Dalla Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Well, it's the last pre-season game. . .I don't expect a whole lot in the way of excitement. I exchanged five questions with Dave "Grizz" Halprin from our outstanding Cowboys site, Blogging the Boys. Here are his responses. (To check out my responses to the questions he sent me, head over to his site.)
1) Entering the final pre-season game of 2007, what are some of the questions that the Cowboys still haven't answered yet?
We need to find some backup corners because starter Terence Newman has a foot injury and no one is sure how well he'll be able to play in the early season, or if he will play in the first few games at all. We have a fullback competition going on and a great battle at place kicker between rookie Nick Folk and vet Martin Gramatica (who will miss this game with a hammy). Mainly though, it's the injury situation that we need settled. CB Terence Newman, WR Terry Glenn, OLB Greg Ellis and ILB Kevin Burnett are all questionable for the start of the season.
2) The Cowboys are similar to the Vikings in that they have two talented, capable running backs in Julius Jones and Marion Barber III. Do you think that under the new head coaching regime that they'll continue to share carries the way they have the past couple of seasons, or do you think one will establish himself as the primary guy?
They will continue to share the ball. Julius is the starter but really its running back-by-duo. Marion Barber gets most of the goal line carries, the short yardage stuff and a lot of the 3rd down action because he can catch well and pick up blitzes. Julius is the quick back, expected to get shifty in space and take it to the house occasionally. Wade Phillips will use them both in pretty much the same way, although the carries might be more even this year.
3) Speaking of new head coaches, what has the impression of Wade Phillips been thus far this pre-season? Do you think he's a long-term answer, or is he just keeping the seat warm for a younger guy like Jason Garrett?
If Wade wins, he's the long-term answer; if he doesn't then they will be evaluating Jason Garrett for that position. In the NFL everybody is the short-term answer unless they start winning and meeting the expectations of the organization, and to some extent the fans. So Wade needs to win and win soon, because the Cowboys expectations are high, and Jerry Jones is never shy about taking action.
4) What do you expect to see out of the Cowboys this evening?
A lot of the 2nd and 3rd strings. We still have a few position battles going on, and the special team coverage-units have been poor over the first few games of the preseason. We need to find out who can make plays on special teams because that's where most of the guys playing tonight will make the team.
5) How do you see the Cowboys' season going in 2007, and what are the keys to whether their season will be a success or a failure?
The Cowboys have to win a playoff game at the minimum to have the season be any kind of success. We haven't won one since 1996, and Parcells took us to two playoff games, including the heartbreaking loss to the Seahawks last year. Wade Phillips needs to take a talented roster and win a playoff game for any real success, anything less would be treading water or going backwards. I think they certainly can do it. If Romo plays the way we think he can, and we can avoid injury at a few key spots (CB, OLB), then we should be a dangerous team in the playoffs.