NFL Hall of Fame Game: Things To Watch For

Robert QuinnCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2010

NFL Hall of Fame Game: Bengals Vs. Cowboys Preview, Things To Watch For

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    Tonight, the National Football League is officially back! The annual Hall of Fame game will be held at Fawcett Stadium, in a preseason matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys.

    Since 1971, the game has featured an AFC team against an NFC team, except for last year, which featured the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans, in honor of the "original eight" teams to commemorate the league's 50th anniversary.

    While these preseason games aren't necessarily an indicator how good the teams will be, it is still a good chance to watch the young talent and backups battle for the last roster spots.

Cincinnati Superstars

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    Folks who want to watch Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens can choose between NBC and VH1 tonight. It will be fun to watch the Bengals passing attack, with the additions of Terrell Owens, Antonio Bryant (out for the game), and rookie tight end, Jermaine Gresham, this offseason.

    Terrell Owens was brought in just two weeks ago, and played in the Hall of Fame Game last season as a member of the Buffalo Bills, who lost 21-18 to the Tennessee Titans.

Adam "PacMan" Jones

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    In May, the Cincinnati Bengals took a chance by signing NFL Castoff, Adam "Pac Man" Jones. Jones was suspended from the league for various off the field incidents, including the infamous shooting at a Las Vegas nightclub, that left a man paralyzed.

    Jones had the talent to be a premier defensive back in the league, but hasn't been able to stay out of trouble off the field. This is likely his last chance to prove that he is worthy of donning an NFL uniform.

    Ochocinco tweeted that he was burning Jones in training camp, so it will be interesting to watch how he performs tonight.

Cowboys Secondary vs. Cincinnati Spread

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    The Dallas Cowboys secondary features a Pro Bowl cornerback, in Mike Jenkins, but has question marks regarding it's safeties.

    The Cowboys drafted safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, out of Indiana, so Cowboys fans desperately want to watch him perform.

    Terrance Newman and Orlando Scandrick will be battling for the second cornerback job as well.

    With the Bengals most likely running a Spread attack, the Cowboys secondary will be put to the test.

Can Roy Williams Keep His Job?

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    With rookie wide receiver, Dez Bryant, injured for tonight's game, Roy Williams needs to step up. Williams has been at the wrong end of  a lot of offseason speculation, including the highly publicized incident when Bryant refused to carry the veteran's pads.

    Williams has never lived up to his first round draft status, but he has said that he and quarterback Tony Romo have developed better chemistry this offseason. In a crowded receiver group, Williams needs to perform before he gets benched for Dez Bryant.

Bernard Scott vs. Bryan Leonard

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    With Cedric Benson slated as the starting running back, Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard will compete for the backup role.

    Scott rushed 74 times for 241 yards last year as a rookie, and Leonard has rushed 115 times for 394 yards in his three-year career.

    While these guys aren't as high profile as some of the other players in the game, this is a battle to keep an eye on, as Benson is only expected to play for a drive or two.

Can Rookie Dezmon Briscoe Find the Lineup?

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    A sixth round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Dezmon Briscoe was a stud for the Kansas Jayhawks. He started for three years and didn't miss any games to injury.

    Last season, Briscoe caught 84 passes for 1,339 yards and nine touchdowns, and was named to the All Big-12 Team.

    With the Bengals stacked at receiver, Briscoe will battle with fellow rookie wide receiver, Jordan Shipley for reps, and the preseason is the time to showcase his skills.

Will Marion Barber Return To His Former Self?

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    Marion Barber of the Dallas Cowboys has high potential, but is always plagued by injury. A bruiser that can pound the rock, Barber has yet to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season in his five year career as a Cowboy, despite a career 4.3 yards-per-carry average.

    Now, with Tashard Choice biting at his heels, Barber will need to showcase his ability over Felix Jones as well.

How Will Jermaine Gresham Perform?

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    Jermaine Gresham was the highest ranked tight end in the 2010 NFL Draft, despite not playing a single game last season. His last game was in 2008 at the FedEx BCS National Championship Game against the Florida Gators, and the 6-foot-6 258 pound tight end caught eight passes for 62 yards and the Sooners only two touchdowns in a 24-14 loss.

    The Bengals selected Gresham in the first round, and he needs all the reps he can get before the regular season starts.