ARLINGTON, Texas – For just about every key player on the Dallas Cowboys roster, Thursday’s game with the Texans will be nothing more than a front-row seat to the preseason finale.
Neither team will likely play any of its starters. Still, it’s an important game for several backup and reserve players who are still trying to solidify a spot on the roster or their role on the team.
Let’s check out the players to watch in tonight’s game with the Texans.
Cole Beasley – This should be the first game action for Beasley since he suffered the foot sprain against Oakland earlier in the preseason. That night against the Raiders, Beasley was nearly unstoppable making several plays from the slot including an adjusting, high ball catch from Kyle Orton in the red zone. Beasley begin to work his way back into practice on Monday, then on Tuesday received a full load to once again get him into the flow. As he sits on the roster, he is the fifth receiver with Anthony Armstrong trying to grab that final spot from him. With the injuries to this team and the possibility of having to go long at a position or two, not sure how they would be able to carry six receivers on the active roster. Another situation that you also have to factor in is how Garrett uses his “12” personnel package. With Jason Witten, James Hanna and Gavin Escobar, all three of these guys can play out of the slot which means less reasons for them to have to carry the extra receiver.
Micah Pellerin – Don’t believe Micah Pellerin is fighting for a roster spot on this club or how he plays tonight will sway that decision one way or another. Pellerin’s play through the last three weeks has put him in a position where he could make this roster as a free agent. His skill in coverage along with his physical style of play has got him noticed by the front office and this coaching staff. Where Pellerin has made the most improvement in his game throughout the training camp is with his technique and you can truly tell that by working with Jerome Henderson and Joe Baker, he has become a much better player from observations in the Spring. He is doing a much better job of staying in position defending the route and has done a much better job of finishing the play. He is a highly competitive kid and you can see that he hates to get beat. He did struggle some in the Miami game but since then, he has been in nice form.
Anthony Armstrong, WR: When he was just a rookie with the Dallas Desperados, fans have no problems rooting for him to make this team. Armstrong absolutely goes about his business the right way. He works extremely hard to improve. He understands the game and the business side of it. But he never stops smiling and keeps the perfect attitude throughout this grueling process. Right now, Armstrong is definitely on the bubble. He needs to either be better than Cole Beasley or prove to the coaches that he simply can’t be cut. Armstrong needs a great game on special teams and a long pass on offense to showcase his speed surely wouldn’t hurt.
Jeff Heath: When the rookie safety blasted the ball carrier last week to force a fumble against the Bengals, a consensus feeling trickled through the press box last Saturday night: Jeff Heath just made the team. That may be the case. Now, watch him Thursday night to see if he’s got a chance to make the 46. Forget the 53, Heath made it. Now we need to see if he’s good enough to actually suit up and play come Sept. 8 against the Giants. Watch how the Cowboys use Heath on special teams and how he does in extended time at safety. The team feels good enough about his potential to keep him around. But now we need to see if he’s ready to contribute right away.
Alex Tanney, QB: The Cowboys might have wanted to use him sparingly Thursday to avoid other teams from seeing him, but with Nick Stephens released, it appears there might be a heavy dose of Tanney. The Cowboys will have a difficult decision to make on the 53-man roster if Tanney plays exceptionally well. Let’s see if he can play his way onto this roster.
Sterling Moore, CB: Moore was one of the most physical corners during training camp, but he hasn’t stood out as much during the game. It would be surprising to see him left off the 53-man roster. He needs to make some more plays on the ball and demonstrate that same physicality in the games to ensure he’s safe from the cuts, with other corners behind him playing well.
Danny Coale, WR: If ever there was a time for Coale to show his stuff, this would be it. It’s a given that Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are going to sit against Houston, and Terrance Williams and Dwayne Harris probably won’t spend much time on the field, either. Coale said Tuesday that he’s finally getting back into some sort of comfort level after soreness in his knee sidelined him during training camp, and hopefully that shows in the game. Cole Beasley has probably already solidified his spot on the roster, and Anthony Armstrong is right behind him if the team decides to keep six wide receivers. A big night from Coale might be the only thing that saves him from the roster spot chopping block.
Cameron Lawrence, LB: Same logic applies. We’ve seen Lawrence on special teams and in some playing time, but the Texans game promises to be a much bigger audition. We know that Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Ernie Sims and Justin Durant have secured roster spots. DeVonte Holloman is a safe bet, given his fantastic preseason. That leaves probably one roster spot to fight for between Lawrence, Taylor Reed , Caleb McSurdy and Brandon Magee – if the Cowboys keep any of them at all. Thursday night would be a good time to show what all Lawrence can bring to the table.
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Houston Texans: SportsRadio 610 AM.
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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game
To watch on TV tonight, tune to:
CBS11/Cowboys TV in Dallas | KTRK-TV in Houston
Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)
When: Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. (Dallas time)
Where: AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium), Arlington, Texas
Live Stream: NFL Preseason Live
Watch on TV: No national coverage; check local listings
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PHILADELPHIA — The NFL has reached a tentative $765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players, agreeing to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research.
A federal judge announced the agreement Thursday after months of court-ordered mediation. It came just days before the start of the 2013 season.
More than 4,500 former athletes — some suffering from dementia, depression or Alzheimer’s that they blamed on blows to the head — had sued the league, accusing it of concealing the dangers of concussions and rushing injured players back onto the field while profiting from the kind of bone-jarring hits that make for spectacular highlight-reel footage.
The NFL long has denied any wrongdoing and insisted that safety always has been a top priority. But the NFL said Thursday that Commissioner Roger Goodell told pro football’s lawyers to “do the right thing for the game and the men who played it.”
The plaintiffs included Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.
Under the settlement, individual awards would be capped at $5 million for men with Alzheimer’s disease; $4 million for those diagnosed after their deaths with a brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy; and $3 million for players with dementia, said lead plaintiffs’ lawyer Christopher Seeger.
Any of the approximately 18,000 former NFL players would be eligible.
Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia announced the proposed agreement and will consider approving it at a later date.
The settlement most likely means the NFL won’t have to disclose internal files about what it knew, and when, about concussion-linked brain problems. Lawyers had been eager to learn, for instance, about the workings of the league’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, which was led for more than a decade by a rheumatologist.
In recent years, a string of former NFL players and other concussed athletes have been diagnosed after their deaths with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Those ex-players included Seau and lead plaintiff Ray Easterling, who filed the first lawsuit in Philadelphia in August 2011 but later committed suicide.
About one-third of the league’s 12,000 former players eventually joined the litigation. They include a few hundred “gap” players, who played during years when there was no labor contract in place, and were therefore considered likely to win the right to sue.
Download the complete press release PDF here.
Read the text of Brody’s order that outlines the proposed settlement here.