Athens Review, Athens, Texas

In the News

August 3, 2013

NFL HALL OF FAME GAME: Cowboys, Dolphins get early preseason start

CANTON, Ohio — The Dallas Cowboys hope they will be a true threat in the NFC East, where both the defending division champion Redskins and the Giants are more highly regarded.

The Miami Dolphins could be the only legitimate challenger to New England's AFC East dominance.

For two teams with so many question marks heading toward the 2013 season, an extra exhibition game can't be a terrible thing — provided no key players get hurt in Sunday night's Hall of Fame game.

Miami already has some injury concerns, with starting receivers Mike Wallace (groin) and Brian Hartline (left calf) hobbled in practice this week.

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo had offseason surgery for a cyst on his back, and coach Jason Garrett has been close-mouthed on Romo's availability for the lone game this weekend. Only Dallas and Miami will play five exhibitions this summer.

Five things to look for in Dolphins vs. Cowboys:

1. WHERE ART THOU, ROMO?: After signing a huge contract (six years, $108 million with $55 million guaranteed), Romo is expected to step up his game and become one of the top few QBs in the league since he is being paid like one. Garrett won't be putting him in any uncomfortable positions during the preseason, so it's unlikely he'll play against Miami.

But even with a banged-up offensive line, the Cowboys must find out soon just how healthy their latest franchise quarterback is and how he reacts to taking a hit. And Romo is eager to be behind center as often as possible to work with a strong group of receivers led by Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin.

"I think more than anything just getting back into it, getting the body to start, stop, go, quit, that football entails," Romo said of the importance of practice and game action.

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