ARLINGTON, Texas– The Cowboys' preseason rolls along on Saturday night, as they host the Baltimore Ravens at AT&T Stadium in their first action since returning from California.
With one preseason game in the books, this tilt against the Ravens is a bit of a mystery. The Cowboys' starters are bound to play more than they did last week in San Diego, but it's too early for a full dress rehearsal.
With that in mind, there will be plenty to watch on both sides of the ball – both among the big names looking for a little more work, to the no-names fighting for a roster spot.
The staff writers of DallasCowboys.com have each selected a player from both sides of the ball to evaluate throughout the game, followed by a review of their performances afterward.
Let's check out who the staff writers will be following closely in this weekend's game against the Ravens.
Rowan Kavner Lance Dunbar: The Cowboys showed just how much they think of Dunbar, their change of pace running back, by sitting him in the opener. They once again have high expectations for Dunbar and want to make sure he's as healthy as possible to start the season. The belief is that Scott Linehan, who's had success incorporating multiple backs into a system, will help increase Dunbar's production. His speed and receiving ability out of the backfield make him really unique. I'm interested to see how he's used in his first action.
Martez Wilson: He kind of reminds me of what Kyle Wilber was last year - a linebacker attempting to make the switch as a quick but somewhat undersized defensive end. He's had flashes, making a strip sack on Brandon Weeden in practice that he returned for a touchdown. But he's also had some troubles, getting tossed around twice by Tyron Smith in practice. The Cowboys need pass rushers, and his speed is useful, but I want to see if he can translate that speed into game production.
Nick Eatman Brandon Weeden – While this is supposed to be the game we see Tony Romo function for his first game action after back surgery, it's still an evaluation process for Weeden. In fact, this will be the closest thing to reality that he's going to get this year. It's one thing to start the game and have some good drives. But now he'll be a backup and let's find out how he comes off the bench and performs, especially if he's playing mainly with the backups.
B.W. Webb – You name it and it's happened with the cornerback position - suspensions, family issues that caused a three-week absence and of course, injuries. Well, none of that has pertained to Webb, who has received plenty of opportunities but yet he still hasn't taken advantage yet. With Sterling Moore banged up, Morris Claiborne likely not to play and Tyler Patmon still hurt, this has to be the time Webb separates himself from the pack. If anyone needs a big play, it's Webb. If not, the Cowboys really need to start looking even more on the outside for cornerback relief.
John Wetzel: If you would like the name of a player that not many people have talked about but is in line for a potential roster spot look no further than John Wetzel. Coming into camp, it was going to be a battle between Jeremy Parnell and Darrion Weems for that swing offensive tackle spot. Wetzel has been very steady in these practices and held up nicely in the game last week against the Chargers when others have not been at their very best.
Rolando McClain: McClain was able to make it back out onto the practice field this past week when the Cowboys and Raiders met for their joint practices. McClain was able to put some nice series together, which caught the attention of the front office and coaches. If McClain is going to be that starter at Mike linebacker, he is going to have to take that job away from Justin Durant, who has been spot on with his play. The ability is there but the consistency has not. The clock is ticking and as a veteran player, he knows that.
David Helman [embedded_ad]
Ronald Patrick:We hear about position flex all the time with this team, and I think that's Patrick's best chance to make the roster. We saw him work at both center and guard during our time in Oxnard, so we know he's versatile. Either Mackenzy Bernadeau or Zack Martin is probably the second-string center for the season, but Patrick's ability to do two things could help him earn a spot. He should get plenty of snaps when the big-name offensive linemen sit down for the night.Justin Green:We know basically nothing about Green since the Cowboys traded for him earlier this week. He didn't get to training camp in time to practice with the Raiders, and the team only did walkthrough-type work on Thursday and Friday. Just like Korey Lindsey last week, Green will probably be asked to play without a lot of practice time. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are likely scratches, and Tyler Patmon might not be available, either – which means we should get a long look at the new guy.