Aug 4, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Know Your Opponent: Dallas Cowboys

As the Dolphins enter their third preseason game this evening against the Dallas Cowboys, the majority of the team’s starters on both sides are expected to see at least the first half of action.  In most cases, the team will also put their starters in for at least one series in the second half so as to test out half time adjustments.  For all intents and purposes, it’s a dress rehearsal for the regular season before many starters see only limited action in the final preseason game next week.

This weeks game sees the Dolphins pitted against the Cowboys, and in today’s NFL landscape each team has the potential to change a great deal from season to season.  The Cowboys were no stranger to upheaval this season, and the below can serve as a quick “cheat sheet” to some of the key moves the team made since the end of last season.

Free Agent Losses:

  • Demarcus Ware, DE/OLB
  • Miles Austin, WR
  • Jason Hatcher, DE
  • Phil Costa, C
  • Bradie James, LB
  • Kyle Orton, QB
  • Jon Kitna, QB

Key additions:

  • Brandon Weeden, QB
  • Zack Martin, OL (Draft)
  • Demarcus Lawrence, DE (Draft)
  • Henry Melton, DT
  • Rolondo McClain, LB

Key Injuries:

  • Sean Lee, LB: Undoubtedly the best player remaining on their defense, if not the team, this was a pivotal blow to an already suspect defense.
  • Tony Romo, QB: Fresh off of back surgery, and with a suspect offensive line and Brandon Weeden as a backup, there is no player remaining who would deal a bigger blow to the Cowboys chances this season if his back is unable to hold up.

 

The Cowboys lost both backup Quarterbacks this offseason, with Brandon Weeden coming in to replace them as the backup to Tony Romo (who is returning from back surgery).  Add to that their key losses on defense, and the loss of Miles Austin on offense, and this is a team that could be rapidly backpedaling from their 8-8 finish of a year ago.  Expect strong play from rookies DeMarcus Lawrence and Zack Martin in the trenches, and Henry Melton should be able to provide a decent showing along the defensive line as well.  This team just does not appear talented enough on paper to be a factor this season, despite having DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.  This team is one that could easily be selecting in the top 10 in next years NFL Draft.

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