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Zeke, Collins, T-Will Among Players Reviewed in Writers' Players to Watch

SEATTLE – Obviously the debut of Ezekiel Elliott and the play of the quarterbacks, especially with Tony Romo's early injury, will dominate the headlines for this game. 

And while Elliott was one of the players focused in this piece, there are plenty of other players trying to earn either a starting job or just a spot on the roster.

The staff writers of 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 Thursday's game with the Seahawks.

Nick Eatman

Terrance Williams:He left the game with a hand injury and received X-rays but the results seems favorable. While he did catch a slant pass early in the game from Romo, Williams didn't have many significant moments the rest of the way. I was looking to see how he would respond as the No. 1 receiver again with Dez out. He only had one more pass thrown his way but Williams had a shot to make a big play down the field. It looked like the Seattle defender knocked the ball out, but Williams probably should've gone for the ball at a higher point. Either way, it was a play Williams should've had. He's still the Cowboys' No. 2 receiver and that won't change. But it could've been a chance to make a few more plays.

Kyle Wilber:He's probably not going to lose his starting spot at SAM but I was looking to see Wilber used more as a pass-rusher. The return of Mayowa likely cut down some of his pass-rushing snaps. Wilber did have a shot to make an open-field tackle early in the game but couldn't avoid a stiff-arm and allowed a first down. After that, Wilber was in on a few plays but nothing too noteworthy. He's going to make the team and start, but his role will primarily be on special teams considering the defense plays a lot of nickel coverage with two linebackers on the field.

Rob Phillips

Ezekiel Elliott:Couldn't ask for a better test than the Seahawks' defense for Ezekiel Elliott, and the rookie running back delivered a strong NFL debut in two series of work. It didn't last long, as expected – Elliott had only seven carries and an incomplete receiving target from Dak Prescott – but he delivered 48 rushing yards (6.9 average) three first downs, and he drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty on a late hit from safety Kam Chancellor that might go down as the fourth overall pick's "Welcome to the NFL" moment. Elliott didn't back down, though. In fact, he looked a bit animated talking with the Seahawks after a couple of runs. We knew he was a physical running back at Ohio State, but he also displayed vision and burst to capture the edge. Had a big role in the Cowboys' first-quarter touchdown drive.

Jack Crawford: Crawford started last week's second preseason game at defensive end due to injuries on the line. Thursday against the Seahawks, defensive end Benson Mayowa and defensive tackle Maliek Collins made their Cowboys debut in the starting lineup, and Crawford moved back inside as part of the rotation. The versatile lineman entered in the second quarter and played into the second half, lining up mostly at tackle (as he did for the majority of training camp) and often facing double teams. Although he wasn't credited with a tackle, Crawford did force an incompletion in the third quarter with pressure in the pocket. The Cowboys likely will rely on Crawford pitching in at multiple positions this season. He played all four defensive spots and produced four sacks last year.

Dave Helman

Brice Butler:It was actually kind of encouraging to see Butler make several smaller players, rather than one big play – which is what he has become known for. Dak Prescott found Butler twice for 24 yards in the first half, and both of those catches came on drives that culminated in field goal attempts. Both receptions were against good coverage, with Butler having to go into traffic to secure the catch. It was really encouraging to see him show that side of his game, because for the most part we've typically only seen him show off his ability as a deep threat. Butler's got more to his game than just speed.

Justin Durant: He didn't show up on the stat sheet, but Durant played in the first few possessions and looked serviceable at middle linebacker. He got in on a couple of physical tackles against Seattle ball carriers, and he appeared to move well. That said, it wasn't as impressive a showing as I'd been hoping for. Maybe my expectations were too high, given that it was the third preseason game. After all, the Cowboys coaches were sure to be careful with the veteran, considering he wasn't part of the offseason program. Still, it was nice to see him get out there and get his feet wet.

Bryan Broaddus

Joe Looney:I didn't feel like that Looney played poorly. There were several plays where he was able to get his head in front of his man to keep him from getting in on the play. Looney doesn't get much push off the snap and tends to get flattened along the line which makes his blocks appear off. I didn't see him play at all at guard which I thought he would have given the coaches a better idea of his versatility.

Maliek Collins: Have to be honest that I expected more for Maliek Collins in this game but it just wasn't there. Maybe the tape will show different but he wasn't off the snap and into the backfield like we had observed in these practices since coming back. There were no snaps where I felt like he played off the block and worked to the ball. I didn't see any push in the passing game as well. It appeared that the Seahawks were able to handle him without many problems.

Go behind the lens and view some of our favorite photos from the Cowboys game against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

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