Five things to watch as Cowboys face Ravens

Posted Friday, Aug. 15, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Tony Romo is set to make his 2014 debut Saturday. So are other proven players, such as Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray.

Those guys are known commodities. The Cowboys’ second preseason game against the Ravens is also about how the unknowns fare.

Can linebacker Rolando McClain be an impact player? How will defensive tackle Ken Bishop do in place of Henry Melton? Is cornerback Sterling Moore the answer to Orlando Scandrick’s suspension?

“It starts with individual evaluations,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You want to make sure you’re evaluating your team the right way, and we give everybody an opportunity to show what they can do, whatever their role may or may not be.”

1Tony Romo

He’s expected to play in a game for the first time since undergoing back surgery Dec. 27. Owner Jerry Jones called Romo the “highlight of the camp,” a generous nod considering the star quarterback has been limited so far in camp. But all eyes will be on No. 9 and how he handles game action again.

2The playmakers

Dez Bryant wasted no time in saying he’s ready to play in a game. Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray are ready, too, after sitting out the first preseason game. The Cowboys’ offense has a chance to be among the tops in the league, and it will need to be to offset the defense’s weaknesses.

3Rolando McClain

The eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft has been praised by Cowboys officials, including Jones. But this is his first chance to show what he can do in a game, and the team is optimistic he can become a prominent player in the defense. If he does, it could help salvage what has the makings of being another defensive disaster.


As in the first preseason game, the secondary will be depleted. Cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne won’t play, which should move Sterling Moore into a more prominent role. His reps are particularly important with Orlando Scandrick being suspended the first four games. And the team will also use the extra snaps to evaluate younger corners B.W. Webb, Terrance Mitchell and newly acquired Justin Green, who are competing for roster spots.


Henry Melton, a three-technique tackle whom the Cowboys are counting on this season, is sidelined with a groin injury. Melton is expected to be ready by the season opener, but the team is left experimenting with other linemen for the time being. Seventh-round pick Ken Bishop, widely considered a one-technique tackle, has shown promise early on and is expected to start in Melton’s place.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Thursday, September 18Full Scoreboard
Texas 9/18 3:35 PM ET
Oakland TV: FSN-SW, CSN-CA, MLB Net
Toronto 9/18 7:05 PM ET
NY Yankees TV: SNET-1, YES
Boston 9/18 7:05 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: NESN, ROOT-PIT
Washington 9/18 7:10 PM ET
Los Angeles 9/18 8:05 PM ET
Chicago Cubs TV: SNet LA, CSN-CHI, MLB N
Cleveland 9/18 8:10 PM ET
Houston TV: STO, CSN-HOU
Milwaukee 9/18 8:15 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FSN-WI, FSN-MW, MLB Net
Arizona 9/18 8:40 PM ET
Colorado TV: FSN-AZ, ROOT-RM
Philadelphia 9/18 9:10 PM ET
Seattle 9/18 10:05 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Thursday, September 18Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 3Full Scoreboard
Tampa Bay 8:25 PM ET
Atlanta TV: CBS, NFL Network
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Green Bay 1:00 PM ET
Detroit TV: FOX
Indianapolis 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
New Orleans TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
NY Giants TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: FOX
Dallas 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Kansas City 4:25 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Denver 4:25 PM ET
Seattle TV: CBS
Pittsburgh 8:30 PM ET
Carolina TV: NBC
Chicago 8:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Thursday, September 18Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard