Colts defensive end Robert Mathis could have a huge day against Dallas this season as the Cowboys continue to be in a quandry over who will claim the starting right tackle position. Veteran Jason Fabini and former first-round pick Marc Colombo have been befuddled during camp by Greg Ellis, who plays outside linebacker on that side in the team's 3-4 defensive scheme. Ellis is a talented player, but he's no Robert Mathis. The team is reportedly considering going with the more mobile Tony Romo at quarterback this season over Drew Bledsoe. That move could prove to be wise, at least for their matchup with Indy.Former Jacksonville linebacker Akin Ayodele is expected to start the season at inside linebacker, but he's not a shoe-in. Rookie Bobby Carpenter out of Ohio State has been progressing well and could challenge him before long. He's expected to initially see time as their nickel linebacker.
Players to get to know before November 19th: Another rookie to keep an eye on leading up to the Cowboys' matchup against the Colts is safety Pat Watkins out of Florida State (click here to see photos of him). The team is so intrigued by his almost 6-foot-5 stature, his long arms and his field presence that they may be tempted to sit starter Keith Davis to get him out there sooner rather than later this season.
If Watkins breaks into the starting lineup, it'll be interesting to see which team gains the biggest advantage -- Dallas because of his 5-inch height advantage while defending either Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne on deep routes, or Indianapolis as the talented duo use their excellent route-running skills to take advantage of the rookie.
If you haven't seen the Cowboys lately, you may not be familiar with Bradie James. The linebacker was drafted back in 2003 out of LSU with Dallas' fourth-round selection and has been gradually and quietly improving. But now he's being touted as a potential Pro Bowler and the leader of the Dallas defense. Peyton Manning will have to be aware of him on every play.
Head coach Bill Parcells took note of his progress last November when he said, "He doesn't have a lazy bone in his body. He's never been late to anything, and he's never missed anything -- he's a great teammate. He's just had to learn how to do it."