It’s make-or-break time for a small group of Dallas Cowboys.
Thursday’s preseason finale at 7 p.m. against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium is the last chance to make a lasting impression.
While most of the Cowboys’ players who will be on the field tonight have either already secured a roster spot or have no chance, this small group must seal the deal with another good showing to earn a spot on Dallas’ 53-man roster, which will be announced on Saturday.
A look at four on the brink.
Rico Gathers, TE
The former Baylor basketball player is still a work in progress, but he has made progress. Whether his impressive athletic ability and imposing size will be enough to overcome his still novice football acumen remains to be seen. Gathers has eight receptions for 71 yards in the first three preseason games. He’s trying to beat out rookie David Wells and second-year player Blake Jarwin, who has six catches for 38 yards. Rookie Dalton Schultz, taken in the fourth round, has six catches for 32 yards.
Lance Lenoir, WR/RS
Lenoir, the feel-good story at the start of camp, is facing an uphill climb to earn a spot. He’s caught three passes for 22 yards and a touchdown but hasn’t done much on punt returns (16 yards on seven returns). He also fumbled twice against the Bengals (although his teammate ran into him to cause one of them). True, he wasn’t likely to be handling punt returns during the regular season anyway. The biggest hurdle for Lenoir, however, may be a simple numbers game. If the Cowboys keep only five receivers, he’s definitely not going to be one of them. If they keep six, he’ll need to outshine Deonte Thompson in Houston.
Both running backs have been impressive at times during training camp. Scarbrough has rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Jackson has 71 yards on 16 carries. He also has proven reliable as a receiver out of the backfield with nine catches for 64 yards. Scarbrough seems to have the edge since he was a seventh-round pick out of Alabama in April. Jackson was a sixth-round pick in 2016 and made the team but was eventually waived.