Every coaching staff has a different approach when it comes to who plays in the preseason and how much, especially with most teams playing three exhibition games instead of four this year. The Cowboys are in a unique spot with four exhibitions this season and for this one against the Texans, head coach Mike McCarthy has indicated that his defensive starters will play most of the first half while certain offensive guys will sit this one out.
Texans head coach David Culley in turn signaled earlier that “everyone who is available will play this week”. The exact definition of available remains to be seen.
Dak Prescott is a no go as he’s still nursing a shoulder strain so the Cowboys will once again turn to Cooper Rush, Garrett Gilbert, and Ben DiNucci to take the reigns at QB.
We will not see Deshaun Watson for obvious reasons but Culley specifically said that Tyrod Taylor will get more work in at Dallas. Taylor threw just four passes in their 26-7 win over Green Bay last week.
Ezekiel Elliott will not play against the Texans so like last week, a bulk of the touches will be handled by a committee including JaQuan Hardy, Rico Dowdle, Brenden Knox, and Tony Pollard.
The green light for his starters to suit up means that Mark Ingram and Rex Burkhead are in play for Saturday’s festivities as well as Phillip Lindsay. How much they’ll actually play in the first half is a mystery.
Amari Cooper returned to Cowboys practice this week after missing a chunk of camp due to injury and the plan is for him to get a few snaps against the Texans as he works his way back into being 100% for the season opener.
Brandin Cooks should be active for Houston in the first half as well as Chris Conley, Keke Coutee, and Nico Collins.
I wouldn’t expect to see Dalton Schultz until the regular season as he’s nursing a minor ankle injury so you’ll see more of Blake Jarwin and Sean McKeon suit up for the Cowboys.
Jordan Akins will most likely get a few reps for Houston before passing the duties off to Pharaoh Brown.