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Dallas Cowboys 2015 Schedule Breakdown

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys 2015 Schedule Breakdown

It's here! It's here! It's here! The NFL 2015 Schedule is FINALLY upon us! Let's take a look at all of our matchups, how we've done against them most recently, and how we think we're going to do against them this year.

Week 1: Giants - September 13th @ 7:30pm CST on NBC

2015 Schedule - New York GiantsI’ve been waiting all February, March and April long for Sunday Night Football!

The New York Football Giants will be in town and on prime time as the Dallas Cowboys open the 2015 season. It’s no surprise to find the Cowboys on NBC’s Sunday Night Football; this will be the fifth time in the last ten seasons that the Cowboys begin their season in that time slot.

Last time we met…

The Cowboys and Giants last squared off at AT&T Stadium on October 19th, 2014. Gavin Escobar had a break-out day and snagged two TDs from Romo as the Cowboys cruised to a 31-21 win.

My prediction…

The Cowboys and Giants duo is no stranger to the Carrie Underwood anthem. They hit the field at Texas Stadium back in a 2007 season that began Romo’s first full year as the starter, and the Cowboys handled them 45-35.

In a rematch six years later - this time at Cowboys Stadium - the Cowboys rode six turnovers to a 36-31 win. Even though Odell Beckham Jr. might catch 10 amazing balls over Brandon Carr, I think the Cowboys’ offense will be too much for the “rebuilt” Giants secondary. 34-24, Cowboys.


Week 2: At Eagles - September 20th @ 3:25pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Philadelphia EaglesGet ready for the barrage of DeMarco Murray talk. It will be EVERYWHERE.

This game is on September 20th, which is approximately five months from the time of my writing this, so Chip Kelly will probably have executed 48 more trades and signed 83 new quarterbacks. This will undoubtedly be Fox’s America’s Game of the Week and will feature the always dreadful combo of Troy and Buck on the call.

Last time we met…

The last time that the Dallas Cowboys traveled to Philadelphia (December 14th, 2014), a lot hung in the balance.

Two weeks prior the Eagles thumped the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and seven days after that the Cowboys traveled to Chicago for a nice Bears beat down. It was very obvious that the winner of that game would take an extreme advantage for the division crown into the final stretch of the season.

The Cowboys jumped out to a 21-0 lead, survived 24 straight points from Philly, and found a way to put the game away, winning it 38-27.

My prediction…

The Eagles will have a shorter week than the Cowboys as they play the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night to start the season. There is a lot of media drama that is contingent on that game. Should there be no cohesion between all of Chip’s new toys, it’ll be a rough week for the former Duck Commander.

The Cowboys will know how important two straight division games are to start the year, and as last year’s 8-0 road warriors they should have no problem going into Philadelphia and getting the win. 30-16, Cowboys.


Week 3: Falcons - September 27th @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Atlanta FalconsBack to back birds. The Cowboys will come home from Philly only to play the team that the Eagles played to start the year, Atlanta.

Matt Ryan & Co. have had a difficult past two seasons. The change at head coach to Dan Quinn and the health of Julio Jones/Roddy White will most likely make them a better team. Justin Durant will be facing his former team and he’ll want to make a statement.

Last time we met…

The Cowboys most recently played the Falcons on November 4th, 2012 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Falcons were undefeated at the time and, while the Cowboys looked to break that streak, they ultimately fell short near the end by a score of 19-13.

My prediction…

Julio Jones scares me. Roddy White does not. Orlando Scandrick has really come on and, while he’s currently not reporting to voluntary workouts, he’s a very strong leader on this team. He’ll take away Julio to some degree and Atlanta will be forced to rely on an aging Roddy White.

Dez will be empowered by the Julio talk and have a great game. Cowboys improve to 3-0 by a margin of 24-10.


Week 4: At Saints - October 4th @ 7:30pm CST on NBC

2015 Schedule - New Orleans SaintsI hope you like crawfish because the first game in October features the Cowboys heading down to the Bayou!

Sunday Night Football against the Saints is starting to feel like home. It seems like these two teams always meet in such a contest and it’s always a touchdown palooza.

Last time we met…

The ‘Boys last played Payton & Brees on a Sunday Night back in Week 4 (September 28th, 2014) of the 2014 NFL season. It wasn’t close as the Cowboys got off to a super hot start and rode the wheels of DeMarco Murray to a 38-17 victory.

My prediction…

While Dallas’ last appearance in the Superdome was one of the more embarrassing ones in franchise history, I think that this time will be different. Jimmy Graham is gone. Kenny Stills is gone. The Saints are going to be forced to depend on Mark Ingram and Marques Colston.

They struggled offensively last year and unless they get something huge in the draft, they won’t be who we’ve seen them be in seasons past. Cowboys win a shootout, 45-30.


Week 5: Patriots - October 11th @ 3:25pm CST on CBS

2015 Schedule - New England PatriotsThe World Champs are coming to town, and they’ll most likely be coming in 4-0 against an equally 4-0 Dallas Cowboys team.

This has actually happened before. The two teams faced off, each at 5-0, on October 14th, 2007 at Texas Stadium. They were the two hottest offenses in the league. Marion Barber had the most incredible 2-yard gain in NFL history and the Patriots trounced the Cowboys 48-27.

This will be Tom Brady’s first visit to AT&T Stadium and it’s going to be a huge battle on America’s Most Watched Network.

Last time we met…

America’s Team traveled to Gillette Stadium on October 16th, 2011 to take on the New England Patriots and in a rare occasion wore their Cowboy navy uniforms. It was a low scoring affair that saw the Patriots win, 20-16.

My prediction…

Look, these are the World Champs. They are coached by a future Hall of Famer. They are quarterbacked by a future Hall of Famer. More than anything they always find a way to win. Being completely realistic the Cowboys could drop this game, and in absolutely no shame, take their first loss of the season 28-24.


Week 6: Bye Week


Week 7: At Giants - October 25th @ 3:25pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - New York GiantsRaise your hand if you’re pumped to be finished with the Giants before November. Go ahead, raise it!

The Cowboys will travel to Met Life Stadium in what is always a great game against the G-Men. By Week 7 teams have started to find their groove so this will undoubtedly be one of those classic NFC East battles that we all know and love.

Last time we met…

The last time that this team traveled to the Meadowlands, Brandon Carr was a part of a highlight that would live on forever in NFL history.

On a Sunday Night affair, Odell Beckham Jr. introduced himself to Mr. Car - and to the rest of the world - with his ridiculous one-handed catch. As great as that was, it wasn’t enough.

Romo led the Cowboys on an incredible game winning drive, that featured a final play in which he had no less than seven seconds to throw, and won 31-28.

My prediction…

Coach Garrett will have done quite a bit of studying after the New England loss and through the bye week. He and the staff understand how pivotal these division games can be, and what a luxury it would be to sweep the Giants before November.

In a strong defensive game, the Cowboys will establish themselves among the contenders and win 27-14.


Week 8: Seahawks - November 1st @ 3:25pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Seattle SeahawksAlas, another America’s Game of the Week. Troy and Buck will be oh so anxious to remind the world that the Cowboys stormed into Seattle last year (a game that Joe Buck did not call due to his World Series conflicts) for an impressive and season-defining win.

The Seahawks will be hungry and looking to dispel the theory that the Cowboys have their number.

Last time we met…

Do I really need to remind you? Seriously, if you don’t know then throw away your computer right now. The Cowboys took it hard to the - at the time - defending World Champion Seahawks in THEIR HOUSE on October 12th, 2014 by a score of 30-23.

The victory put the Cowboys on the NFL map as a team that was to be taken seriously, and a team that could run the ball on anyone.

My prediction…

As much as I would love to believe that we do have Seattle’s number and that they are a different team on the road, they play with a ferocity that is very rare in the NFL. They will be very focused and determined to wax the Cowboys.

Even though the offense will score on their famed Legion of Boom, Seattle will edge us out 28-21.


Week 9: Eagles - November 8th @ 7:30pm CST on NBC

2015 Schedule - Philadelphia EaglesPrepare yourself. The DeMarco Murray & Chip Kelly - and potentially Tim Tebow - train is rolling into town. The story lines will be everywhere.

DeMarco Murray returning to face his former team, Chip Kelly’s new toys and how they’re jiving together, and if Tim Tebow is the quarterback, God have mercy on us all.

Last time we met…

We last hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving of 2014. It was a nightmare from start to finish as the Eagles steamrolled the Cowboys 33-10.

A lot of Cowboys fans like to give the team a pass on this game, as the players had a very short week. They played the Giants in New York on a Sunday night and had to turn around and play Philly less than four days later.

My prediction…

The Cowboys did very well on NBC’s Sunday Night Football last year, going 3-0. We’re a team that does well under the lights and the DeMarco Murray factor will help get the team hyped for the game. Cowboys win decisively 38-20.


Week 10: At Buccaneers - November 15th @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Tampa Bay BuccaneersThis game will feature the Cowboys traveling to Tampa Bay to play what will - in all likelihood - be this year’s number one overall draft selection, Florida State’s Jameis Winston.

Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium is one of the most iconic throughout the NFL, featuring a wooden ship that fires off cannons when the Bucs score. They go relatively unused...

Last time we met…

America’s Team hosted Greg Schiano’s version of the Buccaneers on September 23rd, 2012 at Cowboys Stadium. It was a sub par game in terms of excitement, although the Cowboys did win 16-10.

The biggest storyline surrounding this game was that Greg Schiano was one week off of his infamous attack-the-knee strategy against the New York Giants.

My prediction…

Assuming this team will be led by Jameis Winston, their offense isn’t exactly a pushover.

He’ll have huge targets in Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins to choose from. Let’s not forget that Gerald McCoy will be rushing Romo at will. I think this game will catch the Cowboys off guard and with the team coming off of a huge win against Philly, they might get lackadaisical and drop this one.

Tampa takes advantage of an emotionally spent Cowboys team, 24-21.


Week 11: At Dolphins - November 22nd @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Miami DolphinsBack to back trips to the Sunshine State! The Cowboys will come home after a so-so performance in Tampa and begin preparation for Ndamukong Suh.

This game is also a rematch of Super Bowl VI (the first one that the Cowboys won) and a game against a former high-profile Texas high school quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.

Last time we met…

The last Super Bowl VI rematch happened on Thanksgiving 2011. It was a very different Dolphins team than we have today. Matt Moore hitting Brandon Marshall for a TD while Terrence Newman interfered with him is enough proof of that.

While the Dolphins weren’t an exceptional team in 2011, they gave the Cowboys a run for their money. In the end it wasn’t enough and the Cowboys beat them on a last second field goal (in Dan Bailey’s rookie year, I might add) to get the win 20-19.

My prediction…

This is the game before Thanksgiving. The Cowboys have made it a habit of making this game exciting. In 2011 they kicked a field goal (Dan Bailey the rookie again!) in overtime to beat the Redskins in Washington 27-14.

In 2012 they went to overtime again, this time at home against backup QB Brandon Weeden’s lowly Browns team, and Dan Bailey kicked us to a 23-20 victory.

2013 didn’t go to overtime, but it was a stressful finish as Tony Romo summoned all energy in New York and led a game winning drive that Dan Bailey finished to give us the 24-21 win.

2014 saw us in New York before Thanksgiving again - and Odell Beckham Jr. blow up again - but it was déjà vu as Tony Romo led an amazing fourth quarter comeback drive that he finished with a touchdown to Dez Bryant to seal the 31-28.

The Dolphins will be contenders in 2015 and, if history is any indicator, this will be a close Cowboys win decided by three points. Give me a 34-31 Cowboys win and stretchy pants to get ready for Thanksgiving!


Week 12: Panthers - November 26th @ 3:25pm CST on CBS

2015 Schedule - Carolina PanthersThis will be the Carolina Panthers’ first appearance on Thanksgiving in their franchise’s history. It will be Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly and Kelvin Benjamin facing off against the Thanksgiving veterans.

It’s always great to get a bit of a throwback feel on Thanksgiving and see an NFC matchup on CBS. The navy Cowboys uniforms against the Panthers whites aren’t the greatest uniform matchup, but it’ll be a nice deviation from the norm.

Last time we met…

The last time we played the Panthers actually did feature Cowboys navy uniforms against their whites. It was October 21st, 2012 and a pretty snooze fest of a game. Ultimately the Cowboys won, with an awkward score, 19-14.

Two things stand out to me about this game:

  1. Morris Claiborne got his first career interception in this game. It was a tipped pass that sort of fell in his lap. Hopefully he can return to some sort of prominence in his 2015 campaign.
  2. I watched this game with some family and one person foolishly said that the Cowboys needed to trade Dez Bryant. Thank God we didn’t! Ha!

My prediction…

The Panthers will possess a high level of moxie as they step out under the Thanksgiving lights. The Cowboys will do all that they can to survive a short week, off of a big win in Miami.

Cam Newton is going to be a lot to contain, but Greg Hardy will be out to prove himself against his former team. The Cowboys have historically had a tough little window around this time of year and I think that they’ll drop this game. A game that Most will attribute to the short week syndrome.

Panthers take this one 27-17.


Week 13: At Redskins - December 7th @ 7:30pm CST on ESPN

2015 Schedule - Washington RedskinsDUN DUN DUN DUN! Monday. Night. FOOTBALL.

It’s always exciting to get under the Monday Night anthem and play some pigskin. As much as I can’t stand the Redskins, there is nothing like a prime time game there; it’s got that classic NFC East vibe to it and always makes for a great game.

Who knows what the status will be with their quarterback situation at the time? Will it be RGIII? Kirk Cousins? Colt McCoy? Or will they actually make a move for Marcus Mariota?

Last time we met…

The Cowboys traveled to FedEx Field (Who am I kidding, it’ll always be RFK) for the 2014 regular season finale. It was an exciting game that saw two Cowboys records broken.

  1. DeMarco Murray broke Emmitt Smith’s record for most yards rushed for in a single season and,
  2. Dez Bryant broke Terrell Owens’ record for most touchdown receptions in a single season.

The 44-17 victory marked the Cowboys 12th win of the regular season and their 8th on the road, giving them a perfect road record for 2014.

My prediction…

The Cowboys will have a nice little mini bye after Thanksgiving that will give them 11 full days of rest before they have to lace them up again.

They have shown that they have the ability to win on the road, and Washington has shown that they will always implode. The Cowboys will start December off on the right foot and get a nice win, 38-16.


Week 14: At Packers - December 13th @ 3:25pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Green Bay PackersLambeau Field. It is the holy grail of professional football.

This game has everything you could possibly want. Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Mike McCarthy, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Garrett; and a rematch of one of the more exciting playoff games in recent memory.

This will challenge the record books as one of the most viewed games in history as its only competition for the day is a Broncos/Raiders matchup. Troy and Buck will be on the call and they’ll be talking about one thing all week… Dez Bryant’s catch (uh huh, I said catch).

Last time we met…

The Cowboys made the trek to the Frozen Tundra for last year’s Divisional Round of the Playoffs. While many gave the Packers a free pass to the NFC Championship game, the Cowboys would have none of it.

They withstood the injured Aaron Rodgers and were in line to put the game away before DeMarco Murray fumbled at the Cowboys 41 yard line early in the third quarter. The battle went back and forth and eventually saw the Packers take a 26-21 lead. Tony Romo mounted a comeback drive and on 4th and 2 from the Green Bay 32, launched a deep pass to the direction of Dez Bryant.

You all know what happened. An atrocious rule took precedence over what would have been one of the greater catches in NFL history, and the Packers booked their ticket to Seattle.

My prediction…

Dez Bryant will go off. I’m talking 200+ yards. He is going to be out to make a statement in this game. Yes, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will score some points; but Dez and the Cowboys are going to approach this game the way they approached Seattle in 2014.

It’s theirs and they’re going to take it in what will be one of the greater games of the 2015 NFL season, 45-41.


Week 15: Jets - December 19th @ 7:25pm CST on NFL Network

2015 Schedule - New York JetsThe Rex Ryan-less J-E-T-S will make their way to AT&T Stadium in one of the two Saturday night games of the 2015 season. These games are always so much fun as college football has reached a standstill so Saturdays are available for our perusal.

The Jets have a newly rebuffed secondary (Revis and Cromartie back for round two) that will be a big talk all week, but the Cowboys' win over Green Bay will be the bigger story as the Cowboys begin their run at securing a first round bye.

Last time we met…

These two teams last squared off on the ten-year anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies in American history, September 11th, 2011.

The Cowboys kicked off the Sunday Night Football game to begin the 2011 season in New York and the Ryan brothers (Rex and Rob) got a whole bunch of love. It was a really unorganized game for the Cowboys that saw some fourth quarter mistakes result in a 27-24 Jets win.

My prediction…

The Cowboys will have begun to catch fire by this point in the season. They will have the division and a first round bye well in sight and look to take advantage of a Jets team that has been fairly weak for the last few years.

It’ll be great to get this win locked up on a Saturday night and enjoy the Christmas decorations as Dem Boyz cruise to an easy 41-17 victory.


Week 16: At Bills - December 27th @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Buffalo BillsYou thought you dodged Rex Ryan when we played the Jets, didn’t you? Rex is going to talk his way all the way up to the sidelines all week-long before this matchup.

The Cowboys will have to face LeSean McCoy for the last time for four years (barring ANOTHER Cowboys and Bills Super Bowl in that time span) and all of Buffalo’s other offseason acquisitions: Percy Harvin, Charles Clay and Matt Cassel.

Last time we met…

The Cowboys and Bills squared off on November 13th, 2011 in a game that was never close. The Cowboys scored quick and early and often riding Laurent Robinson (two touchdowns that day) to an easy 44-7 win.

One of the more notable moments was when Bills receiver David Nelson caught a touchdown and handed the ball to his girlfriend Kelsi Reich… who was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader! The story was everywhere and was a lot of fun.

The Cowboys last traveled to Orchard Park for a Monday Night game in early October of 2007. It was one of Tony Romo’s more memorable performances as he threw five interceptions and fumbled once… and still led the Cowboys to a 25-24 win.

My prediction…

There will most likely be some type of clinch scenario at this point (assuming I’m a prophet and everything that I’ve said comes true). The Cowboys will likely be able to clinch the division and/or a first round bye with this victory.

They’ll come out strong, but so will the Bills. Rex will absolutely get his team up to play America’s Team and The Ralph is an underrated place to play. I think it’ll be close and low scoring, but the Cowboys will pull it off 20-13.


Week 17: Redskins - January 3rd @ 12:00pm CST on Fox

2015 Schedule - Washington RedskinsHappy New Year! Hopefully you got Cowboys gear for Christmas and are excited to see us finish the regular season against Dan Snyder and his band of misfits.

In all likelihood this game will (hopefully) be meaningless, as we have secured enough to make us feel comfortable heading into the playoffs. The Cowboys and Redskins matchups are never boring, though, so this will surely be exciting… and not just because it’s your fantasy football Super Bowl.

Last time we met…

The last time that Washington visited AT&T Stadium is hard to truly evaluate. Tony Romo was infamously knocked out of the game, and later returned, while Brandon Weeden was unable to do much and we got a very scary look at what life without Romo looks like.

The Cowboys lost in overtime 20-17 to a Colt McCoy led team and had to deal with a very long week of sadness and unknown.

My prediction…

Coach Garrett showed last season in Washington that he will play his guys no matter what we’ve secured. I think that we’ll play the guys for a bit, but the Redskins will have too much pride on the line and win a low scoring affair 20-16, while we smile and get ready for the playoffs.

Obviously there is a lot yet to be determined about the 2015 NFL season. The NFL Draft is quickly approaching and that will drastically influence the composition of all of these teams.

Unfortunately, injuries will happen. As will the most improbable and unforeseen things… this is the NFL, right? The important thing is that the NFL Schedule is here, which can only mean one thing: the 2015 NFL Season is quickly approaching and trying to get to us as fast as it can!

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys 2015 Schedule Breakdown" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!


Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez



Rookie Report: Which Cowboys Draft Picks Stood Out Against the 49ers?

In the NFL, the third preseason week is often referred to as the "Dress Rehearsal." It's usually the week in which starters get the most playing time. That has changed lately, with plenty of teams deciding to take care of their key players instead of risking them on the field. However, the Dallas Cowboys have played their starters on their first two games and there's no reason to believe that will change versus the Texans today.

Here is my wishlist for the Cowboys vs Texans "Dress Rehearsal!" Let me know what your wishes for tonight's game are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!

Wish #1: Justin Phillips Locks Up a Roster Spot

Phillips has been one of the most surprising players this offseason and preseason. The Cowboys are set at linebacker, but Phillips has made sure to be a tough guy to cut. Last week, he had a remarkable interception against the Rams. Despite making a first step toward the line, he managed to adjust and made the play. He has followed it up with more plays in practice.

If he keeps it up, the Cowboys won't be able to cut him. He has the potential to be a force on special teams and a quality backup.

Can WR Devin Smith Sneak Onto the Dallas Cowboys 53-Man Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Devin Smith (AP Photo / Josie Lepe)

Wish #2: Devin Smith Makes Things Interesting

The battle for the final wide receiver spots is at full-go. Devin Smith has shined lately, and has risen as a serious candidate to make the roster. However, it seems like other wide receivers have the upper-hand as of now. Earlier this week, I made my Cowboys WR Power Rankings and had Devin Smith at #7.

His TD catch versus the Rams last week was pretty impressive, and I wish he makes a few more plays to make the debate all the more interesting.

Wish #3: Tony Pollard Does It Again

Fifth-round rookie Tony Pollard stole was the show last weekend as he racked up 51 total yards (five carries, one catch) and a touchdown on Dallas' first offensive drive. He looked impressive as the starting running back, giving us just what we wanted to see.

While many have advertised him as a gadget player, Pollard proved he can actually be a "standard" RB. He ran between the tackles, showed power, balance and great vision. I'm ready to watch it again, this time versus the Texans.

Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Wish #4: Taco Charlton Shines Rushing The Passer

Taco Charlton has made a couple of plays in preseason on his third year with the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Rams, he batted down two passes and looked good separating from opposing offensive linemen. Charlton has gotten praise from some analysts during these first two preseason weeks.

But I want to watch some quality pass rush from his part. Right now, the Cowboys' roster counts with some promising players, including rookies Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson. While they're currently below Taco, he must prove he belongs on the roster.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Player News

Cowboys’ Tight End Marcus Lucas with Huge Opportunity vs the Houston Texans

John Williams



Cowboys' Tight End Marcus Lucas with Huge Opportunity vs the Houston Texans

With only two preseason games remaining, opportunities to make a statement are growing thin. The Dallas Cowboys have very few spots on the roster available, especially at the tight end position where Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz appear to have the depth chart locked down. The problem is, Jarwin and Schultz have been dealing with injuries and missed the second preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams and probably won't play against the Houston Texans tonight.

Enter Marcus Lucas.

Marcus Lucas hasn't been a member of the Dallas Cowboys for very long, but he's already made an impact.

In his first preseason game with the Dallas Cowboys, Lucas caught four passes on four targets for 20 yards. His receptions went for two, seven, five, and six yards for an average of five yards per reception. He did have a holding penalty that cost the Dallas Cowboys 10 yards on a first down play that didn't go anywhere anyway.

Though Lucas has bounced around NFL practice squads, he's never really found a home. After going undrafted in 2014, Lucas was signed by the Carolina Panthers in May of that year but wasn't able to stick on the 53-man roster and was released and placed on the practice squad. In 2015, he was on the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears practice squads. In 2016, the Panthers brought him back in the summer after the Bears released him from their 90-man roster. That September after cut-down day, the Seattle Seahawks signed Lucas to their practice squad where he spent all of 2016. From 2017 to the end of 2018, Lucas spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions, the Seattle Seahawks again, and the San Francisco 49ers. He was with the 49ers in 2019 before joining the Dallas Cowboys about two weeks ago and will get an extended run in these final two preseason games.

At Thursday's practice, Lucas was the only tight end available with Jason Witten getting a rest day and Jarwin, Schultz, and fellow Tight End Cody McElroy dealing with injuries.

Todd Archer on Twitter

With Jason Witten getting a day of rest, Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz and Codey McElroy injured, the Cowboys have one tight end practicing today: Marcus Lucas, who has been with the team for about two weeks.

It's possible that Lucas may get an extended amount of playing time tonight with an opportunity to show the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL that he's ready to land on a 53-man roster. With likely only Jason Witten being the only other tight end active for the game against the Houston Texans, Lucas will get a lot of playing time. If his last preseason exposure is any indication, he'll get the chance to display his receiving prowess.

At 27, Lucas likely has few opportunities left to make his mark for an NFL franchise. On a team that proclaims the "next man up" as a battle cry, after Witten, Lucas is the next man up for tonight and depending on his performance could make the Dallas Cowboys front office or another front office around the league take notice.

Depending on the long-term health of the Dallas Cowboys' tight end position, Lucas may find his path to a roster spot simply dependent upon the health of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. Though a job may not come with the Dallas Cowboys, tonight is an extremely important audition for his next suitor. How he performs tonight could land Marcus Lucas a job after the Dallas Cowboys trim the roster to 53 next week.

They say "preseason games don't matter," but to Marcus Lucas, this might be the most important game of his career.

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Dallas Cowboys

Don’t Forget Special Teams Value in Cowboys Roster Decisions

Jess Haynie



C.J. Goodwin

Building a 53-man roster in the NFL is a complex formula, requiring balance between numerous positions on each side of the ball. But what often gets overlooked in our analysis as outsiders is special teams, and that's a huge factor for many of the Dallas Cowboys players hoping to make it past final cuts.

Some players have survived in the league by being just good enough at their listed positions but excelling in special teams roles. You may think of former Dallas safety Bill Bates, who was personally responsible for a special teams player being made part of the annual Pro Bowl roster. A more recent example would be Keith Davis, who was an adequate safety but a special teams ace for several seasons.

To be sure, someone is going to be on this 2019 Cowboys more for their special teams value than their actual offensive or defensive ability. Who might he, or they, be?

One candidate is veteran Cornerback C.J. Goodwin. He is considered an exceptional talent in coverage on punts, which is probably the only reason he's still in the NFL today. At age 29, Goodwin has never really emerged as a consistent contributor on defense.

Young players like Donovan Olumba or rookie Michael Jackson, if not already superior cornerbacks to Goodwin, have far more upside to keep on the roster. But

considering how little they may get on the field anyway as the fifth or sixth corners, you can see why special teams value becomes so important. It may be the only time you actually see them in the game.

If the Cowboys don't want to lose a young prospect but can't let go of Goodwin's special teams ability, it may prompt them to go long at the CB position. But that means taking a roster spot from some other position, and thus the balancing act continues.

Don't Forget About RB Jordan Chunn in the Cowboys Backfield

Dallas Cowboys RB Jordan Chunn

Another player to watch in this discussion is second-year an Running Back Jordan Chunn. He doesn't have Alfred Morris' experience or maybe Mike Weber or Darius Jackson's rushing talent, but he has been showing up on the special teams units.

Yesterday, Cowboys insider Bryan Broaddus called Chunn "a better Rod Smith" in analyzing his chances of making the roster. If you don't recall, Jaylon's older brother was a solid RB but a standout special teams player in his few years with Dallas.

As we just mentioned with the 5th/6th CB slots, the third running back is not a guy you expect to see much on offense. That will be especially true this year as Dallas will be struggling just to give rookie Tony Pollard the touches he deserves as the number-two RB.

Given that, special teams play becomes vital for the value of whoever is behind Zeke and Pollard on the depth chart. If Jordan Chunn is superior to his competition in that regard, it could negate whatever he lacks as an actual running back.

This same conversation can be had throughout the roster. It's why Noah Brown might make the team over more traditionally gifted receivers, or why a certain linebacker or safety might be more valued than others.

We make the common mistake of referring to "both sides of the ball" when we talk about football teams. There are three sides; special teams can't be underestimated. It will certainly play a part in how the Dallas Cowboys finalize their 53-man roster this season and in years to come.

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