It's the first game of the preseason for the Oakland Raiders, but the Dallas Cowboys are one of only two teams in the NFL that have already seen the field. Still, they'll hopefully show more Friday night than they did in the Hall of Fame Game.
The Cowboys are trying to figure out a pair of new systems, so the added injury risk from an extra preseason game is unfortunate, but it's another chance for everyone on both sides of the ball to polish things up before the regular season. And this time, Tony Romo will actually play.
For the Raiders, there are quite a few position battles raging -- Silver and Black Pride breaks them all down here -- and it starts under center. It's the first chance for fans to truly see in a game situation how Matt Flynn looks in comparison to those chasing his starting gig.
Here's everything you need to know about the Friday night's game.
Meet the Oakland Raiders
The Raiders may not contend in 2013, but there have been enough changes afoot to make it seem as if the team is moving in a positive direction following another dismal year. Gone are many underperforming players -- Richard Seymour, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Carson Palmer, Rolando McClain, etc. -- and in is a new system under offensive coordinator Greg Olson, formerly with the Rams and Jaguars.
Preseason games will be important as the Raiders try to determine their starting quarterback for the year. Flynn is tops on the depth chart, but Flynn was also tops on the depth chart last year in Seattle, where Russell Wilson quickly usurped his duty. One-time Ohio State star Terrelle Pryor finally gets his chance to compete for the top spot, having thrown passes in just two NFL games after abruptly leaving the Buckeyes over an NCAA scandal before the 2011 season.
A pair of rookies -- Matt McGloin out of Penn State and Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas -- fill out the team's depth chart, and will also see time under center. Although starting is a long shot, nothing's guaranteed.
Meet the Dallas Cowboys
It's the first week of the preseason, but this is already the second game for the Cowboys. They took on Miami in the Hall of Fame Game Sunday, coasting to a 24-20 win that was only close because of 17 fourth-quarter Dolphins points. It was tough to come away with much from a game where Romo didn't even see the field, but it did serve as a test run for a couple of people who will be on the job during the regular season: defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, installing a new look after coaching under his son Lane at USC in recent years, and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, who takes on playcalling duties from Jason Garrett this year. Blogging the Boys was impressed with the efficiency of Callahan's work, although they felt Kiffin's defense was a little soft through the air.
This week, starters get into the mix, making things a tad more interesting. The eyes are still on Kiffin's side of the ball, as he tries to install his preferred 4-3 Tampa 2 look.
Local Takes: Oakland Raiders
Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride ranked the AFC West's quarterbacks, and well ... Matt Flynn came in last. His description:
The great unknown. He has had two fantastic starts in his NFL career and nothing else. He is criticized for having a weak arm but that can be overblown in the NFL. There have been a lot more "weak armed" but smart quarterbacks who have succeeded in the NFL than strong armed dopes. He could thrive in the Raiders' West Coast Offense. He is the right kind of quarterback for it. But after two starts in Green Bay and getting beaten out by rookie Russell Wilson in Seattle, we still just don't quite know what to expect from him.
Damien has been attending every Raiders practice, and did note that Flynn seemed ahead of Pryor and the pack on Wednesday.
Local Takes: Cowboys
There was much talk about Jason Garrett being on the hot seat, but Joey Ickes of Blogging the Boys writes that has changed over the course of training camp:
His smile is a little bigger, he's jabbing back at the media, giving Todd Archer a "focus on the task at hand Archer!", telling them they're flat when they don't reply appropriately to his introductory "How we doing guys?", he's holding entire units accountable. Even Bryan Broaddus noted it on Talking Cowboys on Tuesday, saying it has been, "A different Jason Garrett in the way he's handling (the media)"...I'm not sure how anyone else feels, but in my opinion, none of these sound like a guy who is on the verge of losing his job.
Follow the Fun
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KD Drummond (@KDP10for10)
My reaction to Brandon Moore retiring less that 12 hours after agreeing to deal? LOL, WUT?!?!?— KD Drummond (@KDP10for10) August 7, 2013
I'd just like to thank Tony Romo for ending his agreement with Starter. Starter went out in '93. #OneLessJoke— KD Drummond (@KDP10for10) August 8, 2013
Dennis Allen just invented a word when talking about Matt McGloin "compoised" #Raiders— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) August 8, 2013
Denarius ran long, Flynn throws as if he was gonna come back. Reminiscent of last season Palmer to Denarius #Raiders— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) August 7, 2013
The game started as a straight pick 'em, but has moved to see the Cowboys as 1- to 2-point favorites.
The Cowboys are getting used to playing on the road this preseason, as they'll play at Arizona next week after having training camp in California and visiting Canton and Oakland in their first two preseason matchups. For Oakland, it's a trip to New Orleans, where Sean Payton is getting his playcalling skills back this preseason.