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2013 Hall of Fame game: Four things to watch for in Cowboys-Dolphins

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo won't be playing in the Hall of Fame game. (USATSI)
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo won't be playing in the Hall of Fame game. (USATSI)

It's been six months and one day since the last time NFL football was played in a competitive manner. Sure, Sunday's Hall of Fame game won't be as exciting as Super Bowl XLVII or even one-eighth of one-tenth as exciting -- BUT IT'S FOOTBALL, so who cares.

The Dolphins and Cowboys will kickoff the NFL preseason in Canton, Ohio at 8 p.m. ET. To get you ready, here's four things to watch for in the 2013 Hall of Fame game.

One thing you won't get to watch for is a Tony Romo interception. Coach Jason Garrett told the NFL Network that Romo won't be playing against the Dolphins. Garrett had been saying for almost a week that it would be unlikely that Romo would play.

Four things to watch for

1. The Cowboys interior line. It's probably a good thing Romo isn't playing because he might not have any protection if he did. Both of Dallas' starting guards from 2012 will be out against the Dolphins. Left guard Nate Livings is dealing with a knee issue while last year's starting right guard, Mackenzy Bernadeau, is battling a hamstring problem. Toss in the fact that Cowboys 2013 first-round pick Travis Frederick will be seeing his first live action at center and you'll understand why you -- and the Cowboys coaching staff -- should keep a close eye on this group.

2. Trick-shot quarterback Alex Tanney. With Romo on the bench and Kyle Orton unlikely to see a lot of action, that means the Cowboys No. 3 and No. 4 quarterbacks will be getting the brunt of the snaps. Last week, Garret said this would be a "Nick Stephens and an Alex Tanney game." So expect to see a lot of both players. Keep an extra close eye on Tanney, who's been impressive in camp and also is the star of maybe the greatest quarterbacking trick-shot video in YouTube history. Between Tanney and Detroit kicker Havard 'Kickalicious' Rugland, it's been a pretty good year for YouTube sensations trying to make NFL rosters.

3. Dion Jordan. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft will be making his on field debut against the Cowboys and he's someone you'll want to keep your eye on. Jordan should be lining up at defensive end, but you might also see him on special teams. The former Oregon Duck is one of the few that actually wants to cover kickoffs.

"It's pretty simple: You go down there, cover the kickoff and tackle the guy with the ball," Jordan said this week, via the Associated Press. "But not everybody wants to do it."

The other reason to watch Jordan? So you can get a peak at his haircut. Mr. T probably wouldn't approve.

4. The Dolphins kicking situation. There were exactly two placekickers selected in the 2013 NFL Draft and the Dolphins took one of them. Fifth-round pick Caleb Sturgis is duking it out with sixth-year Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter. The best thing about kicking competitions? You can judge them at home. If Sturgis or Carpenter misses a field goal, that's a bad thing. If they make one, that's a good thing. Judging kickoffs is a little more complicated, so don't bother with that.

Finally, don't expect to see much or any of Miami's biggest offseason acquisition at receiver. The Miami Herald is reporting that it's unlikely Mike Wallace (hamstring) will play.


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