COUNTDOWN TO GAMEDAY: Cowboys have rival New York Giants on their radar

IRVING — Cincinnati is next up on the schedule.

That doesn’t mean the Bengals have the Dallas Cowboys’ undivided attention.

The regular season opens in less than three weeks. While the coaches get the players ready to face Cincinnati this weekend, they are also starting to prepare for the game against New York on Sept. 8.

“Yeah, we’re watching some of the Giants tape,” tight end Jason Witten said. “Obviously, they’re a big division opponent. We know them well. They know us.

“Everything’s moving that way.”

The Cowboys aren’t overlooking the Bengals. This and the final preseason game are chances to clean up what’s not working as the team gets ready for the regular season.

Saturday’s game is significant because the starters will play into the second half.

“This is the game we’ll get most of our work for the preseason,” Witten said. “I think it’s been a good, productive camp. We just got to continue to build it here down the stretch.”

And cast an eye toward the Giants.

“We’ve started doing a little in the card drills, going over what they run,” defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said of New York. “But we’re still in training camp mode.”

Jones: Cowboys can compete: Jerry Jones isn’t going to make any grandiose claims. But the owner is confident of how his team stacks up going into the season.

“If you look at the fact that these teams are pretty equal in the NFL and you look at where we are, you know we can compete,” Jones said Tuesday on KRLD-FM (105.3). “We really can compete.

“Now, will injury decimate that? Will injury impact that? Who knows? The bottom line is, we can compete.

“Over the last two years, a lot of people would say, ‘I don’t call 8-8 competing.’ They’d be justified in saying that. But we were real close there, getting down to the end of the year. We were close to getting in the tournament and doing some good things.”

Practice update: Morris Claiborne will miss Saturday’s dress rehearsal against Cincinnati.

The cornerback jammed his knee two weeks ago and hasn’t practiced since. Head coach Jason Garrett said he doesn’t anticipate Claiborne will do much in practice this week or play this weekend.

Receiver Cole Beasley (foot) and safety Matt Johnson (foot) are also expected to miss the game, but Garrett is hopeful the two will be able to work into practice next week and play in the preseason finale against Houston.

Defensive tackle Sean Lissemore (groin injury) returned to practice after a one-week absence and hopes to play against the Bengals. Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox, who has been excused from the team following the death of his mother, is scheduled to return.

“I have not spoken to him,” Garrett said. “We have texted back and forth with him, and we anticipate him coming back [Wednesday] to hopefully practice on Thursday.”

OT Bell shaping up: OT Demetress Bell tipped the scales at 350 pounds when he reported to Oxnard. He is down to 328 and would like to drop another 10 or so pounds.

“I can’t say nothing bad about the Cowboys,” Bell said. “It sounds like they love me. I’ve just got to do my job, do my part to stick.”

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