Saturday, August 24, 2013
Doug Free is someone to watch tonight
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- We've got five things to watch in the Cowboys' fourth preseason game Saturday night, against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium.
1. Doug Free. With the offensive line dealing with health issues in the interior and some ineffective play, the right tackle moves to the right guard spot with the first-team offense. Free has never played guard in the NFL, college or high school. He started working at guard this week at Valley Ranch, and one team official said he looked pretty good. We'll see how he performs against the Bengals' front of Domata Peko and Geno Atkins.
2. First-team offense. With Tony Romo at the helm this preseason, the offense has scored three points. It has turned the ball over twice and had a field goal blocked. Romo will stay on the field for the entire first half, and, if things go badly again, expect him to get a series in the third quarter, as well. The Cowboys have produced some positive plays with Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, but Jason Witten doesn't have a catch in the preseason. Expect DeMarco Murray to get at least five or six carries in this game.
3. George Selvie. The free-agent defensive end came on strong in the Hall of Fame game, but has slowed down since. If Anthony Spencer isn't ready for the regular-season opener against the New York Giants, Selvie will start at end. This will be his most significant snaps since the first preseason game, and he needs to show some consistency.
4. B.W. Webb. The rookie cornerback is athletic and smart, but still a rookie. He has made some mistakes in pass coverage, but his status isn't in question because the Cowboys like his upside. However, Webb needs to show some improvement here, and he will get plenty of playing time with Morris Claiborne out with a sore knee.
5. Special teams. We've got two muffed punts, two penalties on punt returners, a blocked field goal and a 51-yard kickoff return allowed by the special-teams unit. It hasn't been a smooth summer for Rich Bisaccia's group. He's mixing and matching personnel and wants to use starters on these units, but he's not afraid to play rookies. Regardless, this group has to play better.