Dallas Cowboys football is back! Well, kind of. The Dallas Cowboys open up preseason play against the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight in Canton, Ohio. It is the Hall of Fame Game and our first taste of football since February.

Dak Prescott will not be in action. Neither will be Amari Cooper or DeMarcus Lawrence. Very few significant players will be suiting up in preseason game one, for that matter. That said, there are still several things to be excited about.

From backup quarterback to position battles to veteran players needing to bounce back, there is plenty to keep an eye on when the Cowboys take the field. The Talkin’ The Star podcast highlighted a few players that could use a strong outing on Thursday evening.


  • Garrett Gilbert has an opportunity to solidify himself as QB2 for the Cowboys. With Prescott sidelined to due to some shoulder soreness, Gilbert is battling Cooper Rush, Ben DiNiccui, and potentially an outside free agent for the backup quarterback spot. A strong performance against Pittsburgh — similar to his regular season performance last year — would help ease some concerns that Dallas Cowboys fans have.

  • Brent Urban was signed this offseason and many expected the former Chicago Bears defensive lineman to have a prominent role for the Cowboys in 2021. While that still might be the case, Urban has been lost in the shuffle so far in training camp. Thursday night provides Urban to show the coaching staff what he brings to the table and why he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster.
  • Blake Jarwin entered last year with a ton of hype before his 2020 campaign was cut short due to a torn ACL in week one. Jarwin possesses exciting athleticism and playmaking ability, but the former undrafted tight end has yet to put together a full 16-game season. Dalton Schultz emerged for Dallas last year, so Jarwin needs a strong preseason in order to grab that TE1 spot.
  • The offensive line as a whole could use a solid outing on Thursday night. La’el Collin and Tyron Smith are set to be back this season, which brings confidence. Still, Connor Williams, Connor McGovern, Tyler Biadasz, Terrance Steele, and others are all battling for different spots in the trenches. The Hall of Fame Game provides an opportunity for them to solidify their roles on the Cowboys.


Featured image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports