Final Things to Watch in the Dallas Cowboys' Preseason Finale

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 29, 2013

Jul 23, 2013; Oxnard, CA, USA;  Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) during training camp drills at the River Ridge Fields.  Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

The Dallas Cowboys have had a really nice preseason on both sides of the ball. The first-team offense is clicking and Monte Kiffin's defense is taking the ball away. There isn't a lot left to accomplish in Thursday night's fifth and final preseason game against the Houston Texans, especially with starters expected to sit.

Still, we have some final notes to consider during Dallas' final tune-up before the regular season kicks off against the New York Giants next Sunday night.


The return of Cole Beasley? 

Beasley has been practicing this week after missing the majority of the preseason with a foot injury. If he can start against Houston, he'll have a chance to lock up a roster spot. Of course, there's a chance the miniature second-year wideout makes the team regardless, but his injury has cast some doubt on that, especially with Dwayne Harris and Tim Benford performing well throughout the month. 

Rookie third-round pick Terrance Williams is fighting Harris for the No. 3 receiver spot, but a strong performance Thursday from Beasley could give him a chance to gain more early-season looks as the primary backup slot option behind Miles Austin. 


Jeff Heath's case for a roster spot goes to the jury

Heath has been a major bright spot throughout the preseason. The undrafted free agent has come out of nowhere—or, more precisely, Saginaw Valley State—to give Kiffin some real hope at one of the team's thinnest positions. 

At the moment, it looks as though Barry Church and Will Allen will start at safety Week 1, with Heath, Matt Johnson, Danny McCray and rookie third-round pick J.J. Wilcox battling for the first relief opportunity. Heath has outplayed them all, and now he'll get a chance to put the icing on a top-notch preseason cake. 


Do they keep three quarterbacks?

In other words, can Alex Tanney do enough to earn a roster spot? He'll get the lion's share of the work under center against the Texans, but it might require a massive performance to convince the staff to save a roster spot for him. 

Tanney hasn't been accurate thus far in the preseason. He was better than Nick Stephens, but he still hasn't looked like an NFL-caliber quarterback. This might be his final chance to save his career, at least in Dallas.