5 Questions for the Preseason Finale

The Dallas Cowboys face off with the Minnesota Vikings in their final preseason game before the 2006 regular season opener at Jacksonville Thursday evening. TheRanchReport.com takes a look at five questions entering tonight's matchup.

#5. Will T.O. Play?
Will Terrell Owens step onto the field for the first time wearing the silver and blue? Bill Parcells says he's leaving it up T.O. "I think if he feels okay tomorrow we might dress him," Parcells said. "If he feels like he wants to get some plays, then we'll think about it. If not, we won't." The Cowboys want Owens ready for the season opener and playing him tonight would be a big step in that direction.

#4. Can Vandy do it all?
The Cowboys will test kicker Mike Vanderjagt Thursday night in more ways than one. While he'll likely get several opportunities to kick field goals, he'll also handle at least one kickoff. It may not sound like a big deal, but a roster spot could be on the line for another player when Vanderjagt approaches the ball for his first kickoff attempt of the preseason. If he does well, Parcells may elect to utilize him in that role for the early part of the regular season, which would save the Cowboys from having two kickers on their 53-man roster. If Vanderjagt can't do it, the Cowboys will turn to Shaun Suisham. Strangely enough, Parcells admitted earlier this week that he has yet to actually see Vanderjagt kickoff in practice. How does that happen?

#3. Is this defense as good as many think it is?
The short answer to this question is an undeniable, "yes." The Cowboys have been dominant in their first three preseason games and nothing suggests that any of those performances were a fluke. Most of the first team will play at least two quarters as the team tries to ready itself for the season opener in Jacksonville. Simply put, this unit is young, talented and only going to get better as the season goes along.

#2. Will Pat Watkins be the starting free safety this year?
Again, the short answer to this question is "yes." Watkins has been the biggest surprise of preseason and appears to have the ballhawking skills the Cowboys were hoping he would coming out of Florida State. Watkins has done nothing but impress, but an additional game where he doesn't get burned deep or have too many missed assignments would go a long ways in cementing himself as a starter this season.

#1. Who stays? Who Leaves?
A number of undrafted free agents and late round picks will be battling for a spot on the 53-man regular season roster tonight against the Vikings. Players such as sixth round draft pick DT Montavious Stanley, barring a breakout performance tonight, could be released. Skyler Green, who insiders have suggested has remained in the doghouse of Bill Parcells since the early stages of training camp, could also be on the way out. Other players, such as WR Sam Hurd, who have emerged out of nowhere can strengthen their position for more playing time early in the season with a strong performance this evening.

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