Time to stop pretending to care about baseball and performance enhancing drugs. No more need to act like we give a rat’s you-know-what about where Greg Oden will **play** next season.
If you don’t know who Greg Oden is, you’ve come to the right place.
Football season is back, and it’s here to stay.
Sunday marks the first game of the 2013 NFL season as the Dallas Cowboys will take on the Miami Dolphins in the pre-season’s annual Hall of Fame Game, played in Canton, OH.
Of course this is just a pre-season game, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be getting a football fix. There will be a number of unfamiliar faces out there for both teams, including at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, but here are five reasons to watch Sunday’s pre-season game, even if it’s got nothing to do with the final standings.
1. Breakout Players
Earlier this offseason, we took a look at the breakout players for every team in the NFL. Obviously we couldn’t cover every potential breakout player candidate, but we pinned three players from each team that could have a big year in 2013. Two players in particular that I’ll be looking out for are Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller and Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick.
Miller (MIA) is taking over for departed Reggie Bush, who is now with the Detroit Lions. This is a very exciting running back prospect who was great at the University of Miami before going in the fourth round to the Dolphins after concerns about a potential injury that could deteriorate over time. Miller is now expected to be the featured back for Miami, and depending on what the Dolphins coaches have planned for the starting unit, he could see extensive action in this first pre-season game to give the team a look.
Travis Frederick was the Cowboys’ first pick this season. After trading down in the first round, Dallas took Frederick over a lot of really talented prospects, but they obviously felt like he had a chance to be a critical piece of their offense. The new starting center of the Cowboys’ offensive attack is really a major pickup for them.
The Cowboys have had serious trouble with the center position the last couple of years, and Frederick could make a major difference in 2013.
2. Iowa Receivers
With former Iowa Hawkeyes offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe now the WR coach with the Miami Dolphins, the team has apparently listened to him as far as personnel goes, acquiring two former Hawkeye receivers this offseason.
The Dolphins picked up receiver Marvin McNutt when he was waived by the Philadelphia Eagles, and then they picked up Keenan Davis after he was let go by the Cleveland Browns.
In a pre-season game like this, the bottom of the roster guys are going to get a chance to prove themselves. The fact that Davis and McNutt know their position coach so well dating back to their college days gives them a bit of an edge, but they are going to have to prove themselves on the field. Both are bigger receivers with average speed, but were very productive for the Hawkeyes. McNutt is the career touchdowns leader at the position for Iowa.
The number four and five WR positions in Miami are definitely up for grabs.
3. Dion Jordan
We may not see much or any of Dion Jordan tonight, so he is pushed down the list a little bit. After recovering from injury, he just resumed full team drills on July 28th.
This is a very, very talented prospect and was the first defensive player selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. He is not expected to get the royal treatment, though, despite the Dolphins trading up to get him. In fact, there have been reports that he may even play some special teams.
Whatever Jordan’s role is, expect him to significantly upgrade the Dolphins’ pass rush sooner rather than later. Because he just resumed team drills, he will be very limited in tonight’s game if he plays at all.
4. Cowboys’ Young TE prospects
The Cowboys have an established star at TE in Jason Witten, but they have two very intriguing young prospects at the position in Gavin Escobar and James Hanna. Hanna was the star of the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine before going to the Cowboys in the sixth round of the draft. He is an athletic freak who could see a significant amount of action in the team’s first pre-season game as they try to get an idea of what their rotation will be this season.
Gavin Escobar was the team’s second round draft pick in 2013, and has excellent size and athletic ability as well. He is a very intriguing young playmaker who has the potential to be a red zone nightmare with all the other weapons the Cowboys have on their roster. I am really interested to see how this position battle shakes out.
5. J.J. Wilcox
The young Cowboys safety and 2013 third round pick is turning heads at training camp. In fact, he may be in line for a starting job sooner rather than later.
Keep an eye on number 27 in the Dallas secondary, you could be seeing a lot of him this season.