Around the 32 teams in the National Football League right now, there is a sense of hope and anticipation for what lies ahead with a new slate of 16 games standing in their way on the path towards Super Bowl 51.
Before teams can focus on the regular season though, they must first get through the rest of OTAs and minicamp, followed by training camp, then finally four preseason games.
The Dallas Cowboys preseason schedule has been known for some time (and you can click here to view it on Inside The Star), but the kickoff times were not released until earlier this week.
Here is exactly when our Cowboys will be playing football during the preseason – tuning up for what hopes to be an exciting 2016 season.
|1||@ LA Rams||7 PM|
|2||vs. MIA Dolphins||7 PM|
|3||@ SEA Seahawks||9 PM|
|4||vs. HOU Texans||7 PM|
The Cowboys will be opening the Rams new Los Angeles home on the night of August 13th, with the game being televised on ESPN. While week 1 of the preseason may not be the full game-day experience for either fan base, there is going to be a lot of excitement in the building and plenty of on-the-field story lines.
Dallas will be fresh out of their training camp in Oxnard, California, which is sure to feature tons of competition for playing time and roster spots. This 7 PM kickoff time against the Rams will mark the first time these players get to suit up in the star and show these coaches what they can do against live competition.
After evaluating the roster in a spotlight game at LA’s Memorial Coliseum, the Cowboys next opportunity to do so will come in a week 2 return to AT&T Stadium against the Dolphins. Of course, Miami was one of the few teams Dallas managed a win against last season, thanks to the short-lived return of a healthy Tony Romo.
While we don’t know how much of Romo we will see in this game, or any of the preseason schedule, it will still be fun to see that moment from 2015 come full circle as the Cowboys use this game as merely another stepping stone towards the regular season.
If playing the Dolphins at home is a stepping stone, traveling to Seattle for a late-night date with the Seahawks is the equivalent of being forced to dive right off the docks into treacherous waters. Known as the “dress rehearsal” game by many, this point in the preseason is often used by coaches and teams to play their starters in the most action before week 1 of the regular season.
If this is the case, young players like Ezekiel Elliott, La’el Collins, Ryan Russell, and a host of other key offensive and defensive contributors will receive much needed reps against a stout defense with the “12th Man” crowd noise also playing a factor.
With this match up, both teams win, as Pete Carroll and Jason Garrett should both walk away from the game knowing a lot more about their football teams.
Garrett will then take the Cowboys back home to end the preseason against the Houston Texans. Last year, the Cowboys found themselves in the same situation, earning a home win against Houston to end the preseason at 1-3.
No matter what the record is for the Cowboys coming out of the 2016 preseason, the important thing to keep in mind is these kickoff times. As coaches and scouts piece together the final roster, we now know when to tune in to do so alongside them from our living rooms.
Of course, throughout the preseason, you can follow us all here on Inside The Star for tons of news and analysis! Be sure to interact with our fan account on Twitter as well by following @CowboysNation!