Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC East [Print without images]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Cowboys gear up for Governor's Cup

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said earlier in the week that it was time for his starters to get some more playing time. He said there's a fine line in deciding how much to play his top players, but acknowledged the Cowboys were "well below that line."

It's probably a good time to start ramping things up since the Houston Texans and their fan base will treat Friday's exhibition like a regular-season game. Given the choice of beating the Cowboys in August or winning the season-opener, I'm honestly not sure which direction Texans fans would go.

But let's get back to Phillips, a central figure in the HBO drama "Hard Knocks," which airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET. He said the Cowboys had their best practice of the preseason Tuesday, which coincidentally, occurred with safety Roy Williams on the sideline with tendinitis in his knee.

Since my "national writer" status prevents me from viewing practice, Tim MacMahon of DallasNews.com was kind enough to file a full report.

Any guesses on what the main story line will be on "Hard Knocks" tonight? It's interesting that quarterback Tony Romo has, up to this point, been in a supporting role. I heard the folks from NFL Films talk about how they would not go out of their way to pursue the Romo-Simpson angle, but quite frankly, I didn't believe them.

I still have a sneaking suspicion that Jessica (or at least Papa Joe) will make an appearance. Recently, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked if he would welcome the cameras for the entire season.

After hesitating for a few moments, he answered yes. And since Jerry's in charge of pumping life into the NFL Network, this would make for some solid programming.