romo not playing, Tanney figures to get most of the snaps again now that the Cowboys are down to three quarterbacks after the release of Nick Stephens. It will be another chance for Tanney to showcase himself, either for the Cowboys or another team.

“I don’t think about that,” Tanney said, adding that he’s just trying to play his best.

The game against the Texans is the last chance for him, and everyone else trying to make the team — in Dallas or elsewhere – to try to play their best.

Here are five things to watch:

Who’s the center

The Cowboys did not say whether Travis Frederick will play Thursday night. He is a starter, so probably not. But he’s a rookie, so maybe so. The Cowboys have to ask themselves if he needs more work, or if they should save him for the New York Giants.

Special teams improvement

The Cowboys have not only been unimpressive on special teams, they have hurt themselves with special teams. There have been two fumbled punt returns, a blocked field goal and a missed field goal, among other miscues.

Safety competition

Undrafted rookie Jeff Heath emerged as the biggest riser among the young safeties in camp. He had a hit that caused a fumble last week. The Cowboys need to find someone who can step in just in case starters Will Allen or Barry Church go down.

Running it

Without Lance Dunbar, there is a chance for another running back to make his case. Phillip Tanner showed a solid understanding last week of the one-cut style the Cowboys are promoting this year. Joseph Randle has already shown flashes. Maybe Kendial Lawrence is next.

Defensive line

This is one of the thinnest areas on the team. Defensive end George Selvie came and went and came and went. He needs to re-emerge as a pass-rush threat, and Kyle Wilber needs to plain emerge. The Cowboys also want long looks at end Thaddeus Gibson and tackle Landon Cohen.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

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Wednesday, August 27Full Scoreboard
St. Louis1Bottom 5th | Box
Pittsburgh3@theBallpark | TV: MLB N, FSN-MW, ROOT-PIT
Texas 8/27 3:40 PM ET
Seattle TV: FSN-SW, ROOT-NW
Tampa Bay 8/27 7:05 PM ET
Baltimore TV: Sun Sports, MASN 2
Washington 8/27 7:05 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: MASN, CSN-PHI
Boston 8/27 7:07 PM ET
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NY Yankees 8/27 7:08 PM ET
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Chicago Cubs 8/27 7:10 PM ET
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Atlanta 8/27 7:10 PM ET
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Chicago WSox TV: STO, WCIU
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Houston TV: CSN-CA, CSN-HOU
Minnesota 8/27 8:10 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FSN-N, FSN-KC
Milwaukee 8/27 9:10 PM ET
San Diego TV: FSN-WI, FSN-SD
Los Angeles 8/27 9:40 PM ET
Arizona TV: SportsNet LA, FSN-AZ
Miami 8/27 10:05 PM ET
LA Angels TV: FSN-W
Colorado 8/27 10:15 PM ET
San Francisco TV: ROOT-RM, CSN-BA
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Thursday
Atlanta 6:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CW69, WUPA
Detroit 7:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: WXYZ7, WKBW
Indianapolis 7:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: WNDY, CBS12
Kansas City 7:00 PM ET
Green Bay TV: NBC, KCTV
St. Louis 7:00 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS4
NY Jets 7:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: NFL Network, CBS2, 6ABC
New England 7:30 PM ET
NY Giants TV: WBZ
Carolina 7:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: Panthers TV, KDKA, CBS2
Washington 7:30 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: NBC4, CSN-DC, WFLA
Chicago 8:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: FOX32, WKYC
Denver 8:00 PM ET
Dallas TV: KUSA, KTVT, CBS11
San Francisco 8:00 PM ET
Houston TV: KPIX 5, KTRK
Baltimore 8:00 PM ET
New Orleans TV: WBAL, CST
Minnesota 8:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: KARE 11, WKRN
Seattle 10:00 PM ET
Oakland TV: NFL Network, Q13FOX, KTVU
Arizona 10:00 PM ET
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