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    Dallas Cowboys’ Starters Don’t Need to Play in Preseason “Dress Rehearsal”

    The third game of the has long been considered the “dress rehearsal” game for NFL teams. It's the game where teams generally played their starters for at least a half and sometimes into the second half so that coaches and players could practice communicating adjustments during half time. With the conversation about the future of the preseason focused on reducing the number of exhibition games teams play, it's time for the to follow several other teams and sit their starters and principle role players for the third preseason game.

    The , among other teams, have made a conscious decision not to play their starters in the third preseason game for several years under Head Coach . And if you look back at how they've handled the preseason this , and , haven't played a single snap. They also haven't played , Robert Woods, or . The Rams have been one of the best offensive teams in the NFL but haven't played their primary skill position players in the preseason in two years.

    The Dallas Cowboys and every other team in the NFL can take a lesson. But based on a from Todd Archer of , the Dallas Cowboys have different plans. Even planning to play the oft-injured this weekend.

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    Why?

    There's very little reason at this point to play your starters and risk injuries that could derail what the Dallas Cowboys hope is a run. 's an old school coach from an older way of thinking that believes it's important to get those reps against live competition. To an extent, it is important to work on things against a team that doesn't know you as well as your own players. On the other hand, does the benefit outweigh the risk?

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    Last night, with the facing the New England Patriots in their third preseason game, took several big hits that led to him having to leave the game with a foot or ankle . Now, for Carolina's sake, they better hope it's a minor thing that will heal with some rest, because if Cam Newton has to miss an extended period of time, they can go ahead and write off the , especially in the South.

    With as effective as the first-team has looked in the first two preseason games, does it make sense to risk Dak Prescott or one of the other starters on offense to injury in order to get them more live competition?

    The is already ailing a bit with missing last week's matchup with the Los Angeles Rams due to yet another back issue. sat out the game in Hawaii as well with a bulging disc in his back that has held him out of practice as well. It's unlikely that either of these guys will play Saturday night along with any of the other players dealing with injuries right now. However, what's the point of playing the guys who aren't injured.

    Sure, this game could give Dak Prescott and some more reps to work on their chemistry or snaps for and to get in game shape after a year layoff. However, there's so much more to be lost than gained if one of the starters or primary role-players is injured in this game. Prescott and Gallup have looked great in practice. Frederick and Witten will work into game shape.

    You can't play football worried about players getting hurt, but you can save your risk-taking for a time when the games actually matter to your win-loss ledger. Let the back half of your 90 man roster get all the snaps they can get in this game and the next. Perhaps those extra snaps help the separate those players on the bubble for the .

    Though we will watch the game Saturday night to see what those Dallas Cowboys who do play are able to accomplish against the Houston Texans, we will be watching with bated breath. Hoping that the Dallas Cowboys don't suffer an injury that could derail their chances of contending for a Super Bowl.

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    John Williams
    John Williamshttps://anchor.fm/inside-the-cowboys
    Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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