Time To Mix It Up

stands for one of these preseason games and want to see some real football.  

  Defensively, there are some ways to mix in some younger guys. 

  Does DeMarcus Ware really need to play at all? OK, one series, let him rush the quarterback off the edge and get him out.  

  I'd like to see Victor Butler or Brandon Williams playing against a starting offensive tackle. Maybe we could see Anthony Spencer get a double-team and see how he can react.  

  Forget putting Junior Siavii in the game in the second half against a third-team center. Put him right there from the start and let him play with the first group. 

  At middle linebacker, Bradie James and Keith Brooking . . . solid. Actually, better than that. So let's get them in and out.  

  Play Bobby Carpenter with the ones, and let Jason Williams play the whole game. Why not? You need to see what they can do, not just early, but when they're pretty exhausted as well. 

  In the secondary, the Cowboys could stand to play all of those young guys - Mickens, DeAngelo Smith, Mike Hamlin, Alan Ball and Courtney Brown all game if they could.  

  Personally, I think Brown is getting a little harsh criticism considering he's spent most of his pro career at safety. They switch him to corner and that's probably not his best position. 

  And that way of thinking right there is why the Cowboys, or any team, might be overly cautious in experimenting with the lineup. A third-teamer gets his shot to shine and it doesn't work out. All of a sudden, "he's horrible" and needs to be cut. In reality, he's a backup and the coaches are simply evaluating. 

  The experiments can work on special teams, too.  

  I've said this before, but I would hope the Cowboys don't trot out Felix Jones to field his first punt ever - since like junior high - in a regular-season game. The main part he needs to work on is catching the ball, and catching it in a crowd. OK, I'm all for holding your stud players out of preseason games, but right now, Felix isn't a stud punt returner. You don't even know he can do it.  

  Now, I'm not talking about letting him get killed. But if the ball is near midfield and the Cowboys force a punt, we all know you're going to return anything. At best, there will be a fair catch on the 11, or the ball sails into the end zone. Either way, Felix needs to be comfortable out there.  

  A regular-season game is not a preseason game. But a punt is a punt and a fair catch is a fair catch. Felix Jones needs a few of those before you get to the season.  

  And as Phillips said, it's not just about backups working with the first team. In some cases, there are some way-backups that need to work with the second team. Guys like Kevin Ogletree at wide receiver, or Stephen Hodge at linebacker, or any of those young defensive backs.  

  You can go all day and find guys that need to play. Then again, how much do you want to sacrifice the continuity of the starters?  

  That's a yearly coaching dilemma. One of many this time of year.        

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