CANTON, Ohio Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett plays things by the book.
He won’t publicly acknowledge that the majority of his starters and veterans won’t play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. But he does admit that he brought the young players to training camp a week earlier so they can focus on this game.
Those young players had a three-day workout before joining the veterans and established stars and players in Oxnard, Calif.
Don’t look for Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Orlando Scandrick or Byron Jones when the Cowboys take on the Arizona Cardinals at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Here are five things to watch:
Taco and Chido
First-round pick Taco Charlton and second-round pick Chido Awuzie could be immediate impact players at defensive end and cornerback. This will be their NFL debut and the first chance for fans to see what the buzz is all about with these two rookies.
He will be the answer to a trivia question one day. Who was the fourth-round pick drafted by the Cowboys ahead of Prescott? Charles Tapper missed all of last season with a back injury. He is a speed rusher and will finally get to make his debut against the Cardinals.
Big brother Rod
Jaylon Smith gets all the attention, but he is not the only Smith brother making an impact for Garrett. Big brother Rod Smith is the No. 3 running back behind Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden. He will get some touches against the Cardinals.
Prescott won’t play against the Cardinals. But look for backup quarterback Kellen Moore to get a series or two. He is a veteran, but he hasn’t played much. Then the game will be turned over to undrafted rookie free agent Cooper Rush of Central Michigan and possibly newly signed 36-year-old journeyman Luke McCown, who is beginning his 14th season after spending the past four in New Orleans.
Second-year receiver Andy Jones had a strong training camp last year, but he spit the bit in preseason games. He again has looked good in camp. Will he continue to shine when the lights come on? Rookie receiver Noah Brown, a seventh-round draft pick, has also had a strong camp. He went to Ohio State and should have tons of friends and family on hand.
Hall of Fame Game
Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals, 7 p.m. Thursday, KXAS/5