The final exhibition game has arrived for the Dallas Cowboys and thankfully we are close to the preseason being over. The Cowboys have had their share of injuries and cannot afford another significant player going down with any type of ailment before the regular season begins. We didn’t see many starters on offense last week and we’ll likely see very few key players line up on either side of the ball against the Texans tonight.
However, that doesn’t make the preseason finale insignificant. The Cowboys’ 53 man roster has largely been decided, but there are players who can play their way onto, or off of, the team tonight. Here are five Cowboys who need to make this last preseason game count.
He shows up on this list almost every week. Lenoir had a great few weeks in Oxnard and a nice first two games in the preseason before completely crapping out against the Bengals last Sunday night. Fumbling two punt returns and costing your team field position and points is never a smart way to make a team. Lenoir is on the fringe of making this roster as a receiver, but he would be better served if he can make an imprint on special teams as well. It would be wise for Lenoir to have a productive game against the Texans.
Time appears to be up on Green’s time in Dallas, but injuries may force the team to keep an extra offensive lineman. As bad as Green’s been, the Cowboys continue to give him every opportunity to make this team. The best way for Green to make the 53 is to have his best game of the preseason and make a lasting impression on the coaches. The coaches seem to have a soft spot for Green, but this could be his last stand.
A few weeks ago it looked like Bo Scarbrough had the inside track on securing the third running back spot. After the past two preseason games, Jackson has looked like the better running back and has superior receiving skills coming out of the backfield. Jackson also has a role on special teams as a kick returner, adding to his value. If Jackson has a big game, he might finally stick around in Dallas.
Tapper appeared to have had a good training camp and that has shown itself on the field. His stat line won’t show his worth, but Tapper’s play been solid in the preseason. However, defensive end is one of the deepest positions on the roster and Tapper just hasn’t been able to stay healthy since he’s been a Cowboy. Will the team trust him to stay healthy and contribute? This game might be Tapper’s last attempt to stick around.
March-Lillard had a slow start in preseason, but he’s really come on. He was one of the only reserve defensive players that stood out against the Arizona Cardinals. March-Lillard had four solo tackles, including two for a loss last Sunday night, stating his case to make the 53 man roster. Linebacker looks like a strength for the defense and March-Lillard could be caught in a numbers game if the team goes heavy somewhere else. He brings specials value, which helps, but March-Lillard needs another good game to garner a spot on the 2018 Cowboys.
Bonus: Rico Gathers
No one is really sure why the Cowboys don’t give Gathers more playing time, but according to many close to the team, he’s a long shot to make the 53 man roster. It seems absurd because he has the best receiving skills at a position where the team is looking for more plays; Gathers has made more plays than anyone else at tight end. A big performance, including knowing his assignments would make the coaches think twice. Hopefully, his fate hasn’t been sealed yet and Gathers can stick around with a good game in Houston.
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