The Cowboys preseason ends tonight, which means the regular season and New York Giants are just around the corner. While there is still much to be sorted out, namely contract extensions for the team’s three biggest stars, tonight the team’s attention will be squarely on the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ahead of tonight’s game, here’s what to watch for!

Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
When: Thursday August 29th, 2019 at 7:00 PM CST
Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Players to watch

Brett Maher

The Cowboys have stuck by Maher throughout camp, riding out his inconsistencies with the hope he could break through behind the strength of his leg talent. It’s understandable really. There aren’t many quality kickers available at this stage of training camp, and Maher has shown an uncanny ability to be accurate from 50 yards+. The problem has been between 30 and 40 yards for the Nebraska kicker. If Maher runs out tonight, attempting anywhere from three or four kicks and misses a couple, unease will settle in for Cowboy fans, leaving the kicking game one of the clear weaknesses on an otherwise stacked team entering the regular season.

Devin Smith

Devin Smith is riding along the razor’s edge of making this roster. The team is already looking at a wide receiver corps of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, and probably Cedrick Wilson, their 6th round draft pick from last year. While Devin Smith has had himself an impressive camp, at the very least earning himself a place on the practice squad, he wasn’t a player drafted by the Cowboys. Dallas likes to keep their own draft picks for a couple of years at least, giving Wilson an edge potentially. But if Devin Smith, who has battled knee injuries throughout the first few years of his career, can make some plays tonight, reaffirming the positive aspects of his game, he could force the coaching staff’s hand into carrying a 6th wide out into the regular season.

Taco Charlton – specifically if he actually plays

Finishing off this list with the wildcard, Taco Charlton is coming off a pair of wonderful preseason performances, particularly his dominant performance against the Texans last week in which he recorded two sacks, forced two fumbles, recovered one and batted down a pair of passes. It all sounds great, but the problem has been Taco’s performance throughout training camp. While the former first round pick has improved, he’s also struggled with his attitude and toughness, appearing disinterested at times according to those in attendance.

With as stacked as the team’s defensive front is, Dallas could very well get creative in creating a roster space by potentially flipping Taco in a trade, something Stephen Jones mentioned as a real possibility earlier this week. While he didn’t mention Taco specifically, it would make sense to try and move the Michigan man now while he’s stock appears its highest since he was drafted. If Taco plays tonight, the indication will be that his spot on the roster is safe for now. But if he sits, it could signify that Dallas is protecting his value as they try to sort something out. While Dallas may only recoup a 5th rounder for Charlton, it’s better than nothing for a player who by his own admission is taking his agent’s lead rather than his coaches or staff.

Darreck W. Kirby

Founder of The Dallas Prospect, Darreck took a love for writing, analysis, and sports and brought them together in one site. Whether tracking the latest Cowboys stats and trends or breaking down film analysis for the latest flick, Darreck does it all.