The Dallas Cowboys enter a pivotal season for head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff. The process of building a winner hasn’t unfolded as smoothly as the team would like as multiple receivers continue to miss time as they recover from injuries. Meanwhile, the offensive line has new pieces and the process of gelling could take an extended period of time.
The situation looks quite different for the Los Angeles Chargers. Their key pieces on offense look healthy and dangerous and the offensive line, a long-time issue for the franchise, has only one real question mark as the regular-season nears. This week’s preseason game will mostly help determine which players end up in complementary roles on offense rather than starters.
While the Cowboys probably won’t expose their top offensive players again, rookie Jalen Tolbert should see plenty of work again. The third-round pick did little with his seven targets last week, but the passing game needs someone to step up and take some of the burden off CeeDee Lamb, especially with James Washington and Michael Gallup still on the mend. Look for Tolbert to stay on the field through at least the first half.
Which Cowboys will play, expected inactives
We sh0uld get a lot of Will Grier at the helm.
Jerry Jones said on @1053thefan that Cowboys QB Will Grier will get “at least two quarters” of work tonight. Grier is battling with Cooper Rush for the team’s backup job— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 21, 2022
We won’t see Dak Prescott tonight.
Dak Prescott working out before the Cowboys-Chargers preseason game in which he won’t play. Ezekiel Elliott the QB spy in pursuit. pic.twitter.com/LETwndWuFX— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 20, 2022
Second-year back Joshua Kelley had a strong showing in last week’s preseason game. With starter Austin Ekeler likely sitting out again, Kelley could cement his status as the primary backup. Rookie running back Isaiah Spiller didn’t register a carry until late in the second quarter last week, but he’ll have to do more with his touches this time around. The Texas A&M product trailed Kelley in rushing efficiency (3.4 yards per attempt versus 5.3) as well as receiving production (10 yards versus 28).
Meanwhile, young wideouts Josh Palmer and Joe Reed will see extended runs as they compete for jobs. Palmer seems destined to serve as the third receiver in 11 personnel groups while Reed could have a more gadget-type role in the offense.
Which Chargers will play, expected inactives
The starters will not play tonight, per the Los Angeles Times.