Due to the devastating loss on Christmas Eve to the Seattle Seahawks last week, the Dallas Cowboys don’t really have anything left to play for in the last regular-season game of the year. With nothing on the line, this provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate some of the players on the roster. But, which players should play and who would the coaching staff decide to sit in order to get them on the field?
Those are the questions running through my head right now. I’m a firm believer of getting players on the field in situations like this when there is nothing left to play for. Yes, you want to see the Dallas Cowboys finish the season strong, but you don’t get very many opportunities like this to get some game film on some of your backup players.
I believe this is an opportunity the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff has to take advantage of. I mean, why not go ahead and get a jumpstart on the evaluation process to get a better understanding of your roster heading into the off-season?
Today, I’m going to share with you five players I am hoping the Dallas Cowboys choose to sit this week in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m hoping I don’t see any of these players suited up, and I wouldn’t be too upset if they didn’t even make the trip with the team to Philadelphia.
I honestly don’t believe there is any way Tyron Smith suits up this week, especially since he existed last week’s game against the Seahawks so early and didn’t return. But, I still wanted to make it abundantly clear. In fact, I don’t want to hear anything about Tyron Smith unless it’s how he’s planning on getting back to 100% before the season starts next year.
I’m hoping that he doesn’t even make the trip to Philadelphia and he spends his time getting treatment on his injuries, especially trying to find a way to prevent his back from flaring up. Maybe he can find the fountain of youth this off-season or find a time machine to take him back a few years to the dominant left tackle we all know and love. He is just too important to this organization to have recurring injuries like he battled through this year.
You may not have been fully aware, but like Tyron Smith, La’el Collins was also battling a back injury that kept him out of practices in the later part of the season. Collins didn’t miss a game, but it’s something that he needs to get taken care of before it gets worse. That is why I would personally sit him this week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Surprisingly enough, Collins has really solidified and upgraded the right tackle position for the Cowboys. But it’s his versatility that really makes him valuable next season and for years to come. For instance, if the Cowboys draft another tackle in the upcoming draft, they could kick Collins back inside to left guard. But for now, Collins has really solidified that right tackle position, which makes his future health important to the organization.
This is a meaningless game for the Dallas Cowboys, which means I don’t want to see their starting quarterback Dak Prescott on the field at all. This is especially true since I think it would be a smart move to sit both of their tackles (see above). Without the offensive lines bookends, I’m expecting to see a lot of pressure applied to the QB. That doesn’t benefit Prescott’s development at all and opens him up to a possible injury.
I would really like to see how Cooper Rush performs against starting caliber players in a game type situation that’s not preseason. The Cowboys need to figure out if Rush is capable of being their backup QB next season and what better way to do that than to get some actual game film of him. Plus, Prescott seems to perform better when he’s being pushed like he was last season when he had Tony Romo breathing down his neck.
I fully understand that Ezekiel Elliott just returned last week against the Seahawks from his six-game suspension, but there is nothing to gain by having him on the field this week against the Eagles. If we learned anything during his absence it is that the Cowboys offense is a different animal when he is on the field and they struggle without him.
I think the Cowboys should get Rod Smith more involved and allow him to carry the heavy workload against the Eagles. He has already proven to be a weapon in small doses this year, but I would really like to see how he performs when he handles the majority of the workload. The Cowboys will probably need to find a RB2 next year, so it would be wise to see how Rod Smith performs as the primary guy.
Sean Lee is another player I absolutely don’t want to see in pads against the Eagles in the season finale. He unfortunately has a tendency to sustain injuries at the worst time and I don’t want to put his 2018 availability in jeopardy. Like Ezekiel Elliott does for the offense, Sean Lee dramatically changes how the defense performs when he is not in the field.
I would like to see some of the younger linebackers the Cowboys have on the roster. They have received very little playing time this season, but this is a perfect opportunity to get them on the field. The linebacker position is arguably one of the Cowboys top priorities this off-season and without a doubt could use some new blood. Evaluating their current LBs is a good way to determine just how big of a need that actually is.