The envoy of the beginning is upon us, as the NFL’s Hall of Fame game is tonight!
Hall of Fame Game
Time: Thursday, Aug. 3, 8:00 PM ET
Place: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
Playing: Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys
How to Watch
Online: NBC Sports
Things to know:
Most starters won’t be seeing playing time. Bruce Arians doesn’t want his starters on the field, meaning superstars from the Cardinals won’t be participating. Carson Palmer, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are all expected to be out.
The Cowboys are in the same boat; don’t expect Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant to make any appearances.
Players to Watch:
Arizona Cardinals — Taken from Revenge of the Birds
The undrafted wide receiver has the potential to play in the NFL. He demolished his competition while playing at Marian University, as he set school records with 263 receptions, 4395 yards, and 43 touchdowns in his career. Hogan was knocked for his level of competition, as well as his apparent lack of NFL speed and quickness.
Already facing an uphill battle with the level of talent ahead of him on the roster, Hogan will have an entire game of snaps to make his case to make an NFL roster.
The 2016 first round pick will be on the field for a good chunk of the game. Nkemdiche has had a very good camp thus far, bullying any offensive lineman that has gotten in his way. He will need to carry that over to a live game if he wants to be an opening day starter.
Nkemdiche’s development will imperative to the Cardinals success in 2017. Without Calais Campbell being the staple on the line, the team will need their first round selection to live up to the potential that he had coming out of the draft.
Justin Bethel will be sitting out of this game with a sore knee. Tramon Williams will still need time to learn the basics of the defensive playbook. Ronald Zamort has been released with an injury settlement following his ACL tear in the Red-White practice. That leaves Brandon Williams as the teams starting corner tomorrow.
Williams was having a good camp last season, but poor performances during games ultimately lost him the starting job to Marcus Cooper. While this may not earn Williams the starting job, it will give us a gauge to see how far he has come since he last played.
During the Red-White scrimmage, Williams looked aggressive and had his hand in a number of plays. Does he keep that up?
You knew his name would make it on here. The 2017 first round selection will be one of a handful of starters that will play on Thursday. Watching him during the Red-White scrimmage, he looked intense. In particular were the final three plays of the practice, where he took on TJ Logan twice and knocked his helmet off. Twice.
With the pads on and the lights shining, now will be the first taste we get of the rookie. Will he shine? Or will he fade into the background?
Penny looked good in the opportunities he received last preseason. The team ultimately stashed him on the practice squad for safe keeping. Now in his second season, Penny is looking for a reason for the team to keep five running backs. During the Red-White practice, Penny ran hard and fought for yardage. With no David Johnson and likely only a little bit of Chris Johnson, Penny will receive a good look.
Dallas Cowboys — From Managing Editor of Blogging The Boys
- DE Taco Charlton - The Cowboys drafted Charlton in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft in an effort to bolster their pass rush. It's not clear yet what role he'll play for the Cowboys this season (right DE or left DE), but given the shortage of quality DE's on the roster to open the season (David Irving and Damontre Moore will both be serving suspensions), a strong preseason showing could possibly put in contention for a starting spot.
- RB Rod Smith - Smith is Jaylon Smith's brother, and originally signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft, but was waived after one game on the active roster. The Cowboys claimed him off waivers, and they tried him first a special teams guy in 2015 and then as a fullback in 2016 before settling on him as a running back. At 6-3 and 240 pounds, Smith is a very different running back than Ezekiel Elliott is, but he has done very well in the first week of camp this year and the consensus is that he's passed Alfred Morris on the Cowboys depth chart and is now the number three back behind Elliott and Darren McFadden. Look for him to be heavily involved in the game tonight.
- TE Rico Gathers - Gathers joined the Cowboys last year as a basketball player out of Baylor after last playing football in eighth grade. He clearly is a work in progress, but the Cowboys like his potential: they paid Gathers the full rookie minimum of $465,000 despite Gathers being on the practice squad all year in 2016. The standard practice squad salary maxes out at about a quarter of that over an entire season.
- DT Stephen Paea - Paea joined the Cowboys after lackluster seasons in Cleveland and Washington, and has looked very solid as the 3-technique ST. He has given the Cowboys first-team O-line a serious run for their money, and it is showing that Chicago drafted him in 2011 specifically for Rod Marinelli's defense.
The rookie defensive backs - The Cowboys let almost their entire starting secondary (Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox) leave in free agency and replaced them with a bunch of rookies with the express objective of fielding a secondary that can generate more turnovers.