SAN DIEGO – We all know the first preseason game isn't a time for Pro Bowlers or established starters. Once the big names take a seat on the bench, though, there are plenty of things to watch when it comes to determining the makeup of the Cowboys' final roster.
Here are five of the biggest storylines I'll be watching in San Diego.
- Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary: With Leary now back on the practice field here in camp, that battle at the left guard spot takes center stage for a starting spot on an offensive line that has upgraded itself with the addition of Zack Martin. Bernadeau has had the upper hand so far in practice, but Leary is working himself into position to put pressure on him. We could see both on the field at the same time with the second offense -- Bernadeau taking snaps at center and Leary at guard. I have a feeling this position will not be settled until after the Dolphins game this preseason, but that journey starts on Thursday.
- Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams: If you asked me which of these running backs would make the team as I type this, I would say it's Randle's job. When camp opened there was some nice back and forth during the practices, but over the last three days Randle has shown a little more as a ball carrier and receiver. What will be key here for these backs is which one can have the most production behind whichever offensive line they are working behind. This always happens in preseason games where young guys make mistakes and there are unblocked players that appear in the backfield. This offensive staff will game plan in their rotation and try to allow these two the best chance to show what they can and cannot do.
- BW Webb: The defense is in a terrible mess for this game against the Chargers when it comes to the cornerback position. Orlando Scandrick has the most experience of the group but will most likely only see limited snaps. That leaves B.W. Webb to take his spot and try to carry the position throughout the majority of the game, which I don't believe is a bad situation. Webb needs to play and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. In practices he has shown more confidence and aggressiveness in his play. He has developed more toughness, which was something he badly lacked in his rookie season. I am interested to see if he can carry over what I have seen from him these last two weeks and continue to play with this style and win a job as the fourth cornerback over Sterling Moore on this defense. [embedded_ad]
- Backup Receivers: If practices and a Blue-White Scrimmage tell anything, it's that the receiving corps has some depth to it. The question all during camp was whether the front office would carry five or six on the 53-man roster, but with the way these kids are playing, they could carry eight. From what I have been able to observe each day, there has been someone different that has caught my eye from this group. Just when you want to write a guy like Chris Boyd off, he comes up with a nice play or two that makes you rethink your position. I am sure this front office is having the same problem. From talking to folks who work with the Chargers, they are excited about their group of corners and the depth they have there, so tonight should be a good test for these Cowboys receivers who are trying to prove they belong on this roster.
- Young Defensive Tackles: I am looking forward to seeing how Davon Coleman and Ken Bishop play against the Chargers' offensive line. There have been moments in practice where these two tackles have been outstanding working against the veterans along the Cowboys offensive line. With all the issues this defense has had with injuries, they have taken full advantage of the situation and turned a few heads with their play. I especially like what I have seen in the recent practices with Bishop. He appears to be more active in his approach, playing with a sense of urgency. You see him attacking the pocket, playing with better technique and his overall production has improved. Coleman started out playing several different position along the line but has now settled into the under-tackle spot, working with Bishop. I am looking forward to seeing if both of these tackles can continue to be disruptive and carry that over into this game against the Chargers.