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August 04, 2013

Cowboys vs. Dolphins: Five things to watch in the Hall of Fame game

There's lots to keep an eye Sunday night when the Cowboys start the preseason against the Miami Dolphins in the Hall of Fame game. Few of the starters are going to play, but there are plenty of other storylines. Here are five thingsto watch:

1. Alex Tanney. The No. 4 quarterback has moved past Nick Stephens in training camp, although it doesn’t show it on the depth chart. Tanney has shown a livelier arm, awareness out of the pocket, speed in his scrambles and what coach Jason Garrett calls an instinct for the game. If he can show accuracy tonight, he might take over the No. 3 snaps in practice.

2. Matt Johnson’s chance. This is the chance the second-year safety has been waiting for. Johnson did not play a game and hardly practiced last year as a rookie because of injuries. Now he has a chance to finally play and show why the Cowboys liked him so much, they kept him on the active roster more than half the year.

3. A play from J.J. Wilcox. This is the rookie safety that lit up camp in the first two weeks with his hitting and play-making. The coaches had to tell him to ease up on tackling his own teammates, which only made him chuckle. He said he’d rather be told to slow down than speed up.

4. The inside line. This will be rookie center’s Travis Frederick’s first game, but he’ll have to play without starting guards Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau. Instead, he’ll have to create communication chemistry with Ron Leary and David Arkin and organize the line against blitzes and stunts. Not to mention, create running room.

5. Joseph Randle. The rookie running back from Oklahoma State, drafted to help take a load off DeMarco Murray, didn’t practice in the off-season because of a thumb injury, and he was spotty in the first week of camp. But he scored two touchdowns in a goal-line drill last week, and his confidence is high.



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